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Local Police Increasingly Rely On Secret Surveillance 146

Posted by Soulskill
from the show-of-hands,-who's-surprised? dept.
v3rgEz writes: 'The Wall Street Journal reports on how local law enforcement is increasingly requesting (and receiving) sealed wiretap requests and surveillance that doesn't require a warrant for cellular data, a move that is making some courts uneasy — but not uneasy enough to stop the practice. "Across the U.S., thousands of similar law-enforcement requests for electronic monitoring are likewise locked away from public view, even after the investigations that spawned them have ended. In most cases, they stay sealed indefinitely—unlike nearly all other aspects of American judicial proceedings. Courts long have presumed that search warrants, for example, eventually should be made public." One group has set up a crowdfunding campaign to research how far the practice has spread, hoping to raise money to file and follow up on public records requests across the country for policies, invoices, and other "surveillance metadata."'
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Local Police Increasingly Rely On Secret Surveillance

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @04:09PM (#47159153)

    This is a travesty.

    • by i kan reed (749298) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @04:47PM (#47159545) Homepage Journal

      No, if you look at the Supreme Court Case [Redacted] vs. [Redacted], you'll find that Justice [Redacted] made the very clear argument that sometimes [Redacted] is necessary because [Redacted]. Honestly, how can you contest that precedent?

      • by SuperRenaissanceMan (1027668) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @04:56PM (#47159637)

        No, if you look at the Supreme Court Case [Redacted] vs. [Redacted], you'll find that Justice [Redacted] made the very clear argument that sometimes [Redacted] is necessary because [Redacted]. Honestly, how can you contest that precedent?

        Informative!

      • Unfortunately, I have a friend who supports that type of reasoning.

        He is a policeman.

        His views are that if he has nothing to hide, he doesn't care if the government snoops in. These things are necessary to protect everyone from wrong doing. Common people who critique it just aren't able to understand the need for it. Whatever steps are necessary must be taken to protect the population.

        He's into history, war and such. I would think that something would resonate in his head that being able to sys
        • Wild guess that he's against being monitored himself.
        • by sjames (1099)

          Does his bedroom window have curtains or a shade? Does he wear pants? If he has nothing to hide, why would he?

          If the police have nothing to hide, why are the secret warrants secret?

        • Ask him what his political affiliation is. Then ask if in 20 years time, presumably taking a state pension, he'd be happy with those then in power having details of his prior political slant, and using that information to decide whether he should continue to be supported by the state. Or eligible to receive healthcare. Or to travel outside of the country.

          Point out other historically significant political entities which started with similar data collection on their populace, and how they ended up; I won't n
      • I've seen the unredacted version of this decision. It cites Catch-22 several times; precedent going back to at least WWII.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @06:00PM (#47160231)

      The practice has been abused, and innocent people have been harmed in some way by this abuse.

      Where there is no accountability or visibility, there is abuse. It is guaranteed.

      Any attempt at seeing the old data will be fiercely resisted by those who abused this practice, and they will have lots of political clout to keep their corruption secret.

    • by nitehawk214 (222219) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @06:56PM (#47160611)

      I simply don't get it. If the police are just investigating normal crimes, why can't get get normal warrants? Are they just lazy, or is there some other motive?

      • by gweihir (88907) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @08:32PM (#47161047)

        They think they are on a higher mission and that this end justifies any means. Just look at the history of Germany, how ordinary police was pretty happy with their increased powers in the 3rd Reich. The police is unable to guard freedom, as its members do not understand the concept. The police always wants a police-state, that is not named accidentally in this way.

        • True, no organization that has authority has ever wanted less authority.

          • by gweihir (88907)

            Indeed. And the particular problem with the police is that they are tasked with keeping up "order". While there are exceptions, this attracts a particular type of personality (authoritarian follower), that is unable to understand the exceedingly high value of freedom. These people are often willing to do immeasurable damage to keep up "order", and as those in power benefit immensely, are often shielded from any accountability for their actions. And when things start to get bad (as they have been in the US f

        • by Sciath (3433615)
          So true. People in law enforcement are predisposed to be authoritarian and so militaristically idealistic they are incapable to appreciating the rights their departments were created to protect. There are departmental incentives to be anti-human rights. Advancements depend upon successful prosecutions, etc. Which by the way are very often achieved via pleas, and prosecutorial misconduct.
    • by gweihir (88907)

      Actually, this is completely as intended. When the majority of the population finally wakes up, the fascist state will be firmly established.

