• SurveillanceNSA’s Post-9/11 Mass Surveillance Program, Exposed by Snowden, Illegal: Court

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled that the National Security Agency (NSA) intelligence’s surveillance program exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden was unlawful, and possibly unconstitutional. Critics of the program say that in addition to violating privacy rights, the program’s was ineffective: Billions of phone calls and email messages were collected and scanned over the years, but only a handful of terrorism suspects were seized, and even fewer were convicted.

  • ExtremismAntifa Protester Suspected of Killing Trump Supporter in Oregon

    By Masood Farivar

    For the first time, a self-identified member of the militant movement known as antifa has been implicated in a fatal shooting and is reportedly under investigation in the killing of a supporter of President Donald Trump on Saturday in Portland, Oregon. If Reinoehl is implicated in the case, it would mark the first time in recent years that an antifa supporter has been charged with homicide, said Brian Levin, an expert on terrorism and extremist movements. Gary LaFree, a University of Maryland criminologist, says “We’re getting these situations where people with opposing perspectives are going in as volunteers” to enforce their views in violent ways, while the police “are not exactly sure what to do in this circumstance,” he said. “I think it’s going to be inevitable if you keep having situations like this, things are going to get out of hand.”

  • ExplosivesChemical Fingerprint for Explosives in Forensic Research

    The police frequently encounter explosives in their forensic investigations related to criminal and terrorist activities. Chemical analysis of explosives can yield valuable tactical information for police and counterterrorist units.

  • Explosives detectionNext-Generation Explosives Trace Detection Technology

    Explosive materials pose a threat whether they are used by domestic bad actors or in a theater of war. Staying ahead of our adversaries is a job that DHS DOD share. The two departments’ research and development work is no different.

  • Bomb-sniffing locustOne Step Closer to Bomb-Sniffing Cyborg Locusts

    Researchers found that they could direct locust swarms toward areas where suspected explosives are located, and that the locusts’ brain reaction to the smell of explosives can be read remotely. Moreover, a study found locusts can quickly discriminate between different smells or different explosives. “This is not that different from in the old days, when coal miners used canaries,” says a researcher. “People use pigs for finding truffles. It’s a similar approach — using a biological organism — this is just a bit more sophisticated.”

  • CybersecurityShowcasing Cybersecurity Technologies

    Twelve innovative cybersecurity technologies available for commercial licensing from four U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories will be showcased to the public during a series of free webinars starting this month.

  • SurveillanceEFF Launches Searchable Database of Police Use of Surveillance Technologies

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), in partnership with the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, the other day launched what the EFF describes as “the largest-ever collection of searchable data on police use of surveillance technologies,” created as a tool for the public to learn about facial recognition, drones, license plate readers, and other devices law enforcement agencies are acquiring to spy on our communities.

  • SurveillanceLarge-Scale Facial Recognition Is Incompatible with a Free Society

    By Seth Lazar, Claire Benn, and Mario Günther

    In the U.S., tireless opposition to state use of facial recognition algorithms has recently won some victories. Outside the U.S., however, the tide is heading in the other direction. To decide whether to expand or limit the use of facial recognition technology, nations will need to answer fundamental questions about the kind of people, and the kind of society, they want to be. Face surveillance is based on morally compromised research, violates our rights, is harmful, and exacerbates structural injustice, both when it works and when it fails. Its adoption harms individuals, and makes our society as a whole more unjust, and less free. A moratorium on its use is the least we should demand.

  • PolicePolice with Lots of Military Gear Kill Civilians More Often than Less-Militarized Officers

    By Casey Delehanty

    Police departments that get more equipment from the military kill more civilians than departments that get less military gear. That’s the finding from research on a federal program — called the “1033 Program.” — that has operated since 1997. The seeds of this program came in 1988 as the Cold War was ending. The military was shrinking, while police were feeling overwhelmed fighting the drug war. Over the past 23 years police all across America received billions of dollars in military-grade hardware often designed specifically to fight in the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq. And yet, all that equipment has done more harm than good.

  • PrivacyHow Much Control Would People Be Willing to Grant to a Personal Privacy Assistant?

    CyLab’s Jessica Colnago believes that in the future, the simple act of walking down the street is going to be a little weird. “You know how every time you enter a website, and it says: ‘We use cookies. Do you consent?’ Imagine that same thing walking down the street, but for a light pole, or a surveillance camera, or an energy sensor on a house,” Colnago says.

  • ArgumentBans on Facial Recognition Are Naïve — Hold Law Enforcement Accountable for Its Abuse

    The use of facial recognition technology has become a new target in the fight against racism and brutality in law enforcement. The current controversy over facial recognition purports to be about bias — inaccurate results related to race or gender. Osonde A. Osoba and Douglas Yeung write that “That could be fixed in the near future, but it wouldn’t repair the underlying dilemma: The imbalance of power between citizens and law enforcement. On this, facial recognition ups the ante. These tools can strip individuals of their privacy and enable mass surveillance.

  • SurveillanceYes, Big Brother IS Watching: Russian Schools Installing Surveillance Systems Called “Orwell”

    By Matthew Luxmoore

    You might think governments seeking digital oversight of their citizens would avoid invoking the author who coined the phrase “Big Brother is watching you” and implanted the nightmare of total state surveillance in the imaginations of millions of readers. Think again, because Russian officials appear to disagree. In the first phase of the project, the “total surveillance” system will be installed in 43,000 schools across Russia.

  • Forensics“Black Box” Study: Testing the Accuracy of Computer, Mobile Phone Forensics

    Digital forensics experts often extract data from computers and mobile phones that may contain evidence of a crime. Now, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will conduct the first large-scale study to measure how well those experts do their job. But rather than testing the proficiency of individual experts, the study aims to measure the performance of the digital forensics community overall.

  • ForensicsForensics Laser Technology Can Detect Crime Scene Smokers

    Raman spectroscopy is a technique that shines a monochromatic light (i.e. from a laser) on a sample and measures the intensity of scattered light. No two samples will produce the same Raman spectrum, offering a unique measurement that is similar to a fingerprint. Results are instantaneous and nondestructive, preserving the sample for future testing. Researchers developed a laser-light technology which allows investigators to determine if a smoker was at the crime scene based on biological evidence.

  • TasersEuropean Police Services Turn to Tasers as Weapon of Choice

    On Friday, the French government announced that French police would no longer be allowed to use chokeholds on suspects. More police officers would instead be equipped with stun guns. About 15,000 French police officers, out of a force of 240,000 officers nationwide, are already equipped with stun guns. The police in Italy, the Netherlands, England, Wales and other European countries have been increasing their use of tasers to subdue suspects instead of other methods.