Metro DC Police: body cams OFF at inauguration

That is by order of a rather ridiculous DC law and the ACLU themselves.

Let’s start with an article from Breitbart.com:

ACLU Warns Police to Turn Body Cams Off During Inauguration Protests but Encourages Activists to Video Cops

by Warner Todd Huston

As the nation prepares for the inauguration of the 45th president of the United States, activists and anarchists flooding Washington D.C. are preparing to do all in their power to destroy the historic day. But even as they encourage anarchists to video police, the ACLU has issued warnings to police to be sure to turn body cameras off during the protests.

Was this accurate? The ACLU says no. From the ACLU.org:

Why Are DC Police Keeping Their Body Cameras Off During Inauguration and the Women’s March?

by Jay Stanley

A lot of social media activity has come to our attention questioning why the DC police have been instructed NOT to turn their body cameras on during the president’s inauguration and the following day’s “Million Women March.” Many people seem puzzled by this.

It’s DC. Not too difficult to suss out the various reasons. Please.

It’s not an ACLU “demand,” it’s actually DC law. True, the ACLU of DC supported and encouraged adoption of that law, but the wider District of Columbia community as represented by its city council agreed with us. And that law is not absolute; in its full form it says that:

First, the ACLU’s convenient “out.”

MPD officers may record First Amendment assemblies for the purpose of documenting violations of law and police actions, as an aid to future coordination and deployment of law enforcement units, and for training purposes; provided, that recording First Amendment assemblies shall not be conducted for the purpose of identifying and recording the presence of individual participants who are not engaged in unlawful conduct.

Right. It’s all DC Metro’s problem.

We supported that law for very good reasons. There is a long history of law enforcement compiling dossiers on peaceful activists exercising their First Amendment rights in public marches and protests, and using cameras to send an intimidating message to such protesters: “we are WATCHING YOU and will REMEMBER your presence at this event.” For a vivid picture of how photography can create chilling effects, recall the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery Alabama in 1965, when Alabama state troopers viciously attacked and beat peaceful protesters.

That was then. Now, it is demanded by many community groups, agencies, authorities, cities and counties that law enforcement officers wear body cameras.

Note to the ACLU, Leftists, Demorats, liberal law enforcement administrators: you can’t have it both ways. You either have body cameras activated to record the activity of the police or you don’t. You don’t get to summarily pick-and-choose what activities shall be video’d or not, particularly in consideration of the fact that you are clearly biased towards activities where citizens potentially engaging in illegal activities could be hoisted on petards of their own making.

Let’s look at it this way. Historically, the past year, the bulk of the violence involved in the months leading to the presidential election, and beyond to today, has been committed by Leftists. Leftists wish to video what they wish when they wish, and further seek to handcuff law enforcement when it comes to their doing the same thing in public areas.

This is not like a sea of police officers walking into a call of domestic violence or child abuse and taking video of private events in private homes. These are officers, in open public spaces, ostensibly taking video of events occurring in the public. It’s lawful for the protesters to video law enforcement. The reverse should be true as well. And it is.

Therefore it is not unlawful for law enforcement to video their surroundings as, of course, this very act has been demanded of them nationwide. Advocates say it will keep cops honest and document their actions and the actions of those surrounding them.

I agree. Particularly in this instance.

Having been in law enforcement for 41 years, recently retired, I support law enforcement. I am a Sheepdog and always will be. But when cops are not logical or base their conduct upon political correctness I will call them out.

Interim MPDC Chief Peter Newsham, you have been provided a lawful exemption/opening as illustrated above by the ACLU. You are refusing to take advantage of same.

You, sir, should be ashamed of yourself, by placing your very own officers in harm’s way whilst simultaneously robbing them of an important modern law enforcement tool that, truly, groups nationwide insist they possess and could protect them — and your department — on many levels.

You sir, are a quisling.

BZ

 

HERE is a cop: Capt Clay Higgins

Finally, someone in law enforcement — besides Sheriffs Clarke, Babeu and Arpaio — who are serious and plain speaking.

The ACLU says Capt Higgins shouldn’t call the referenced thugs “heathens.”

You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.

St Landry Parrish (LA) Sheriff’s Department’s Captain Clay Higgins is only controversial to those who don’t much care for law enforcement doing its job on the streets of America.

BZ

Capt Clay Higgins

LAPD gets body cams today

LAPD Body CamsToday is Monday, August 31st.

That means it’s the last day of the month, 24 days before the first day of Fall, and one week prior to Labor Day.

