Prosecutors and Judges Push for Ban on 911 Call Analysis:

The technique’s chief architect, Tracy Harpster, developed a program to spread his methods and says police and prosecutors who take his training will learn how to identify guilt and deception from the word choice, cadence and grammar of those calling 911. So far, researchers who have tried to corroborate Harpster’s claims have failed.

Last year, ProPublica documented more than 100 cases in 26 states where law enforcement has employed his methods. Those responsible for ensuring honest police work and fair trials — including the FBI — have instead helped 911 call analysis metastasize. The investigation revealed that some prosecutors knew 911 call analysis would not be recognized as scientific evidence but still disguised it in trial against unwitting defendants anyway.

During the reporting for the two stories, Harpster at first defended his program but then did not respond to repeated interview requests or detailed lists of questions. Supporters of his work in law enforcement have said 911 call analysis is a valuable investigative tool but not decisive evidence on which to base a conviction.

On Wednesday, he and Susan Adams, who co-authored the original study the technique is based on, sent a letter to ProPublica and argued its coverage had “presented an inaccurate narrative” and listed material they claimed to be omissions and misrepresentations. They asked that their letter be published. ProPublica is also publishing a point-by-point response.


Expand full comment

Brookhaven police drone as a first responder program:


ACLU doubtful over Brookhaven police drone program:

During a Nov. 16 demonstration of the drone technology, Councilmember Linley Jones said the program “enables Brookhaven to continue on the path of being forward thinking when it comes to community safety.”

“It’s important that when police departments introduce new technologies, especially surveillance technologies, that they reach out to the communities that they serve and make sure that those communities want the technologies they’re considering adopting,” said ACLU Senior Policy Analyst Jay Stanley. “That said, we are deeply skeptical of drones as first responder programs.”

Stanley said if a police department is going to make use of a drone program, the ACLU would rather a department ensure it happens with privacy protections in place, but the organization has “a lot of questions about whether it makes sense to deploy this kind of surveillance technology in communities.”


Expand full comment

DHS Employees So Worried About Domestic Surveillance They Asked About Legal Liability Insurance:

One unnamed employee — quoted in an April 2021 document — said leadership of I&A’s Office of Regional Intelligence “is ‘shady’ and ‘runs like a corrupt government.’” Another document said some employees worried so much about the legality of their activities that they wanted their employer to cover legal liability insurance.


DHS's "domestic-intelligence program" allows them to interview (interrogate) people without counsel:

"Under the domestic-intelligence program, officials are allowed to seek interviews with just about anyone in the United States. That includes people held in immigrant detention centers, local jails, and federal prison. DHS’s intelligence professionals have to say they’re conducting intelligence interviews, and they have to tell the people they seek to interview that their participation is voluntary. But the fact that they’re allowed to go directly to incarcerated people — circumventing their lawyers — raises important civil liberties concerns, according to legal experts."


Expand full comment

D.C. District Court Upholds the Government’s Geofence Warrant Used to Identify Jan. 6 Rioters:


Expand full comment

Fort Wayne Police To Send Drones to 911 Calls To Assist Officers:

"When you call 911 you usually would just be talking to a dispatcher, but with the Fort Wayne Police Department’s new program, a drone pilot will be listening too. Officer Matt Rowland with the FWPD Air Support Unit says they’ll be working closely with the 911 dispatch center to respond to calls using their latest drone technology. He says the pilot operating the drone will be able to see a map of 911 calls and send their drone to the scene. From there, they will use the drone to survey the scene and help dispatchers and police decide the best way to respond to emergencies."


Expand full comment

EPIC Urges FCC to Safeguard Precise 911 Location Data Before Mandating Collection:

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) files these comments to urge the Federal Communications Commission (“Commission” or “FCC”) to clarify the privacy and security rules for device-based location data before setting a deadline for carriers to begin collecting and disclosing this data. We appreciate the Commission’s desire to improve emergency response times. However, the Commission’s proposal would require carriers to collect and disclose more precise—and thus, more sensitive—location data than ever before. Given the recent, high-profile, and widespread failure of carriers to safeguard location data, we urge the Commission to adopt clear rules that ensure the privacy and security of device-based location data from the outset.

We also urge the Commission to consider how the lack of clear privacy and security safeguards would have a disproportionately negative impact on certain vulnerable groups. Government entities have used location data to target immigrants, Muslims, and protesters. Bounty hunters and abusers have used carrier location data to track down individuals. Some states have moved to criminalize almost all abortion and location data may become a useful tool for enforcing these laws. To ensure equity, the Commission must adopt rules that prevent carrier location data from being used to surveil, harass, and oppress those with marginalized identities.

Read More at https://epic.org/documents/in-re-location-based-routing-for-wireless-911-calls/

Expand full comment

Uber To Track Drivers And Passengers In Real-Time Using RapidSOS App:

Imagine calling an Uber to go to the movies and finding out that law enforcement knows who you are, where you are, where you are going and when you arrived at your destination.

This is no fairy tale because Uber's partnership with RapidSOS will allow law enforcement to know everything about you in real-time.

Last month, the San Francisco Chronicle revealed that the RapidSOS app will allegedly allow first responders to locate injured or sick people more precisely than 911.

But RapidSOS does much more than just locate people.

The above video offers a disturbing look into data collection and real-time surveillance without a warrant inside "connected homes" and "connected cars."

The article goes on to say that RapidSOS "real-time tracking will also extend to Uber riders and drivers."

And California's Department of Energy Management (DOEM) is elated to be able track them.

“As soon as they say they’re in an Uber, dispatchers can query the information,” said Eric Gornitsky, a public safety supervisor at the DOEM. The company then sends driver and rider information, travel route, vehicle description and current location to dispatchers."

Let that sink in for a moment; the DOEM which has strong ties to Homeland Security, now has access to real-time passenger information, without a warrant. What could possibly go wrong?

But what if the passenger doesn't have the RapidSOS app but Uber forces drivers to use it? See above, and kiss your privacy goodbye.

This a privacy nightmare waiting to happen, especially when it goes national.


Expand full comment