New York State Introduce The Textalyzer

Most of us know of the breathalyzer, the device that all police officers carry in their cars to check if you’re over the alcoholic tolerance levels whilst driving. The simple device has been in use for decades and helped police officers across the globe arrest drivers that are breaking the law by drinking. Now there seems to be a so-called “textalyzer” device appearing.

The new device will help authorities determine whether someone involved in a road traffic accident was using a mobile device unlawfully, causing them to be distracted whilst driving. The technology is made by a company called Cellbrite, the Israeli firm that was rumored to have assisted the FBI with cracking the iPhone.

Drivers involved in accidents would have to submit their phone to roadside testing from a textalyzer device. The device would then determine if the driver was using a mobile device ahead of a crash. In a bid to get around the Fourth Amendment right to privacy, the textalyzer would not  conversations, contacts, numbers, photos, and application data private. It will solely say whether the phone was in use prior to a motor vehicle mishap. Further analysis, which might require a warrant, could be necessary to determine whether such usage was via hands-free dashboard technology and to confirm the original finding.

Malware May be Using Real GPS Data to Scam Speeders

There is a new malware scam hitting computers in Pennsylvania posing as an email containing a speeding ticket and containing a link that loads malicious software onto the user’s computer. The emails claim to be from the police department of Tredyffrin, Pennsylvania, and masquerading as an official body is nothing special for malware. What is interesting is that the data used in the tickets is said to be accurate, including the street names, their speed limits and the actual speed that the perpetrator drove at, according to the Tredyffrin Police Department.

Exactly where the data is coming from is unknown, but the current suspect is that the source is a phone app with access to the user’s GPS data and perhaps other personal information that provided the attackers with contact details. This source could be from either a legitimate app that has been compromised and hands over data to the attackers or a purpose-built malicious app that has been uploaded to the internet. It is common knowledge that GPS data can be used to determine speed as well as location, which would make GPS-using apps a good method for obtaining the data.

Thankfully for many, this malware scam seems to be highly localized to the Tredyffrin area, but it gives a good view of a new type of attack emerging. Possessing data that normally only legitimate sources would have makes a great way to deceive people into believing that they are the sources they claim to be. Despite this, this scam chooses not to offer a payment link for the fictional speeding ticking, in lieu of downloading malware, but other parties may make use of this method to different ends on a much larger scale in future.

US Police Group: iPhone “Device of Choice” for Criminals

Three US police groups have filed a brief in court that Apple’s iPhone has become the “device of choice” for criminals, due to its strong encryption, and are aware of “numerous instances” in which suspects have switched from traditional “burner” phones to iPhones – though failed to provide any evidence of this claim – according to Vice News.

The brief does, though, cite the anecdotal tale of a New York jail inmate calling Apple’s smartphone “a gift from God” during a phonecall in 2015.

The filing, made by the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association and two other groups, is part of the ongoing case regarding the FBI’s attempts to force Apple to decrypt the iPhone of a suspect in the San Bernardino shootings last year. So far, Apple CEO Tim Cook has refused to allow US law enforcement to bypass encryption on the iOS operating system. Cook has told the court that he will continue to resist the FBI’s court order, saying that it “has implications far beyond the legal case at hand.”

“Opposing this order is not something we take lightly. We feel we must speak up in the face of what we see as an overreach by the US government,” Cook said. “We are challenging the FBI’s demands with the deepest respect for American democracy and a love of our country. We believe it would be in the best interest of everyone to step back and consider the implications.”

While the case continues, France has this week voted in a law designed to punish owners of security software for refusal to allow law enforcement to bypass encryption, Russia Today reports.

Researcher Finds New Way to Hijack Drones Mid-Flight

It is often easy to forget that while the majority of drones making the news are operated by hobbyists and amateurs, the US government is rolling out a number of more expensive UAVs for use by first responders and the police. Now, security researcher at IBM, Nils Rodday has potentially thrown a spanner in the works of this, by demonstrating that at least one model of these government standard drones has security vulnerabilities that allow it to be hacked from as far away as a mile, allowing an attacker to seize control of the craft for their own ends or simply cause it to drop from the sky.