It’s also the day LAPD implements its body cam program with 860 of its 7,000 officers.

From the LATimes.com:

LAPD’s long-awaited body cameras will hit the streets on Monday

by Kate Mather

Starting Monday, many Los Angeles police officers will hit the streets with new equipment: body cameras.

After nearly two years of fundraising, testing and negotiating policy, Monday’s rollout marks a significant moment for the police department’s long-awaited body camera program. The city plans to purchase and deploy more than 7,000 devices in the coming months, making it the largest in the country to use the cameras on a wide scale.

This is a huge step for LAPD, not known as necessarily the first department in the nation to undertake large LE ventures.

The first batch of cameras — 860 devices purchased with about $1.5 million in private donations — will be given to officers within the next month, the LAPD’s chief information officer told the Police Commission on Tuesday.

Officers working the LAPD’s Mission Division — which covers San Fernando Valley cities including Sylmar and Panorama City — will get their cameras on Monday, Maggie Goodrich told the commission. Officers assigned to South L.A.’s Newton Division will start using the cameras in mid-September, followed by those working specialized units, such as Central Division traffic and SWAT.

One quick aside: the City of Los Angeles consists of 503 square miles with a population of 3.8 million.  There are slightly fewer than 9,000 officers on LAPD, yielding an officer-to-citizen ratio of 1 officer per 447 citizens.

In contrast, the City of New York consists of 304 square miles with a population of 8.4 million.  There are about 34,500 officers on NYPD, yielding an officer-to-citizen ratio of 1 officer per 243 citizens, almost twice as much as LAPD.

The greatest points of contention with police bodycams involve privacy, as in: how and when will they be operating, who can access the take, view the take, and how long will the take be archived.

Concerns continue to linger over the LAPD’s use of the new technology, particularly over who will get to see the videos and when.

The LAPD policy — approved by the Police Commission’s 3-1 vote in April — allows officers to review the footage before writing reports or giving statements to internal investigators. But the LAPD has said it does not plan on publicly releasing the recordings unless they are part of a criminal or civil court proceeding.

This, naturally, pisses off the ACLU.

There are already large issues with mass technology in law enforcement.  Dashcams have been around for a number of years and many departments wired officers for sound from said dashcams, though their sphere of functionality diminishes with distance from the vehicle.

Two subjects come immediately into play, of course: initial purchase price for the systems and server / storage prices as well as issues also involving reliability, expandability, location and uploading.

My department, as did many others, experienced problems with informational uploading of dashcams at EOW (end of watch).  Car were parked in the lot in order to have their drives uploaded only to have their batteries killed due to the lengthy amount of time it took for up to twenty cars to fight for the server simultaneously.  Some vehicles couldn’t be utilized for the next shift as they were still uploading.

Bodycams won’t completely replace dashcams, either.  They have two entirely different perspectives; one locked from the dashboard of a law enforcement vehicle, and the second from a mobile but shaky platform called a human being.

But let there be no doubt whatsoever: whatever the take of a bodycam, it is eminently discoverable and subpoenable by law under court order.

For cops, the questions are: does the bodycam go on the moment I go BOW (beginning of watch)?  Is it on when I urinate, defecate, go to lunch or dinner, talk to children, have a casual encounter with a citizen totally uninvolved in a call for service?  Can I turn it on and off at will?  What if it’s on when I talk to someone who wants to remain anonymous, or if I consult with a CI or confidential informant?

What if, as a citizen, officers come to my house and provide me with advice or information about a problem I have, and I don’t like the outcome?  Can’t I complain about the results and demand access to the bodycam take in order to justify my complaint and demand a different outcome?  If I can do that once, why can’t every citizen do that when they don’t care for the outcomes of their own police encounters?  After all, I know my call, as a citizen complainant, was recorded by at least one police bodycam.

An overall collection of police bodycam articles and policies is here.

A reporters’ interactive map of police bodycam laws and policies is here.

A US DOJ bodycam implementation guide is here.

An ACLU police bodycam article is here.

My department is still considering the purchase of a bodycam / server system.  I suspect it is waiting to see where the inevitable lawsuits will fall and how they will fall.

BZ

 

Privacy: again, the American Taxpayer LOSES

LPR System on Police VehicleAnd now the IRS wants access to LPR technology — license plate readers.

From Bloomberg.com:

IRS Among Agencies Using License Plate-Tracking Vendor

by Kathleen Miller

The Internal Revenue Service and other U.S. agencies awarded about $415,000 in contracts to a license plate-tracking company before Homeland Security leaders dropped a plan for similar work amid privacy complaints.