    • by NotDrWho (3543773)

      The government has decided that it's in the public interest for the public not to know what the government is doing. And the public is uninterested.

  • what? did you think because it happens on tv shows like Dexter all the time that it was impossible for it to happen? "oh that happens on tv so it can't be real." that mentality is why so many people get surprised when they see an article like this.
  • by NoKaOi (1415755) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @04:16PM (#47159223)

    If the federal government doesn't need a warrant, why should local law enforcement? OTOH, the federal government uses "national security" as an excuse to violate the constitution. What's local law enforcement's excuse?

    a move that is making some courts uneasy

    The judicial branch is obsolete, a relic from some past time when The Constitution of the United States was the highest law of the land.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      And on that note, why should civilians need a warrant? We should just start following their lead and perform our own mass spying... Well, not really, because I know what kinds of things they do to mere peons with the CFAA.
      • by NoKaOi (1415755)

        And on that note, why should civilians need a warrant? We should just start following their lead and perform our own mass spying... Well, not really, because I know what kinds of things they do to mere peons with the CFAA.

        Because individual citizens have no power. If the police decide what you did is illegal, then they'll persecute/prosecute you. Especially if you're spying on them (even videoing them in a public place) or a person or organization with power.

        If you're a large corporation though, you have an army of lawyers and you can do whatever you want. Remember the case when Microsoft stole email form a journalist's hotmail account without a warrant? Their excuse was they could do it because they wouldn't have been a

        • I was about to ask what a journalist was doing using Hotmail, but then I though:

          What is a news organisation IT dept doing in allowing their journalists to use third-party email services? Those are privileged communications, maybe not to the same level as legal or medical documentation, but they're still protected. There must be some kind of due diligence for these things, though.
        • by jafiwam (310805)

          And on that note, why should civilians need a warrant? We should just start following their lead and perform our own mass spying... Well, not really, because I know what kinds of things they do to mere peons with the CFAA.

          Because individual citizens have no power. If the police decide what you did is illegal, then they'll persecute/prosecute you. Especially if you're spying on them (even videoing them in a public place) or a person or organization with power.

          If you're a large corporation though, you have an army of lawyers and you can do whatever you want. Remember the case when Microsoft stole email form a journalist's hotmail account without a warrant? Their excuse was they could do it because they wouldn't have been able to get a warrant, both because that's law enforcement's role and because law enforcement wouldn't have been able to get a warrant anyway. That translates to, "we know what we're doing is totally illegal because the courts would never let us, but we're doing it anyway because nobody gives a shit about the judicial branch."

          Despite being modded funny, the part about the judicial branch being obsolete was entirely serious.

          Individuals do have power. They can practice jury nullification (look it up if you don't know what it is) in the jury box. They can try to get into office themselves. They can formulate logical and consistent opinions and then share them with others. They can obtain and practice with firearms so they are much harder targets for a government out of control. They can use the same to protect themselves from the free shit army the government has created to prey on the productive people, that conveniently m

          • by Sciath (3433615)
            Some problems with that assertion is; the military and law enforcement get paid to restrict liberties, are ordered as a cohesive group to overwhelm, don't have to give up their jobs/sources if income to conduct oppressive acts and can be punished for not following orders have access to overwhelming technology and arms, etc. Participants in civil disobedience usually have to sacrifice far more than the law enforcement and military agents (who are being rewarded for their acts regardless of who is harmed). Mo
    • by iggymanz (596061) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @04:34PM (#47159387)

      They still have a function, window dressing for our fascist police state. "See, we have a Constitution. See, we have a court system and juries of peers"

  • Blame the courts (Score:2, Insightful)

    by by (1706743) (1706744)
    Tempting to blame law enforcement for their increasingly-Orwellian tactics, but -- in my opinion -- that's their job: to do everything they are legally allowed to do to put the baddies away. The thing is, "legally allowed to do" should stop somewhat short 1984; the fact that it doesn't isn't their fault per se, but the fault of the courts for allowing this.
    • Blame the courts (Score:2, Insightful)

      would you kill someone if the courts allowed you too. knowing full well that it was murder and that it was wrong. that the person didnt deserve to die. i can think of dozens of other analogies, but the principle is still the same.
      • No, but if it were legal, would you go around blaming everyone who killed (presumably there would be more than a few), or would you try to organize changing the law? Which would be more effective?

