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Police Corruption News Articles

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EFF to Michigan Court: Governments Shouldn’t Be Allowed to Use a Drone to Spy on You Without a Warrant
2023-09-19, ScheerPost
https://scheerpost.com/2023/09/19/eff-to-michigan-court-governments-shouldnt-...

Should the government have to get a warrant before using a drone to spy on your home and backyard? We think so, and in an amicus brief filed last Friday in Long Lake Township v. Maxon, we urged the Michigan Supreme Court to find that warrantless drone surveillance of a home violates the Fourth Amendment. In this case, Long Lake Township hired private operators to repeatedly fly drones over Todd and Heather Maxon’s home to take aerial photos and videos of their property in a zoning investigation. The Township did this without a warrant and then sought to use this documentation in a court case against them. In our brief, we argue that the township’s conduct was governed by and violated the Fourth Amendment and the equivalent section of the Michigan Constitution. Drone prevalence has soared in recent years, fueled by both private and governmental use. We have documented more than 1,471 law enforcement agencies across the United States that operate drones. In some cities, police have begun implementing “drone as first responder” programs, in which drones are constantly flying over communities in response to routine calls for service. Authorities have routinely used aerial surveillance technologies against individuals participating in racial justice movements. Under this backdrop, states like Florida, Maine, Minnesota, Nevada, North Dakota, and Virginia have enacted statutes requiring warrants for police use of drones.  

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.


Fantasy fears about AI are obscuring how we already abuse machine intelligence
2023-06-11, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2023/jun/11/big-tech-warns-of-threa...

A young African American man, Randal Quran Reid, was pulled over by the state police in Georgia. He was arrested under warrants issued by Louisiana police for two cases of theft in New Orleans. The arrest warrants had been based solely on a facial recognition match, though that was never mentioned in any police document; the warrants claimed "a credible source" had identified Reid as the culprit. The facial recognition match was incorrect and Reid was released. Reid ... is not the only victim of a false facial recognition match. So far all those arrested in the US after a false match have been black. From surveillance to disinformation, we live in a world shaped by AI. The reason that Reid was wrongly incarcerated had less to do with artificial intelligence than with ... the humans that created the software and trained it. Too often when we talk of the "problem" of AI, we remove the human from the picture. We worry AI will "eliminate jobs" and make millions redundant, rather than recognise that the real decisions are made by governments and corporations and the humans that run them. We have come to view the machine as the agent and humans as victims of machine agency. Rather than seeing regulation as a means by which we can collectively shape our relationship to AI, it becomes something that is imposed from the top as a means of protecting humans from machines. It is not AI but our blindness to the way human societies are already deploying machine intelligence for political ends that should most worry us.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.


Anti-fascists were stabbed at a neo-Nazi rally. Then police tried to charge them.
2018-12-05, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/dec/05/antifa-charges-california-act...

California law enforcement pursued criminal charges against eight anti-fascist activists who were stabbed or beaten at a neo-Nazi rally while failing to prosecute anyone for the knife attacks against them. In addition to the decision not to charge white supremacists or others for stabbings at a far-right rally that left people with critical wounds, police also investigated 100 anti-fascist counter-protesters, recommending more than 500 total criminal charges against them, according to court filings. Meanwhile, for men investigated on the neo-Nazi side of a June 2016 brawl ... police recommended only five mostly minor charges. The documents have raised fresh questions about California police agencies handling of rightwing violence and extremism, renewing accusations that law enforcement officials have shielded neo-Nazis from prosecution while aggressively pursuing demonstrators with leftwing and anti-racist political views. The Guardian previously interviewed two victims who were injured, then pursued by police Cedric OBannon, a black journalist and stabbing victim who ultimately was not charged, and Yvette Felarca, a well-known Berkeley activist whose case is moving forward. Previous records also revealed that police had worked with the neo-Nazi groups to target the anti-racist activists. The records disclosed this week provided new details about six other stabbing and beating victims who were treated as suspects by police after the rally ... which was organized by a neo-Nazi group.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.


