Law Enforcement

  • U.S. lawmakers push for ID to buy prepaid cell phones

    Two senators propose a bill which would make it easier to identify buyers of prepaid cell phones and thus make it more difficult for criminal and terror suspects to avoid detection; buyers of the prepaid cell phones would have to produce identification at the time of purchase and phone companies would have to keep that information on file

  • Death threats prompt increased security for Phoenix mayor

    Mayor Phil Gordon has been an outspoken critic of the recent Arizona anti-illegal immigration law which allow law enforcement personnel to approach individuals and ask them to prove their legal status in the united States; the mayor has received more than 5,000 threats — many of them death threats, some graphic in detail — from supporters of the law, and the police has now placed him under 24-hour protection

  • Private security gets big play at World Cup

    Rampant crime and corrupt and ineffective police force have created a huge private security sector in South Africa; with trained bodyguards available for around 300 Euros a day, those who can afford it are turning to the country’s parallel private army for protection; there are more than 4,700 registered security firms in South Africa, employing more than 300,000 people to guard homes and businesses — and even police stations; this private security army is gearing up to protect the World Cup

  • Louisiana legislator OK bill to strengthen penalties for virtual map crimes

    Louisiana legislators approve a bill to toughen penalties for crimes committed with the aid of Internet-generated “virtual maps,” including acts of terrorism; bill defines a “virtual street-level map” as one that is available on the Internet and can generate the location or picture of a home or building by entering the address of the structure or an individual’s name on a Web site

  • Private security companies flourish

    Private security is a booming business in Harris County, Texas; private security experts say guards are better trained, but the job is more dangerous than ever. They often confront the same violent suspects as police but without advanced training and enforcement power

  • London police train private security guards to report suspicious behavior

    Private security guards in London are trained by the police to be on the look out for — and report — suspicious behavior; this behavior includes individuals making sketches near buildings, taking photographs and recording video footage, even if they appear to be legitimate tourists; stateside, LAPD. officers are already required to fill out a suspicious activity report when they observe one of more than forty different types of behavior; categories include taking photographs or video “with no apparent aesthetic value”

  • FBI details sharp increase in death threats against lawmakers

    Threats against U.S. lawmakers increase dramatically in 2009; each threat case is different, but the FBI says there are some common characteristics; the suspects are mostly men who own guns, and several had been treated for mental illness; most of the suspects had just undergone some kind of major life stress, such as illness or the loss of a job

  • A good nose for explosives

    There is a new breed of explosive-sniffing dogs: vapor—wake dogs; genetically bred and trained by Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, vapor-wake dogs are taught to detect the scent plume of air that comes wafting off a person, such as a suicide bomber, wearing an explosive device

  • Aussie government agency proposes finger biometrics for background checks

    Australian government’s crime tracking agency has proposed tying fingerprints to passports and drivers licenses in an effort to reduce false identification for background checks; the plan, under high-level government talks, would reduce the time spent by law enforcement and customs agencies on sifting through possible identification matches

  • FCC asks for public comments on public safety band for first responders

    The U.S. government wanted to use a portion of the 700 MHz band — which became available after the June 2009 transition from analog to digital TV — for public safety communication; the government hoped that large wireless providers would pay $1.3 billion for that portion of the band, but the highest bid came in at $472 million; the FCC is trying again

  • The Western Identification Network: a multi-state fingerprint identification system

    States can no avail themselves of the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS); AFIS comprises a high-speed computer system that digitizes, stores, and compares fingerprint data and images; fingerprints entered into AFIS are searched against millions of prints on file and are identified by experts from resulting candidate lists; AFIS standards have been promulgated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Criminal Justice Information Services Division (CJIS), and the system supports member submissions to the FBI through its CJIS wide-area network (WAN) connection

  • Mexican executives up security after former senator disappears

    Diego Fernandez de Cevallos, a Mexican lawyer and 1994 presidential candidate, had been taken forcibly from his ranch in Queretaro state on 15 May and never heard from since; one business leader says: “With a person of this stature falling victim to this kind of circumstance, the sense of vulnerability increases for everyone in society and we all become more worried”; drug-trafficker turf wars and kidnapping gangs have elevated the cost of doing business and hurt Mexico’s ability to attract foreign investment

  • Smartphone remote wiping feature thwarts secret service, law enforcement

    Smartphones such as Blackberry and iPhone offer a remote-wipe feature: if your phone is lost or stolen, you can remotely erase all the data stored on the phone; this feature protects one’s privacy, but it also allow the accomplices of criminals and terrorists captured by law enforcement remotely to erase all incriminating and intelligence-relevant data from the suspect’s phone before the police can access it

  • Growing calls for rethinking Miranda rights for terrorism suspects

    Attorney General Eric Holder: “I think we have to give serious consideration to at least modifying that public-safety exception [to the Miranda protections]; [the administration and congress need] to come up with a proposal that is both constitutional, but that is also relevant to our times and the threats that we now face”

  • Personal cell phone data of millions of Mexicans for sale at Mexico flea market

    The Mexican government decreed that all Mexicans must register their cell phones; Mexicans, familiar with the thorough corruption and ineffectiveness of the Mexican state, were worried that the personal information would be stolen or misused; they were right: weeks after millions of Mexicans registered their phones, their personal data became available for sale for a few thousand dollars at Mexico City’s wild Tepito flea market; the treasure trove of data also included lists of police officers with their photographs; in a country seized by the fear of kidnapping and held hostage by violent crime bosses, having this personal information on open display seemed tantamount to a death sentence, or, at the minimum, a magnet for trouble