Law Enforcement

  • 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

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  • Rise in immigration may help explain drop in violent crimes

    Contrary to public perception, increased immigration into the United States contributes to a decline in violent crime; new study of crimes rates in 459 American cities with populations of at least 50,000 shows that cities that experienced greater growth in immigrant or new-immigrant populations between 1990 and 2000 also demonstrate sharper decreases in homicide and robbery; the research finds that, controlling for a variety of other factors, growth in the new immigrant population was responsible, on average, for 9.3 percent of the decline in homicide rates, and that growth in total immigration was, on average, responsible for 22.2 percent of the decrease in robbery rates

  • Insurers refuse to cover journalists working in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico

    Insurance companies use actuarial tables to determine the cost of one’s life insurance premium; at times the price is so high, individuals may be deterred from buying a policy; at times the risk is so high, insurance companies would refuse to offer a policy; insurance companies now refuse to offer life insurance to journalists covering the drug war in Mexico

  • New method to develop latent fingerprints

    Most of the techniques currently used for developing fingerprints rely on the chemistry of the print, but as prints dry or age, the common techniques used to develop latent fingerprints, such as dusting or cyanoacrylate — SuperGlue — fuming often fail; Penn State professor says that using the physical properties of the fingerprint, not the chemistry of the substances left behind, would solve these problems

  • U.S. home-grown jihadism increased three-fold in 2009, but remains marginal

    There are more than 3 million Muslims in the United States, and few more than 100 have joined jihad — about one out of every 30,000 — suggesting an American Muslim population that remains hostile to jihadist ideology and its exhortations to violence

  • Operation targeting counterfeit network hardware from China yield convictions, seizures

    Departments of Justice and DHS announce 30 convictions, more than $143 million in seizures from initiative targeting traffickers in counterfeit network hardware made in China; this counterfeit network hardware is a technological sleeper cell: the Chinese have manufactured counterfeit Cisco routers and switches and offered them at exceedingly low prices; U.S. vendors upgrading or replacing U.S. government IT systems used these counterfeit devices — and the FBI and other government agencies are now worried that the gear offers the Chinese undetectable back-doors into highly secure government and military computer system

  • ICE says it will automatically vet juvenile immigrants fingerprints

    In a blow to San Francisco’s sanctuary law, the fingerprints of juvenile immigrants charged with serious offenses will also be automatically forwarded to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

  • HIV positive Michigan man fights bioterrorism charge after allegedly biting neighbor

    Daniel Allen of Michigan got into a fight with his neighbor; the neighbor complained that Allen bit him during the fight; when, a few days later, Allen admitted in a TV interview that he was gay and HIV positive, the prosecution charged him with violating Michigan’s bioterrorism law; the prosecution claims that the law’s reference to using a “harmful device” in the commission of bioterror attack may be applied to Allen “use” of his HIV virus as a weapon

  • One police officer for every ten foreign soccer fans braving the trip to South Africa

    The few soccer fans who go to South African this summer for the soccer World Cup — FIFA issued 2.1 million tickets, but even after selling nearly one million of them to local fans at deep discounts, it still has between 500,000 and 700,000 unsold tickets — will have to brave not only South Africa’s exceedingly high levels of violent crime, but also politically motivated violence, as white extremists are trying to disrupts preparations for the games, which begin 11 June; the tournament will be the most heavily guarded ever: there will be only 400,000 non-South Africans coming to the games, but the South African government has dedicated 44,000 police officers to protect spectators; football teams will be guarded separately by specialized police units with additional security for high risk teams and matches (the government is not disclosing numbers here)

  • Guyana launches GPS tracking to combat crime, smuggling

    There has been a increase in vehicular robbery and car-jackings in Guyana recently, as well as an ongoing problem with Venezuelan fuel and drug smugglers, who use the sparsely populated coastal lagoons and jungles of northwest Guyana to ply their illegal trade; the Guyanese fuel industry is facing problems with the siphoning and theft of gasoline; two Guyanese companies now offer GPS vehicle tracking technology which will bolster the authorities’ ability to fight vehicular robbery, smuggling, and oil theft