He wore a wire, risked his life to expose who was in the KKK
2021-12-23, ABC/Associated Press
https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/wore-wire-risked-life-expose-kkk-81...

For nearly 10 years, Joseph Moore lived a secret double life. At times the U.S. Army veteran donned a white robe and hood as a hit man for the Ku Klux Klan in North Florida. He attended clandestine meetings and participated in cross burnings. He even helped plan the murder of a Black man. However, Moore wore something else during his years in the klan – a wire for the FBI. He recorded his conversations with his fellow klansmen, sometimes even captured video, and shared what he learned with federal agents trying to crack down on white supremacists. [Moore] would help the federal government foil at least two murder plots. He was also an active informant when the FBI exposed klan members working as law enforcement officers in Florida at the city, county and state levels. "The FBI wanted me to gather as much information about these individuals and confirm their identities," Moore said of law enforcement officers who were active members of or working with the klan. "It is more prevalent and consequential than any of them are willing to admit." At klan gatherings, Moore noted license plate numbers and other identifying information of suspected law enforcement officers who were members. Moore said he noted connections between the hate group and law enforcement in Florida and Georgia. He came across dozens of police officers, prison guards, sheriff deputies and other law enforcement officers who were involved with the klan and outlaw motorcycle clubs.

Note: Read more about how white supremacist groups and militias have infiltrated law enforcement agencies. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.


White supremacists and militias have infiltrated police across US, report says
2020-08-27, MSN News
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/white-supremacists-and-militias-have-infilt...

White supremacist groups have infiltrated US law enforcement agencies in every region of the country over the last two decades. In a timely new analysis, Michael German, a former FBI special agent who has written extensively on the ways that US law enforcement have failed to respond to far-right domestic terror threats, concludes that US law enforcement officials have been tied to racist militant activities in more than a dozen states since 2000, and hundreds of police officers have been caught posting racist and bigoted social media content. Police links to militias and white supremacist groups have been uncovered in states including Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia. Police in Sacramento, California, in 2018 worked with neo-Nazis to pursue charges against anti-racist activists. This week, police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, faced intense scrutiny over their response to armed white men and militia groups gathered in the city amid demonstrations by Black Lives Matter activists and others over the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old who appeared to consider himself a militia member ... was arrested on suspicion of murder after the fatal shooting of two protesters. Activists in Kenosha say police there have responded aggressively and violently to Black Lives Matter demonstrators, while doing little to stop armed white vigilantes.

Note: Read how law enforcement prioritizes investigations of peaceful activists over investigations of violent white supremacist groups. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.


Whistleblowers go undercover to expose criminal drug operation within the Chicago PD
2019-05-24, CBS News
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/whistleblowers-go-undercover-to-expose-criminal-...

As a Chicago police officer, Shannon Spalding worked undercover in some of the toughest parts of the city -- only to discover some of the most dangerous criminals were fellow police officers. She risked her life to stop them. Soon after joining the Chicago Police Department in 1996, Spalding drew an assignment in one of the most violent neighborhoods in the city. To survive, Spalding leaned on veteran cops like Ronald Watts. In 2006, a decade after Spalding was trained by Watts, she had a new assignment in the narcotics division. "I was the undercover. I would go out, I would make the controlled narcotics purchases," Spalding explained. Her partner, Danny Echeverria, would swoop in and make arrests. But during police interviews, something strange started happening. "People would say 'I can't believe you're going to arrest me when one of your own is actually running the narcotics trade,'" said Spalding. [She] learned Watts and his crew would plant drugs on residents of the Ida B. Wells projects and extort cash. Spalding and her partner would eventually learn Watts' bad deeds had been going on for years. [They] would spend years undercover investigating Ronald Watts and his team. In February 2012, Sgt. Ronald Watts and one of his officers, Kallat Mohammed, were arrested after being caught robbing a drug courier of $5,200. That courier was Spalding's informant and was wearing an FBI wire. Both Watts and Mohammed were convicted. Watts was sentenced to 22 months and Mohammed received an 18-month sentence. Aided by that investigation, more than 60 people wrongfully arrested by Watts and his team have now been exonerated.