Federal offices such as the Forest Service and the U.S. Air Force’s Air Combat Command chose Livermore, California-based Vigilant Solutions to provide access to license plate databases or tools used to collect plate information, according to government procurement records compiled by Bloomberg.

Vigilant, a closely held company, has received such work since 2009. In February, Jeh Johnson, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, ordered the cancelation of an immigration agency plan to buy access to national license plate data. While the technology can help solve crimes, the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups have said the mass collection of data infringes the privacy of innocent people.

“Especially with the IRS, I don’t know why these agencies are getting access to this kind of information,” said Jennifer Lynch, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based privacy-rights group. “These systems treat every single person in an area as if they’re under investigation for a crime — that is not the way our criminal justice system was set up or the way things work in a democratic society.”

WHY, I ask, would the IRS require access to LPR information?  Why would the USAF Air Combat Command?  For what purpose, to what end?

See this story, also.

Because, as I am about to reveal, LPR technology is everywhere and becoming a standard in law enforcement — my agency included.

Those unfamiliar with LPR technology should realize that these systems are already in place with many local and state law enforcement agencies nationwide.  Readers, attached to the roofs of LE vehicles (see above), collect license plate information from motor vehicles parked in lots and elsewhere.

Motorola, an LPR manufacturer, writes:

Enhance your officers’ safety and productivity while maximizing your department’s revenue. Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR) delivers the ability to read vehicle license plates and check them against an installed database for rapid identity verification. The license plate recognition system has been used to locate stolen or wanted vehicles and identify parking-ticket scofflaws.

This rapidly deployable, scalable solution uses rugged infrared cameras that connect to leading-edge optical character recognition (OCR) technology software, allowing you to conduct surveillance under varied lighting and weather conditions. Captured information is immediately processed, and you are alerted only when a “hit” occurs.

Back Office System Server (BOSS) Software

  • Database formatting including ability to customize PAGIS screens and alarms based on system “hits”
  • Import of national and regional databases:
  • Ability to map all locations related to a single license plate to track movements
  • Ability to cross-reference perpetrator ID number (driver’s license, social security, etc.) with license plate database

Law enforcement, therefore, has the potential to become another smaller but still intrusive NSA.  The “take” from LPR technology is sent to various LE local points and can readily be kept on local servers.  Depending upon various orders and policies, this information is dumped or stored.  I would tend to place my money on the latter.

And here comes the If/Then equation: if the information is stored and retrievable, then it can be sifted and filtered for times, dates, locations — tracking purposes.  Note the information above.  These systems can be melded and made compatible with other systems for informational sharing purposes.

That said, should not what I call the Logical Extension be implemented now?  That is, various and sundry federal LE systems demanding to tap into virtually unlimited information gathered by local and state law enforcement entities?  To be further kept on larger federal servers and systems?

Big Brother anyone?  Again?

Big Brother B&WWhen and where does it end?  And why the resounding silence on behalf of most of the media and the populace?

Might I suggest to the NSA and to the rest of the federal government that seems to have no problem intruding into every nook and cranny of my life and the lives of other Americans: do what I had to do when I was a Detective and wanted to advance my cases.

WarrantBZ

 

Progressive Insurance: “Snapshot” = Big Brother

Progressive Snapshot Big BrotherI happened to be watching a commercial today involving Progressive Insurance and decided that it was time to call bull___ on its “wonderful” Snapshot hardware piece which is, in fact, nothing more than one further step into the implantation of an RFID chip under your skin, beyond your vehicle’s.

Cutting to the chase: “Snapshot” uses your automobile’s electronics to testify against your driving habits should they stray one molecule from strictly lawful parameters.  Parameters that will be constantly monitored via the loving “Snapshot.”

Big Brother B&WNewer automobiles already possess their own version of an airliner’s “black box” — an EDR — which records various forms of input and can be accessed following a traffic collision, as it logs up to 15 to 30 seconds of input prior to impact, manufacturer-dependent.  First, very few people realize these devices exist in their cars.  Second, that data should belong to you and no one elseThird, the computer codes in those devices are not open source.  They are proprietary.  Fourth, can you tinker with or disable your EDR?  Even the ACLU raises these very important issues.  Once.

One thing you need to realize: Progressive Insurance came upon that name for a very specific reason.  It is the third largest auto insurer in the United States.  Its revenues top $13 billion dollars per year.