The full extent of the vulnerability will be demonstrated by Rodday at the RSA conference this week where he will show how a $30,000 to $35,000 drone can be taken over or knocked out of the sky by a security flaw in its radio connection using just a laptop and a cheap radio chip connected via USB. Due to the fact that the connection between the operator and the drone are left unencrypted to allow commands to be processed more quickly, an attacker who can send the correct sequence of signals to the drone’s telemetry box can impersonate the true operator, locking them out of control of the drone. “You can inject packets and alter waypoints, change data on the flight computer, set a different coming home position,” Rodday says. “Everything the original operator can do, you can do as well.”

With the ongoing fear of irresponsible drone use by hobbyists, it is even more concerning that the expensive drones operated by official bodies are so vulnerable to attack. Should an attacker wish to cause serious harm, it would appear it could be done using a hacked police drone with surprising ease. “If you think as an attacker, someone could do this only for fun, or also to cause harm or to make a mess out of a daily surveillance procedure,” says Rodday.

Another Near Miss as Drone Flies Close to Jet at Heathrow

Drones are a wonderful piece of technology and the more we advance them the more we can do. I mean, they have created a drone that works both in the air and even underwater. How can we not find uses for drones that can be deployed at sea, both above and below the sea line? The problem being is that a select few are ruining the experience for everybody, with drones being used and damaging everything from the Empire State building to cutting out power for residents in LA.  The most recent in a long stream of incidents is a near encounter when a drone flew within 30 feet of a jet that was landing at Heathrow.

The Airbus A319 was landing at Heathrow Airport in September while it was on approach to land. The pilot reported that it went so close as 25 yards left of the cockpit and only 20 feet above. The incident was reported to the police and classed as a meeting risk category A, the highest risk that two objects meet short of actually colliding. The worrying part is that the drone was flying at 500 feet, while the legal limit for drones in the UK is 400 feet, with anything beyond that being considered controlled airspace.

This isn’t the first time that a drone has almost collided with an airplane, and given the risk to both the crew and passengers of the craft and those on the ground, drone pilots performing these kind of stunts, putting others at risk, are the reason that the FAA has pushed for drone registration in the USA.

Hoverboard Company Backs Down After Rivals Raided At CES 2016

Trends come and go, from the latest phone to the newest console people often buy and then upgrade their technology a few months later. A few years ago the world was caught in a segway craze, with users riding around work and towns to doing rallies through woodland on the machines, but these were shortly replaced by their handleless “hoverboard” siblings. Sadly as with all crazes and trends, everyone wants a piece of the action. The hoverboard boom has led to more than a few recalls due to dangerous products, and even injuries. With cheap models being created all over the world, a US company decided to fight to protect their product at CES this year, a fight which the Chinese company has now backed out from.

Earlier this year at CES companies was showing off all kinds of technology, but Future Motion had their eye drawn only to one stall. Changzhou First International Trade Co had a stall set up demonstrating their version of Future Motions “hoverboard”. The design features a single wheel located in the middle of the device, as shown in the image above. Future Motion went to court and against no opposition asked the judge to issue a restraining order on the products sales. The hearing lasted a grand total of 7 minutes and at the end, the temporary restraining order was issued resulting in a raid on the booth at CES.

Future Motion has now dropped the case, which was set to be heard on the 19th February. Changzhou isn’t too happy though and is looking to recover the legal fees it’s had to pay to its lawyers. Their lawyer has released a statement saying that the “sole purpose of FM [Future Motion]’s TRO was to deprive its chief competitor Changzhou of its lawful right to display Changzhou’s Trotter product at the Consumer Electronics show (CES)”.

This definitely looks bad for Future Motion, who seem to have dropped the case in the hopes of it all fading away, with their actions seeming to back Changzhou’s evaluation that it was nothing more than a move to block competition.

18TB of Hacked Data from Largest US Police Union Leaked

A massive cache of private files belonging to the largest police union in America was leaked online following a breach of its website. The Fraternal Order of Police, which represents around 330,000 US police officers, admitted on Friday that its servers had been hacked after around 18TB-worth of data from the organisation was distributed online.

According to The Guardian, the leaked files contain names and addresses of members, controversial city authority contracts, and private forum posts critical of President Barack Obama.

When the hack was traced back to a UK IP address, a British citizen, operating under the pseudonym Cthulhu, admitted responsibility for leaking the data in a post on his website.