Note: The article fails to mention how the police went after Spalding. Watch a riveting CBS video showing this and more on the depths of corruption in the Chicago police department. And if you think it's only Chicago, think again. As Spalding stated when asked about the police code of silence, "You never, ever go after a fellow officer." Though 60 innocent victims were freed from jail, many of the officers who committed these crimes are still on the police force. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.


Innocent man ends up pals with crooked cop that framed him
2016-04-15, CBS News
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/on-the-road-innocent-michigan-man-ends-up-working...

Back in 2005, Jameel McGee says he was minding his own business when a police officer accused him of - and arrested him for - dealing drugs. "It was all made up," said McGee. Of course, a lot of accused men make that claim, but not many arresting officers agree. "I falsified the report," former Benton Harbor police officer Andrew Collins admitted. "Basically, at the start of that day, I was going to make sure I had another drug arrest." And in the end, he put an innocent guy in jail. "I lost everything," McGee said. "My only goal was to seek him when I got home and to hurt him." Eventually, that crooked cop was caught, and served a year and a half for falsifying many police reports, planting drugs and stealing. Of course McGee was exonerated, but he still spent four years in prison for a crime he didn't commit. Today both men are back in Benton Harbor, which is a small town. Last year, by sheer coincidence, they both ended up at faith-based employment agency Mosaic, where they now work side by side in the same caf. And it was in those cramped quarters that the bad cop and the wrongfully accused had no choice but to have it out." I said, 'Honestly, I have no explanation, all I can do is say I'm sorry,'" Collins explained. McGee says that was all it took. "That was pretty much what I needed to hear." Today they're not only cordial, they're friends. Such close friends, not long ago McGee actually told Collins he loved him. "And I just started weeping because he doesn't owe me that. I don't deserve that," Collins said.

Note: Don't miss the beautiful video of this story at the link above.


The new way police are surveilling you: Calculating your threat score
2016-01-10, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/the-new-way-police-are-sur...

A new generation of technology such as the Beware software being used in Fresno has given local law enforcement officers unprecedented power to peer into the lives of citizens. But the powerful systems also have become flash points for civil libertarians and activists, who say they represent a troubling intrusion on privacy, have been deployed with little public oversight and have potential for abuse or error. This is something thats been building since September 11, said Jennifer Lynch ... at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. First funding went to the military to develop this technology, and now it has come back to domestic law enforcement. Its the perfect storm of cheaper and easier-to-use technologies and money from state and federal governments to purchase it. Perhaps the most controversial and revealing technology is the threat-scoring software Beware. Fresno is one of the first departments in the nation to test the program. As officers respond to calls, Beware automatically runs the address. The searches return the names of residents and scans them against a range of publicly available data to generate a color-coded threat level for each person or address: green, yellow or red. Exactly how Beware calculates threat scores is something that its maker, Intrado, considers a trade secret, so it is unclear how much weight is given to a misdemeanor, felony or threatening comment on Facebook. The fact that only Intrado not the police or the public knows how Beware tallies its scores is disconcerting.

Note: Learn more in this informative article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.


How Paid Experts Help Exonerate Police After Deaths in Custody
2021-12-26, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/26/us/police-deaths-in-custody-blame.html

