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DoJ Budget Request Details Advanced Surveillance, Biometrics 39

An anonymous reader writes with a report about programs revealed in the Department of Justice's 2010 budget request, which includes $233.9 million in funding for an "Advanced Electronic Surveillance" project, and $97.6 million to establish the Biometric Technology Center. The surveillance project is designed to help the FBI "deal with changing technology and ways to intercept phone calls such as those used by VOIP phones or technology such as Skype. The program is also conducting research on ways to conduct automated analysis to look for links between subjects of surveillance and other investigative suspects." The Center for Democracy and Technology's Jim Dempsey warns, "It is appropriate for the FBI to develop more and more powerful interception tools, but the privacy laws that are supposed to guide and limit the use of those tools have not kept pace." The biometrics plan lays groundwork for a "vast database of personal data including fingerprints, iris scans and DNA which the FBI calls the Next Generation Identification," a system we have discussed in the past.
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DoJ Budget Request Details Advanced Surveillance, Biometrics

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  • Re:Next up ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Wrath0fb0b ( 302444 ) on Sunday May 10, 2009 @12:24PM (#27897399)

    So far there is no gadget that can actually see inside our houses, but even that's about to change.

    First, IR cameras have existed for decades. They can see inside very well.

    Second, in the US, police need a warrant to use it -- that is, the evidence they need to use anything that sees "inside" your house is no less that what they need to kick the door down and look inside themselves. Since the US Courts are very strict on the "fruit of the forbidden tree" doctrine, anything the police learn subsequent to such a search is going to be very hard to admit in court.

    See [] and read the opinion for the difference between "through the wall" and "off the wall". Also of note, the two most "conservative" Justices (Scalia and Thomas) were in the majority along with three more "liberal" members. The 4 dissenters were all moderates on the Court.

    Finally, an OT note, I'm consistently surprised that various countries that are considerably more liberal with respect to criminal law nevertheless allow the introduction of evidence that was obtained in violation of the law. In the US, the police have a bit more latitude, for sure, but any evidence they gather in violation of the law is absolutely inadmissible. By contrast, in Canada, the police have much less latitude but the courts have discretion on whether to admit evidence gathered in violation.

  • Re:Next up ... (Score:3, Informative)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Sunday May 10, 2009 @01:02PM (#27897649) Homepage Journal

    In the US, the police have a bit more latitude, for sure, but any evidence they gather in violation of the law is absolutely inadmissible.

    Not anymore. []

  • Re:Next up ... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Binty ( 1411197 ) on Sunday May 10, 2009 @01:36PM (#27897965)

    Whoa man, that certainly illustrates your point (that IR doesn't see through walls), but that video is fairly shocking.

    To anybody with fragile sensibilities, the video shows a police car chase which turns into a foot chase, which ends when the suspect shoots himself in the head.

Today is a good day for information-gathering. Read someone else's mail file.