“Today I released some files from the Fraternal Order of Police,” Cthulhu wrote, “allegedly the largest union-type body in the US representing sworn-in police officers. Since then, many groups have shared it over social media and other means, for which I thank all who have donated their bandwidth to seed the files over the torrent.”

While Cthulhu refused to reveal how he obtained the data he subsequently leaked, he clarifies that he did not commit the breach himself, saying, “I will not speak on behalf of the source, who has asked to remain anonymous. As this is the wishes of the source, I cannot provide “exclusive” information or a behind the scenes to anyone, no matter how respected you are in the industry or the promises made.”

“My word is my bond, and so I owe the source a degree of protection from the media, as was his/her wishes. If the source wishes to discuss his/her identity, they shall come forth in their own time,” he added.

The FOP has used the attack as evidence of a pervasive “anti-police” sentiment, but Alex Vitale, Associate Professor of Sociology at Brooklyn College, argues that it provides a level of transparency into police operations that the public should be entitled to.

““No one really knows what is going on inside police unions,” Vitale told The Guardian. “The most troubling thing is that they have been able to work out disciplinary procedures that shield them from oversight, as in what steps that the employer has to go to discipline or terminate someone.”

Is Debian Founder’s Death Linked to Allegations of Police Brutality?

The tragic and mysterious death of Debian founder Ian Murdock was revealed by Docker on 30th December. The day before his death, Murdock posted a series of disturbing tweets in which he threatened to kill himself, later revealing that he was falsely arrested (for “[Knocking] on [his] nieghbor’s door,” as he puts it) and assaulted by police. He died hours later, and his Twitter account was deleted.

During Murdock’s last hours on Twitter on 29th December, preserved by Archive.is, he tweeted:

“i’m committing suicide tonight.. do not intervene as i have many stories to tell and do not want them to die with me #debian #runnerkristy67

“My career is over now, so I’ll be gone soon.”

He went on to allude to an altercation with police, during which they assaulted and threatened him:

“they beat the s*** out of me twice, then charged me $25,000 to get out of jail for battery against THEM”

“i had to go to the hospital”

“they followed me home”

“then they pulled me out of my house and did it again”

“”We’re the police, we can do whatever the f*** we want..””

“Maybe my suicide at this, you now, a successful business man, not a N*****, will finally bring some attention to this very serious issue.”

Murdock the expressed a U-turn on his intention to kill himself that night, instead pledging to dedicate the rest of his life to exposing police brutality:

“I’m not committing suicide today. I’ll write this all up first, so the police brutality ENDEMIC in this so call free country will be known.”

“(1/2) The rest of my life will be devoted to fighting against police abuse.. I’m white, I made $1.4 million last year,”

“(2/2) They are uneducated, bitter, and and only interested in power for its own sake. Contact me imurdock@imurdock.com if you can help. –ian”

Yesterday, Wikileaks confirmed Murdock’s arrest by the San Francisco County Sheriff’s Office on 27th December with a picture of his bail release record:

Murdock promised in a series of tweets that a detailed account of the trauma he claimed to have suffered at the hands of police would be posted to his blog:

“I’ll write more on my blog later. But the police here beat me up for knowing on my neighbor’s door.. they sent me to the hospital.”

“Writing up my experience for others to hopefully prevent others from police abuse then you won’t hear from me again”

“i’m going to post my case on my blog.. if anyone can post it on hacker news or wherever i would apprieciate it”

Murdock died before any such entry was posted.

According to San Francisco police spokeswoman Officer Grace Gatpandan, Murdock was arrested for trying to break into his neighbour’s house, and that his injury that required hospital treatment was sustained when he hit his head in the back of the police car after a struggle with officers.

The cause of Murdock’s death has yet to be confirmed.

All tweets presented as written, except where censored.

Image courtesy of The Hacker News.

FAA Set Deadline For Drone Registration

For a while now the hot topic for technology being used by the public has been drones. Small devices capable of flight with everything from a camera to a gun attached to them. Recently a drone crashed into a power line in Hollywood, the end result being a power outage for several hours with no way to track the responsible party to a toddler losing an eye to a crashed drone, the concept of controlling this area of technology has been discussed by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) for a while. The FAA has now clarified what the registration will entail and revealed details about the penalties for flying without a permit.