When lawyers were preparing to defend against a lawsuit over a death in police custody in Fresno, Calif., they knew whom to call. Dr. Gary Vilke has established himself as a leading expert witness by repeatedly asserting that police techniques such as facedown restraints, stun gun shocks and some neck holds did not kill people. Officers in Fresno had handcuffed 41-year-old Joseph Perez and, holding him facedown on the ground, put a spinal board from an ambulance on his back as he cried out for help. The county medical examiner ruled his death, in May 2017, a homicide by asphyxiation. Dr. Vilke, who was hired by the ambulance provider, charged $500 an hour and provided a different determination. He wrote in a report ... that Mr. Perez had died from methamphetamine use, heart disease and the exertion of his struggle against the restraints. Dr. Vilke ... is an integral part of a small but influential cadre of scientists, lawyers, physicians and other police experts whose research and testimony is almost always used to absolve officers of blame for deaths, according to a review of hundreds of research papers and more than 25,000 pages of court documents, as well as interviews with nearly three dozen people. Their views infuriate many prosecutors, plaintiff lawyers, medical experts and relatives of the dead, who accuse them of slanting science, ignoring inconvenient facts and dangerously emboldening police officers to act aggressively. Many of the experts also have ties to Axon, maker of the Taser.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.


FBI warned of white supremacists in law enforcement 10 years ago. Has anything changed?
2016-10-21, PBS
https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/fbi-white-supremacists-in-law-enforcement

Exactly 10 years ago this week, the FBI warned of the potential consequences including bias of white supremacist groups infiltrating local and state law enforcement, indicating it was a significant threat to national security. In the 2006 bulletin, the FBI detailed the threat of white nationalists and skinheads infiltrating police in order to disrupt investigations against fellow members and recruit other supremacists. The bulletin was released during a period of scandal for many law enforcement agencies throughout the country, including a neo-Nazi gang formed by members of the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department who harassed black and Latino communities. Similar investigations revealed officers and entire agencies with hate group ties in Illinois, Ohio and Texas. Much of the bulletin has been redacted, but in it, the FBI identified white supremacists in law enforcement as a concern, because of their access to both restricted areas vulnerable to sabotage and elected officials or people who could be seen as potential targets for violence. The memo also warned of ghost skins, hate group members who dont overtly display their beliefs in order to blend into society and covertly advance white supremacist causes. At least one white supremacist group has reportedly encouraged ghost skins to seek positions in law enforcement for the capability of alerting skinhead crews of pending investigative action against them, the report read. In the 10 years since the FBIs initial warning, little has changed.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption and the erosion of civil liberties from reliable major media sources.


New-officer training presents ‘immediate crisis for policing,’ report says
2022-11-14, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2022/11/14/police-training-brutality-pe...

Public outrage over how police use force has fueled protests in the streets, spurred calls to cut their funding and ignited broad debates over how to reform law enforcement. Despite this intense focus on the present and future of policing, one key component has remained woefully inadequate, according to a report from a prominent policing think tank: how new officers are trained. Training for recruits “presents an immediate crisis for policing,” according to the report from the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF). The report describes a system that, even after years of push and pull over change, is “built to train officers quickly and cheaply.” That system then hurries the new officers onto streets across the United States without helping them develop vital skills, including crisis intervention and communication, that they will need on the job. Police in the United States typically spend about 20 weeks in the academy, the report said, while recruits in Japan might spend up to 21 months training. Their peers in many European countries spend two to three years training. The report also touches on why, despite all the pleas to rethink policing, training remains behind the times in many places. “At many academies,” the report said, instruction “is based largely on what has been taught in the past.” In many cases, the report continued, academies “seem to rely almost exclusively on current or retired law enforcement officers to develop their training curricula,” even though these people lack backgrounds in designing course instruction.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.


FBI says fortune seized in Beverly Hills raid was criminals’ loot. Owners say: Where’s the proof
2021-09-19, Los Angeles Times
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-09-19/fbi-seizure-cash-beverly-...