        Organizations, for example, shouldn't be expected to "play nice," but they should be expected to play by the rules. The fact that, say, various corporations can play extremely sketchy games with their taxes is absolutely expected, given that the tax code allows it (if they didn't, they would more-or-less be shir
    • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @04:25PM (#47159307)

      Tempting to blame law enforcement for their increasingly-Orwellian tactics, but -- in my opinion -- that's their job: to do everything they are legally allowed to do to put the baddies away. The thing is, "legally allowed to do" should stop somewhat short 1984; the fact that it doesn't isn't their fault per se, but the fault of the courts for allowing this.

      They aren't legally allowed to this. It's entirely illegal.
      On top of that, they take an oath to uphold the constitution when they get their badge and this clearly violates the constitution.

      For far too long in this country we've decide that "criminals" are somehow non-citizens. We've declared them as an "Other" and not of us. This has allowed some people to rationalize their illegal behavior as somehow just. It's not. Violating even a criminals constitutional rights is wrong, and it wont be long before YOU are considered a criminal that no longer deserves his rights either.

      • well then none of us are citizens. when my father when too school to be a police officer. he told me that every American commits on average 3 crimes a day. so we are treated like scum right from the get go. makes a lot more sense now at least.
      • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @04:50PM (#47159593) Journal

        The problem is, that without a regular reading of the Constitution, all you're left with are opinions of lawyers and judges as to all that the Constitution means. The fact is, the Constitution was deliberately focused and precise overarching set of "guidelines" that have been slowly eroded in favor of more "pragmatic" approaches, since nearly the beginning.

        Here is a test on Voting Rights and Right to Bear Arms. We have a set of court opinions that one requires ID and the other doesn't require any, both on "Constitutional" grounds. Either both are rights, and require the same application to exercise, or they are not rights.

        And for the anti-gun wackos, I'd suggest that Voting is more dangerous than guns, because you can't tell who the stupid people are voting for the tyrants taking away our rights as fast as they can.

        • Here is a test on Voting Rights and Right to Bear Arms. We have a set of court opinions that one requires ID and the other doesn't require any, both on "Constitutional" grounds. Either both are rights, and require the same application to exercise, or they are not rights.

          Devils' Advocate position: "voting" is a Right for Citizens. Determining whether you are, in fact, a Citizen before you vote is not unreasonable.

          On the other hand, RKBA does NOT specify "for citizens only", so there is no reason to requir

          • Well, taking your "devil's advocate" position, I would postulate that both Voting and Keeping/Bearing Arms are rights, but that Voting is more limited in as much as one needs to be a citizen while Keeping and Bearing Arms has no such limitation declared. This analysis would support my position even better, meaning that it is more reasonable to make sure that everyone voting is a citizen, rather than everyone Carrying a Weapon has ID.

            But Logic doesn't rule our land, fear mongering does.

        • by dryeo (100693)

          The other problem is the extreme reluctance of government to extend the Constitution through amendments. Even a simple one like making the Air Force constitutional that would easily pass is not done.
          At least when it came to giving Congress powers like passing laws limiting speech in the name of national security or placing sane limits on ownership of arms, there would be much more discussion about what is national security and what are sane limits on ownership of arms and in the absence of agreement there w

          • by BranMan (29917)

            Pray tell, good sir, what leads you to believe the formation of an Air Force is not constitutional?

      • by JohnFen (1641097)

        Tempting to blame law enforcement for their increasingly-Orwellian tactics, but -- in my opinion -- that's their job: to do everything they are legally allowed to do to put the baddies away.

        I couldn't disagree more, for a bunch of reasons -- but here's the one at the top of the list: lawmakers are always passing laws that give the police far too much power (at the urging of the police), but then explain to us that it's OK because the police will exercise good judgement and won't actually do the abusive things that the law allows.

        I blame lawmakers for passing those laws, and I equally blame law enforcement failing to exercise good judgement.

        • ...and I equally blame law enforcement failing to exercise good judgement.

