• FBI says it does not demand encryption back doors

    The FBI says that it is not calling for restrictions on encryption without back doors for law enforcement; only last fall the agency said discussions should focus on requiring that communication providers and Web sites have legally mandated procedures to divulge unencrypted data in their possession; the FBI says that because of the rise of Web-based e-mail and social networks, it’s “increasingly unable” to conduct certain types of surveillance that would be possible on cellular and traditional telephones

  • Police using text messages to fight crime

    In an increasing trend police departments across the United States are using text messages to help fight crime; various police departments have set up a text message service that allows citizens to report any crimes that they see; informants can stay anonymous while department officials can exchange texts with them to learn more; police departments have long had anonymous hotlines in place, and text messages are the technological upgrade to these hotlines; text message systems were first introduced in 2007 in Boston and Cincinnati; this year several smaller police departments will implement a text based tip system including those in Apex, North Carolina and Colorado Springs, Colorado

  • Do security cameras deter crime?

    As federal agencies, cities, and local police departments spend more money on vast networks of closed circuit surveillance cameras, some critics are wondering whether these systems are an effective way to stop crime and a good use of resources; various studies on the efficacy of security cameras have been inconclusive; some studies have shown that cameras in Chicago and Baltimore have helped deter crime, while others have shown that cameras in Los Angeles and Britain have had no impact on crime; one critic points out that studies that show cameras are effective do not weigh benefits against spending more money on beat cops, probation programs, and other law enforcement options

  • Yuba City purchases tactical robot with DHS grant money

    The Yuba City police department in California is spending a portion of its nearly $70,000 grant from DHS to purchase a remote controlled tactical robot; the “tactical entry robot” is designed to help police officers when they are confronting an individual barricaded inside a home; the robot is equipped with a wide-angle camera and can help provide officers with information on what is occurring inside; the robot can also help officials survey dangerous chemical spills or other hazardous situations where human exposure may prove fatal; the robot costs nearly $12,00, is roughly the size of an industrial lawn mower, and is able to climb stairs; Yuba City expects to receive the robot in the next six months