After the FBI seized Joseph Ruiz’s life savings during a raid on a safe deposit box business in Beverly Hills, the unemployed chef went to court to retrieve his $57,000. A judge ordered the government to tell Ruiz why it was trying to confiscate the money. It came from drug trafficking, an FBI agent responded in court papers. Ruiz’s income was too low for him to have that much money, and his side business selling bongs made from liquor bottles suggested he was an unlicensed pot dealer, the agent wrote. The FBI also said a dog had smelled unspecified drugs on Ruiz’s cash. The FBI was wrong. When Ruiz produced records showing the source of his money was legitimate, the government dropped its false accusation and returned his money. Ruiz is one of roughly 800 people whose money and valuables the FBI seized from safe deposit boxes they rented at the U.S. Private Vaults store in a strip mall. Federal agents had suspected for years that criminals were stashing loot there, and they assert that’s exactly what they found. The government is trying to confiscate $86 million in cash and a stockpile of jewelry, rare coins and precious metals taken from about half of the boxes. But six months after the raid, the FBI and U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles have produced no evidence of criminal wrongdoing by the vast majority of box holders whose belongings the government is trying to keep. About 300 of the box holders are contesting the attempted confiscation.

Note: In the recent past, police have been caught using asset forfeiture to pad departmental budgets. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.


USA TODAY investigation finds widespread retaliation against police whistleblowers
2021-11-12, USA Today
https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2021/11/12/usa-today-investigation-sho...

We got a touching email Wednesday from a 30-year veteran of a Massachusetts police force. He wrote that his distinguished career "was all tarnished ... after I reported (an) officer lying on the stand and going to the FBI." He was responding to an investigative story we published this week, Behind the Blue Wall, that documented how often police whistleblowers face retaliation for reporting misconduct. They have been threatened, fired, jailed, one was even forcibly admitted to a psychiatric ward. "I want to personally thank you for bringing this to light," the officer wrote. "You were able to write what I have experienced for the last 6 years. After reading this I took a deep breath and for the first time since this began I feel liberated from the stigma of being a rat, untruthful, discredited." Police covering for colleagues, and punishing those who don't, isn't new. But with this investigation, we wanted to quantify, for the first time, the extent of the problem and how it impacts the whistleblowers. Reporters sent out 400 public records requests and secured tens of thousands of pages of records. They found 300 cases in the past decade where an officer helped expose misconduct – a small window into how the system works. The vast majority of those cases ended with those whistleblowers saying they faced retaliation. “Whistleblowing is a life sentence,” former Chicago undercover narcotics officer Shannon Spalding told our team. She faced death threats ... after she exposed corruption that led to dozens of overturned convictions.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.


After crime plummeted in 2020, Baltimore will stop drug, sex prosecutions
2021-03-26, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2021/03/26/baltimore-reducing-prosecu...

Something happened in Baltimore last year. The coronavirus pandemic hit, and State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby announced that the city would no longer prosecute drug possession, prostitution, trespassing and other minor charges, to keep people out of jail and limit the spread of the deadly virus. And then crime went down in Baltimore. A lot. While violent crime and homicides skyrocketed in most other big American cities last year, violent crime in Baltimore dropped 20 percent from last March to this month, property crime decreased 36 percent, and there were 13 fewer homicides compared with the previous year. This happened while 39 percent fewer people entered the city’s criminal justice system in the one-year period, and 20 percent fewer people landed in jail after Mosby’s office dismissed more than 1,400 pending cases and tossed out more than 1,400 warrants for nonviolent crimes. So on Friday, Mosby made her temporary steps permanent. She announced Baltimore City will continue to decline prosecution of all drug possession, prostitution, minor traffic and misdemeanor cases, and will partner with a local behavioral health service to aggressively reach out to drug users, sex workers and people in psychiatric crisis to direct them into treatment rather than the back of a patrol car. A number of big-city prosecutors have moved to decriminalize drugs, and Oregon voters decriminalized small amounts of drugs statewide.

Note: The fact that the rest of the US last year experienced a "Massive 1-Year Rise In Homicide Rates" makes this all the more impressive. A 2016 report by the Johns Hopkins-Lancet Commission on Public Health and International Drug Policy found that the the war on drugs harmed public health. When Portugal decriminalized drugs, its addiction rates were cut in half.