          Right; but do you think law enforcement should be punished -- in a legal sense -- for failing to exercise good judgement? I think the answer is a resounding "yes," but if there are no laws explicitly saying that what the police are doing is wrong, then how should we proceed?

          Yes, I agree that good judgement should be expected -- but I think that when the police do not exercise good judgement, it should very much be a legal issue.

          • by Lumpy (12016)

            In fact there are laws in place that indemnify police from being sued or punished from wrongdoing.

            That is how fucked up the whole system is.

      • by houghi (78078)

        Violating even a criminals constitutional rights is wrong

        Constitutional rights are just ink on paper.
        Just like guns don't kill people, the constutution does not uphold the rights.
        You need the people to do that and the majority is not interested other then a discussing point on how awfull it is.

      • All politicians and bureaucrats also have to speak an oath to uphold the ultimate law of the land. For reference the United State's Supreme Court Oath of Office is below.

        For citizens, "ignorance of the law is no excuse". Tax law, I'm looking at you... But we are talking about the Supreme Law of the Land, The Constitution of the United States of America. Those in power that breach this law or redefine it are the problem. But they get away with it, over and over again (I think of Won't Be Fooled Again by

    • "that's their job: to do everything they are legally allowed to do to put the baddies away"
      This is so far from the ideals of Liberty i dont even know where to begin..... You are a child with a child's opinion.
      • Perhaps. I'm mostly arguing semantics here: to do a good job, it is often advisable to do everything in your legal power to accomplish that job. The fact that "everything in your legal power" is offensive/Orwellian/whatever isn't your fault per se -- it's the fault of there being insufficient oversight/laws protecting against that.

        I think, for instance, that taxes are too low in my country -- but I absolutely do not blame people for paying the minimum amount on their tax return.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by spire3661 (1038968)
          Doing everything in your legal power leads to a Zod mentality in Man of Steel. He wasnt wrong, per se, he was just an asshole and caused more suffering than helping. The purpose of the police is to keep the peace, not punish and not push so hard that undue suffering is caused, esp when no true harm is at stake
          • Yeah, I agree, especially on an individual level -- people should try to be Good. And a Good/altruistic police department would be awesome (and these do exist in some parts of the world/country, I'm sure...but certainly not the ones mentioned in TFA).

            My issue is that it is currently legal for the police to, as you say, "push so hard that undue suffering is caused." Yes, it's a dick move for the police to cause undue suffering, but the root problem -- in my mind -- is that it is seemingly legal (or at lea
        • by JohnFen (1641097)

          "to do a good job, it is often advisable to do everything in your legal power to accomplish that job"

          This is rarely actually true. But it is never true for law enforcement. To do a good job there means that you must not to everything that you're legally empowered to do.

    • Um, no. Law enforcement has a responsibility to stick to the principles that this country supposedly aspires to.

      It is their fault for doing this garbage, and the courts are also at fault for not stopping them. Saying it's one or the either is just a false dichotomy.

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      The "fuck freedom, I want security" people like you are more scary than a terrorist with a nuke.

      • Sorry, I think my post wasn't entirely clear. My main point is that an entity taking advantage of a broken system, while clearly not being part of the solution, isn't the fundamental problem; the fundamental problem is the broken system.

        By all means we should limit the *legal* power that the police have -- however, I think relying on the police to self-regulate is bound to fail, and we should indeed make it a legal obligation to "exercise good judgement" (or whatever language you like). Imperative in thi
    • by gweihir (88907)

      Law enforcement is fundamentally incapable of limiting itself, the mind-set just does not accommodate looking the other way. It often is also not allowed to do so. Hence law enforcement must always be limited in its actual power, lest a police-state arises. In the US, the control-mechanisms seem to have failed a while ago, the effects now observable are just what is to be expected. And for a look into the future, remember that a police-state is just a stepping-stone to complete fascism with no personal free

  • ugh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @04:32PM (#47159367)

    How is this even a question?

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    That's not even remotely vague. It's clear as day. You need a warrant and that warrant should be public. Period. Any Judge that didn't see this as a violation of the 4th amendment should be strung up without a trial, since they don't feel the constitution is important.

    • Tribunal is the way.

    • by Kijori (897770)

      How is this even a question?