“The Qube is flown in a demonstration (pictured above) in Simi Valley, California, October 19, 2011. The tiny drone with four whirling rotors swoops back and forth about 200 feet above the ground scouring the landscape and capturing crystal-clear video of what lies below. (Gary Friedman/Los Angeles Times/MCT)”

In order to register you will be required to pay a $5 fee, a fee that is being waived if you register in the first 30 days. You must register any drone that weighs between 0.55 and 50 pounds, by the deadline of February 19th, 2016.

The penalty for flying a drone without a license? Civil penalties could be a fine up to $27,500 while criminal penalties could include fees of up to $250,000 and up to three years in jail!

You can start the process now, but you won’t be able to fully register until December 21st. In order to register you must be 13 years old and upon completion will be issued a certificate that will include a unique ID that you must put on your drone.

Tokyo Police to Launch Anti-Drone Drone Squad

Many countries are beginning to come up with their own answer to drones being used dangerously or criminally. Now Japan has moved to restrict the usage of personal drones too, following an episode where a drone carrying a small amount of radioactive materials managed to land on the office of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s office in April. And while most nations have settled on simply placing legal restrictions on drones or requiring registration, Japan plans to do this and more, with the Tokyo Police Department planning to roll out a squad of anti-drone drones.

This week Japan amended its aviation act to include limitations on drones, with Paul Haswell, a partner at legal firm Pinsent Masons, telling the BBC, “In Japan, it is illegal to pilot drones over certain areas such as airports and power plants, over roads, or above a height of 150m.” Not only this, but some public places such as city parks also have restrictions in place that outlaw drone use in them, which is sure to annoy drone enthusiasts living in Japan’s crowded cities.

Police in Tokyo have demonstrated that their plan against nuisance drones in the city will be the deployment of their own drone craft, equipped with nets to catch the troublemaking drone. The strategy put in place will involve informing the operator via loudspeaker of their infraction, which if ignored will prompt the use of the police drones. And the Japanese police take drone incidents seriously since the April incident, believing that terrorist attacks using explosive carrying drones are a real threat and defending national functions is their top priority.

It is certainly interesting to see authorities taking to the sky with their own drones to deter potential menaces, but is it the best way? Only time will tell for the citizens of Tokyo.

Woman Arrested After Her Car Reported Her to Police

 

A woman was reported to police for an alleged hit-and-run by her own car. 57-year-old Cathy Bernstein of Port St. Lucie, Florida, crashed into the back of a of a minivan and fled the scene, only for her Ford Focus (same model as pictured above) to auto-dial 911 to report the accident, abc7 reports.

Police followed up the matter by calling Bernstein to enquire about the incident. Bernstein asserted, “Mam, there’s no problem. Everything was fine.”

The police dispatcher pressed her further, saying, “OK, but your car called in saying you’d been involved in an accident. It doesn’t do that for no reason. Did you leave the scene of an accident?”

Bernstein replied, “No, I would never do that.”

The victim, Anna Preston, was rushed to the same hospital as her alleged assailant following the accident. “I saw [Bernstein] in the hospital,” Preston said. “I just went by, and I’m assuming she had a worse night than I did.”

Following medical treatment, Bernstein was taken into custody by police.

From 2018, all motor vehicles in the European Union will be required to have on-board automatic safety features such as those responsible for shopping Bernstein to the police. The EU claims the technology could save up to 2,500 lives a year.

Image courtesy of Gaithersburg.

Belgians Aid Police With Cat Pictures

After the recent events in Paris, police in Belgium have been operating to find Salah Abdeslam, a suspect in the Paris attacks. The operations came to a height on Sunday when a search of Brussels was conducted amid requests from the police for people to not post information about their activities.

So how did the internet respond? By tweeting cat pictures! The hash tag #BrusselsLockdown became awash with images of kittens as people swamped out any reports of police activity amongst a sea of kittens.

The initial tweet reads as follows:

This (roughly) translates as:

For safety, please observe the radio silence on social media regarding ongoing police operating in Brussels. Thank you

The public’s response was simply amazing with the following tweets showing that not only do they care, they will do anything to help hinder those who weren’t willing to listen.

 

 

The police even posted this message in response to the overwhelming public support for their actions:

This translates to:

For cats who helped us last night, help yourself!

With both the public and the police using social media to not only help one another but also to help calm and entertain others in a time like this it goes to show that the internet does have a good side.

Thank you to the BBC for bringing these amazingly heroic cats to light.