George Floyd: 'Unacceptable' attacks on reporters at protests
2020-06-02, BBC News
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-52880970

Dozens of journalists covering anti-racism protests that have rocked the US have reported being targeted by security forces using tear gas, rubber bullets and pepper spray. In many cases, they said it was despite showing clear press credentials. The arrest of a CNN news crew live on air on Friday in Minneapolis, where unarmed black man George Floyd died at the hands of police, first drew global attention to how law enforcement authorities in the city were treating reporters. On Tuesday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison asked his embassy in Washington to investigate the use of force by police against an Australian news crew as officers dispersed protesters there. It comes after dozens of attacks on journalists and media crews across the country over the weekend were reported on social media. In total the US Press Freedom Tracker, a non-profit project, says it is investigating more than 100 "press freedom violations" at protests. About 90 cases involve attacks. On Saturday night, two members of a TV crew from Reuters news agency were shot at with rubber bullets while police dispersed protesters in Minneapolis. In Washington DC, near the White House, a riot police officer charged his shield at a BBC cameraman on Sunday evening. On Friday night, Linda Tirado, a freelance photojournalist and activist, was struck in her left eye by a projectile that appeared to come from the direction of police in Minneapolis. She has been permanently blinded in that eye.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption and the erosion of civil liberties from reliable major media sources.


Its still a blast beating people: St. Louis police indicted in assault of undercover officer posing as protester
2018-11-30, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2018/11/30/its-still-blast-beating-peop...

When a judge acquitted a white St. Louis police officer in September 2017 for fatally shooting a young black man, the citys police braced for massive protests. But St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Officer Dustin Boone wasnt just prepared for the unrest - he was pumped. Its gonna get IGNORANT tonight!! he texted on Sept. 15, 2017, the day of the verdict. Its gonna be a lot of fun beating the hell out of these s---heads once the sun goes down and nobody can tell us apart!!!! Two days later, prosecutors say, thats exactly what Boone did to one black protester. Boone, 35, and two other officers, Randy Hays, 31, and Christopher Myers, 27, threw a man to the ground and viciously kicked him and beat him with a riot baton, even though he was complying with their instructions. But the three police officers had no idea that the man was a 22-year police veteran working undercover, whom they beat so badly that he couldnt eat and lost 20 pounds. On Thursday, a federal grand jury indicted the three officers in the assault. They also indicted the men and another officer, Bailey Colletta, 25, for the attack. Prosecutors released text messages showing the officers bragging about assaulting protesters, with Hays even noting that going rogue does feel good. To protest leaders, the federal charges are a welcome measure of justice but also a sign of how far St. Louis still has to go.

Note: If the man beaten had not been a police officer, we would never have heard about this. How often does it happen to other protestors acting peacefully? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.


Face Recognition Technology Follows a Long Analog History of Surveillance and Control Based on Identifying Physical Features
2024-01-22, ScheerPost
https://scheerpost.com/2024/01/22/face-recognition-technology-follows-a-long-...

American Amara Majeed was accused of terrorism by the Sri Lankan police in 2019. Robert Williams was arrested outside his house in Detroit and detained in jail for 18 hours for allegedly stealing watches in 2020. Randal Reid spent six days in jail in 2022 for supposedly using stolen credit cards in a state he’d never even visited. In all three cases, the authorities had the wrong people. In all three, it was face recognition technology that told them they were right. Law enforcement officers in many U.S. states are not required to reveal that they used face recognition technology to identify suspects. Surveillance is predicated on the idea that people need to be tracked and their movements limited and controlled in a trade-off between privacy and security. The assumption that less privacy leads to more security is built in. That may be the case for some, but not for the people disproportionately targeted by face recognition technology. As of 2019, face recognition technology misidentified Black and Asian people at up to 100 times the rate of white people. In 2018 ... 28 members of the U.S. Congress ... were falsely matched with mug shots on file using Amazon’s Rekognition tool. Much early research into face recognition software was funded by the CIA for the purposes of border surveillance. More recently, private companies have adopted data harvesting techniques, including face recognition, as part of a long practice of leveraging personal data for profit.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.