      The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

      That's not even remotely vague. It's clear as day. You need a warrant and that warrant should be public. Period. Any Judge that didn't see this as a violation of the 4th amendment should be strung up without a trial, since they don't feel the constitution is important.

      I'm not sure that it's as crystal-clear as you say:
      1. Where does it say the warrant must be public? A secret warrant seems like it would qualify as long as it fit the requirements set out.

      2. It doesn't explicitly say "all searches require a warrant"; it only refers to "unreasonable searches". Does a reasonable search not require a warrant? In fact, where does this expressly say that any searches require a warrant?

      3. Where does it say that this applies to electronic communications (or any non-physical commun

  • On one hand keeping the wiretaps secret harms transparency and hides abuses.

    On the other hand it keeps the names of people under investigation private. Would you really want to other people to know that the police were tapping your phone? A conclusion many may draw is that you have done something wrong.

    • by dpidcoe (2606549)
      But but but.... if you haven't done anything wrong, then you've got nothing to hide from their wiretaps!!11~
      • by jklovanc (1603149)

        There are people who assume if someone is being investigated they must have done something wrong. You can't please everyone.

    • by hey! (33014) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @04:49PM (#47159583) Homepage Journal

      Would I *want* them to know? No. Would I *care*. Not really. Would some people think, "where there's smoke, there's fire?" Sure. Screw them, they're idiots.

      I think the best policy is ultimately to get everything out in the open. The worst case is when surveillance is secret so people think it hardly ever happens, and then it comes out that you were under surveillance. At least when it all comes out, it becomes pretty clear there's smoke around a lot of innocent people.

      • by jklovanc (1603149)

        Sure. Screw them, they're idiots.

        Those "idiots" might not hire you, vote for you, etc. When your life is ruined due to an investigation you will sing a different tune.

        • by hey! (33014)

          Those "idiots" might not hire you, vote for you, etc. When your life is ruined due to an investigation you will sing a different tune.

          I don't think so, but I'm on the downhill side of middle age, and that makes a difference. They can't ruin my life because I've lived approximately 2/3 of it already, and I don't intend to spend the time I have left worrying about what idiots think. I can work around them.

          • by idontgno (624372)

            If the idiots think you're guilty, you'll spend the truncated portion of what was the 1/3 remaining of your life in incarceration. How're you going to work around that?

            I'd personally hate to be a first-time loser after midlife. Prison life is a game for the young.

            • by hey! (33014)

              Different hypothetical. The one where the surveillance turned up something.

          • by jklovanc (1603149)

            Maybe you need to take a broader view of the world. Just because it is not a problem for you does not mean it is not a problem for many other people. Try to put yourself in the position of someone where it does matter.

            • by hey! (33014)

              Well, as I said, not everyone's in my place.

              But I really don't see any other solution to this other than to treat the idea that you must be guilty of something because the cops investigated you as contemptibly stupid. What's the alternative, to take that idea seriously? After all, hiding the fact that you, personally, happened to get swept up into some investigation is only going to *confirm* the suspicions of people who automatically think "where there's smoke, there's fire."

              The best option is not to a

              • by dryeo (100693)

                The problem is that there are laws that you have broken, there are so many. The other day I was in the forest in the middle of no-where and I peed. That is enough of a crime to really ruin my life, years in prison as a sex offender then put on a list that limits freedoms extremely plus having it publicized so that the lynch mob knows where to go to lynch the child molester. Only child molesters get put on the list you know and even if you get off, it's probably due to an activist judge or slick lawyer.
                As lo

                • by hey! (33014)

                  The problem is that there are laws that you have broken, there are so many.

                  True.

                  The other day I was in the forest in the middle of no-where and I peed. That is enough of a crime to really ruin my life, years in prison as a sex offender then put on a list that limits freedoms

                  Not so true.

                  Anyplace *I've* lived nobody gets prosecuted for peeing in the woods. In some states public urination is classed as misdemeanor disorderly conduct or even public lewdness, but only "under circumstances which the person should know will likely cause affront or alarm".

                  This is exactly what I'm talking about. It's paranoia over what the stupid people will do if they find out. If you're in the middle of a forest with a full bladder, find a tree and after a few furtive glances around, go ahead

                  • by dryeo (100693)

                    You're basically right but assuming a prosecution out to get you and lack of a good lawyer you might feel that the plea bargain is the safer course.