Peter Lewis, former CEO and now Chairman of the Board, inherited cash from his father who co-created Progressive in 1937.  Lewis has a wealth rating of one billion dollars.  It is no shock that he has contributed $7 million and $8 million to the ACLU in 2001 and 2003.

It is also no shock that he contributed $3 million to America Coming Together and $2.5 million to MoveOn.org.  That is your Progressive Insurance — being, in fact, progressive — another word for Leftist.

Progressive buys ads on, say, Fox News, and makes additional millions from these ads.  Flo is cute; her company is not.  Their ads are, however, extremely well planned and effective.  How could you not like her, no matter what she suggests?

That said, focus closely on Snapshot.

Some excellent questions and issues from CannonFire:

The question is: How much info are you sending to them? Are they tracking your location via GPS? Are they keeping track of how fast you go?

Progressive insists that they don’t collect location and speed info. In the video embedded above, you’ll see a Progressive commercial in which the lady with the stoplight lips assures you that the company doesn’t want to know where you go or how fast you get there. All they want to know is the amount of driving you do, how hard you hit the brakes, and what time of day you travel.

 

But here is the crux of the biscuit:

Even if that were all there were to it, I still would advise you to steer clear of Snapshot. Insurance companies have a financial incentive to deny claims. The more info you give them, the more reasons they have for issuing a denial.

But the real problem is this: I’ve uncovered evidence that Progressive Insurance is lying about Snapshot.

I’m sure that Ms. StoplightLips — whose real name is Stephanie Courtney, and who is surely a decent and well-meaning person — would not knowingly tell lies. Nevertheless, there are strange discrepancies between the things that lovely Stephanie is being paid to say on TV and the things we learn if we do a little research.

The small print says:

Data We Collect

The Snapshot device records vehicle speed and time of day, and when the device is connected and disconnected from the vehicle. It also records the Vehicle Identification Number upon installation. Other information, such as miles driven and rates of acceleration and braking, is derived from the speed and time information recorded by the device.

Data We Don’t Collect

Snapshot focuses on how safely, how often, how far, and when you drive, NOT where you drive. The Snapshot device does not contain GPS technology and does not track vehicle location or whether you’re exceeding the speed limit.

But wait; there’s more!

A close reading of the above text reveals the truth: Of course Snapshot transmits info about “vehicle speed.” The device simply doesn’t reveal whether or not you were exceeding the speed limit at any given time.

But if the company collects speed data, investigators can easily discover whether you were going over the limit after the fact. They may even be able to do so in real time. (Has someone written software which collates the speed limits on all of America’s roads? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the insurance companies have an app for that.)

So: If you put in a claim, Progressive will know if you were traveling 42 miles per hour in a 40 mph zone. Claim denied!

Please read the rest of the article.

Stupid Americans are signing up for Progressive’s “Snapshot.”  They apparently want their privacy violated on not just a daily basis but a second-by-second basis.

Because Snapshot isn’t tracking you.  Except:

Snapshot is an example of what the industry calls a telematics device, defined here as…

…a type of machine-to-machine (M2M) communication that combines GPS, mobile computing and cellular communication.

Hmm. If telematics involve GPS by definition, can we trust Progressive?

Drivers plug a device, the “Snapshot,” into the car’s onboard diagnostic port, or OBD-II, typically found near the steering wheel. [The OBD-II is a standardized digital communications port which was made mandatory in 1996 for all cars sold in the United States.] Using telematics and mobile technology, as they drive, information is shared wirelessly, via AT&T’s network, with Progressive.

(Emphasis in original.) If the company uses ATT’s network, then they can triangulate location. That’s the key part they’re not telling you.

Further:

Moreover, Progressive’s claim that Snapshot contains no GPS data is in direct conflict with what we read in this Wikipedia article on telematics:

Telematic auto insurance was independently invented and patented[12] by a major U.S. auto insurance company, Progressive Auto Insurance U.S. Patent 5,797,134 and a Spanish independent inventor, Salvador Minguijon Perez (European Patent EP0700009B1). The Progressive patents cover the use of a cell phone and GPS to track movements of a car. The Perez patents cover monitoring the car’s engine control computer to determine distance driven, speed, time of day, braking force, etc. Ironically, Progressive is developing the Perez technology in the US and European auto insurer Norwich Union is developing the Progressive technology for Europe.

Imagine that.  An insurance company lying to you in order to — in the end game — deny claims and save money.  The ultimate End Game?

Progressive is not the only company getting into the telematics business. Pretty soon, these devices will be standard.

Welcome to the new world of Big Brother climbing up your arshole and invading your car.

BZ