Why Big Tech, Cops, and Spies Were Made for One Another
2023-10-16, The Intercept
https://theintercept.com/2023/10/16/surveillance-state-big-tech/

Silicon Valley techies are pretty sanguine about commercial surveillance. But they are much less cool about government spying. Government employees and contractors are pretty cool with state surveillance. But they are far less cool with commercial surveillance. What are they both missing? That American surveillance is a public-private partnership: a symbiosis between a concentrated tech sector that has the means, motive, and opportunity to spy on every person in the world and a state that loves surveillance as much as it hates checks and balances. The tech sector has powerful allies in government: cops and spies. No government agency could ever hope to match the efficiency and scale of commercial surveillance. Meanwhile, the private sector relies on cops and spies to go to bat for them, lobbying against new privacy laws and for lax enforcement of existing ones. Think of Amazon’s Ring cameras, which have blanketed entire neighborhoods in CCTV surveillance, which Ring shares with law enforcement agencies, sometimes without the consent or knowledge of the cameras’ owners. Ring marketing recruits cops as street teams, showering them with freebies to distribute to local homeowners. Google ... has managed to play both sides of the culture war with its location surveillance, thanks to the “reverse warrants” that cops have used to identify all the participants at both Black Lives Matter protests and the January 6 coup. Distinguishing between state and private surveillance is a fool’s errand.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.


TechScape: How police use location and search data to find suspects – and not always the right ones
2023-10-03, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2023/oct/03/techscape-geofence-warrants

From Virginia to Florida, law enforcement all over the US are increasingly using tools called reverse search warrants – including geofence location warrants and keyword search warrants – to come up with a list of suspects who may have committed particular crimes. While the former is used by law enforcement to get tech companies to identify all the devices that were near a certain place at a certain time, the latter is used to get information on everyone who’s searched for a particular keyword or phrase. It’s a practice public defenders, privacy advocates and many lawmakers have criticised, arguing it violates fourth amendment protections against unreasonable searches. Unlike reverse search warrants, other warrants and subpoenas target a specific person that law enforcement has established there is probable cause to believe has committed a specific crime. But geofence warrants are sweeping in nature and are often used to compile a suspect list to further investigate. Google broke out how many geofence warrants it received for the first time in 2021. The company revealed it received nearly 21,000 geofence warrants between 2018 and 2020. The tech giant did not specify how many of those requests it complied with but did share that in the second half of 2020, it responded to 82% of all government requests for data in the US with some level of information. Apple has taken steps to publish its own numbers. In the first half of 2022 the company fielded a total of 13 geofence warrants and complied with none.

Note: The legal world is struggling to keep up with the rise of tech firms building ever more sophisticated means of surveilling people and their devices. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.


Google User Data Has Become a Favorite Police Shortcut
2023-09-27, Bloomberg
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2023-09-28/google-user-data-is-police...

Google maintains one of the world’s most comprehensive repositories of location information. Drawing from phones’ GPS coordinates, plus connections to Wi-Fi networks and cellular towers, it can often estimate a person’s whereabouts to within several feet. It gathers this information in part to sell advertising, but police routinely dip into the data to further their investigations. The use of search data is less common, but that, too, has made its way into police stations throughout the country. Traditionally, American law enforcement obtains a warrant to search the home or belongings of a specific person, in keeping with a constitutional ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. Warrants for Google’s location and search data are, in some ways, the inverse of that process, says Michael Price, the litigation director for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Fourth Amendment Center. Rather than naming a suspect, law enforcement identifies basic parameters—a set of geographic coordinates or search terms—and asks Google to provide hits, essentially generating a list of leads. By their very nature, these Google warrants often return information on people who haven’t been suspected of a crime. In 2018 a man in Arizona was wrongly arrested for murder based on Google location data. Google says it received a record 60,472 search warrants in the US last year, more than double the number from 2019. The company provides at least some information in about 80% of cases.

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