    • So.... basically, what you're saying here is that since there are people out there who are stupid and fall prey to propagandist bullshit that boils down to "accused == guilty," we should go ahead and sacrifice our civil liberties?

      That's crazy talk.

      • by jklovanc (1603149)

        CanHasDIY is under investigation for child pornography. It does not matter if all allegations prove false your handle is still associated with child pornography. It comes down to harm. Which would cause more harm secrecy or false association? I just pointed out both issues. I don't have the answers.

  • by swb (14022) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @04:47PM (#47159557)

    The police everywhere seem to be given to a general trend of militarization. Assault rifles, military-style clothing and accessories, armored vehicles, intelligence gathering operations, air power (helicopters, drones, etc).

    They no longer resemble the "beat cop" who managed to keep order with a whistle and a truncheon in a uniform with shiny brass buttons. They resemble a military assault force.

    • The police everywhere are given those assault rifles, military grade body armor, etc. just for the price of a stamp [latimes.com], so it's hardly surprising. This is where (some) of the boatload of money the DHS is spending goes.
  • A little story... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SternisheFan (2529412) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @05:03PM (#47159711)
    About a month ago, while driving a medical taxi, I was sent to an address. No one responded except a very lethargic acting woman, so I left. About a mile or so away an unmarked police car pulls me over and two plainclothes officers walk up on either side. I ask, "What'd I do?", the cop hesitates, then says, "Erratic driving". At this I frown at the officer, show him my license, then he asks me what I was doing at that house, reciting the exact address. I look at him and say, "It's a drug house, right?", he realizes I'm driving a medical taxi and then I'm free to go.

    The point is my they knew exactly where I stopped at, and located me quite easily to pull me over (my 3g was off at the time). These are the times we live in nowadays...k

    • by PRMan (959735)
      Yeah, but this is most likely a car with a radio parked down the street in a bust. You just got caught up in it.
      • Mmm, maybe. Not that I was looking out for anything at the time, I am aware of my surroundings, it was a very quiet street, there weren't other vehicles around me. It's possible I missed a secreted vehicle. Since this is a site for tech 'nerds' (I'm a wannabe nerd'), is it possible they had locked onto my phone's signal to monitor the comings and goings of phones at that location? That would be easier.
        • It seems to me with the cheapness of wireless cameras and how much a guy in a "plumbing" van sticks out like a sore thumb when the van is mysteriously parked that cops would stick out less in a bust by using things like hidden video cameras.

          Not necessarily nefarious and orwellian.

          However, I can see how in the current climate it's hard to know when you're actually being overly paranoid.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      You face decades of databases:
      From the classic Wanted persons NCIC, all criminal records via Interstate Identification Index: III "triple-eye" (a conviction in any state at any time), Brady Law, Treasury Enforcement Computer System (TECS), Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), New Hire registry...
      From plate readers, facial recognition on the driver and passenger sides, your local fusion center...
      Got a cell phone on you?
  • Police regularly request and usually receive camera footage from businesses, particularly footage of streets and sidewalks but sometimes internal footage as well. I worked in the 'security' industry for a while, this has been my direct experience, not hearsay :) I saw dozens of requests over a couple years from 10 storefronts and only once did I see a warrant and I never saw a request refused. The main impediment to police's unfettered access to camera systems is the diversity of bad systems out there. I
    • A private camera's owner is allowed to share any footage they have recorded.

      The request may be unsettling (it would be for me), ask about it first if you want. Then decide, unless there's a warrant.

      Unless it is you they are after or if the footage requested puts one in a compromising position. What you do at that point is your decision (LWYR UP, per Saul Goodman).

  • Generalized surveillance such as hidden cams watching any car or foot traffic on a block is probably very common. Areas around schools are a great example as public interest wants kids to be able to walk home without being swept up and molested. Volunteer addresses may be a common practice such that bad guys can never operate with impunity.
  • I am amazed when I see ppl screaming that we should dissolve the NSA. Yet, they do not realize that all of the techniques and tech would simply transfer to FBI, local police, etc. This is the kind of stuff that Americans should fear. Yet, we have idiots running around screaming about everything else, and most of the leaders on that, are the same ones that caused it.

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