Police Body Cameras Pre-Installed With Worm

Police are just one of many organisations that are using technology to help their everyday activities. One of these pieces of technology is body cameras, small devices which can record a policemen’s actions, allowing them to operate and display both their and others actions in court at a later date. With many police forces making these required pieces of technology and disciplining officers who turn them off it is a serious issue when these devices are exploited or misused. So what happens when they are installed with viruses?

Martel Body Cameras are supplied with GPS and are sold and marketed for use by official police departments. It would seem though that users who plug in these devices get more than they bargained for when iPower Technologies began testing the devices.

iPower Technologies are a network integrator looking at creating a cloud-based system for storing police and government videos, so during the course of their testing of products they quickly discovered something shocking. The Martel body camera came pre-installed with Win32/Conflicker.B!inf virus, a worm.

The worm in question, once unleashed, automatically spreads across the network and the internet attempting to spread it to other systems, a serious impact if the systems are meant to be secure, as government agencies expect of theirs. iPower have since contacted Martel but are yet to receive an official acknowledgement of the problem, as such they have released the information regarding this matter in a blog post. They state that the reason they have released the information is due to the severity of the security implications that these devices pose with their presence within government and police forces around the US.

Below you can find the video iPower posted showing that their anti-virus does in fact pick up and contain this worm.

Arrested And Robbed All In One Night – All Streamed On Twitch

Live streaming is a big thing these days, with anybody being able to put on a camera, share their screen and show the world everything from their video games to board game parties. Sadly the opportunity to watch others from anywhere in the world has led to some rather nasty situations, one of these is the action known as ‘Swatting’. Swatting involves someone watching a live stream, and through various technological means, finding out the address of the streamer. With the address, they ring the police and often fabricate a situation where someone’s life is in danger and so the police act on the information they have and dispatch SWAT (special weapons and tactics) to the scene to help solve the situation. Normally they are still live streaming when the police burst through their doors, causing distress to everyone bar the caller.

Recently though this was not the case as during a live stream by Mr_13ig who was asked by a policeman to keep the volume down and for his details. After refusing to provide his details, he noticed one of his neighbours walk past and informed the officer that he was feeling harassed because his neighbour was taking photos of him. As the video continues the policemen arrests him for the noise complaint and his behaviour, only to then have two minutes later another crime happen in the apartment.

The neighbour who had walked past earlier, while being filmed by the live stream not only entered the apartment and took several items from the room, but then returned to take even more stuff, all the while seemingly oblivious to the fact that he was being recorded all the time.

You can watch the video here, and you’ll be glad to know that the neighbour who stole from the apartment has been charged with burglary thanks to the viewers ringing and informing the police about the crime.

Image courtesy of Twitch.

US Federal Agent Admits To Stealing $820,000 Bitcoins From Silk Road

Shaun Bridges, a former US DEA agent who was investigating the online drug marketplace Silk Road, has been charged with obstructing justice and money laundering. He has since admitted the charges that were levelled against him.

So, how did Mr Bridges nick quite so many Bitcoins with a huge resale figure? According to the US Department of Justice (DoJ), Bridges was granted as part of the investigation to the rights to an administrator account on the notorious deep web black marketplace Silk Road. He misused his account by resetting the passwords and pocketing around 20,000 in Bitcoins from numerous wallets on the service, he then transferred the digital currency into his own wallet. Having quite a lot of Bitcoins in a virtual wallet is fun and all, but, Mr Bridges envisaged a big financial reward and subsequently sold off the stolen Bitcoins on the Mt Gox exchange between March to May 2013, which netted him a combined figure of $820,000 in cash.

When the net closes tightly around you, Shaun Bridges decided to admit all as part of a plea deal, he also admitted that during the investigation of Silk Road he had lied to investigators and also tried to obstruct them in their duties.

This is why government law enforcement is unable to take the moral high ground in cases like this. Yes, what Ross Ulbricht and co operated was illegal, but the actions of the former agent in question weren’t exactly saint like either. It’s difficult to convey the evils of this type of behaviour to would-be cyber criminals when the supposed “good side” have also been charged with theft.

A perfect summary of this case arrives courtesy of US Attorney Melinda Haag who Stated the following

“Mr. Bridges has now admitted that he brazenly stole $820,000 worth of digital currency while working as a U.S. Secret Service special agent, a move that completely violated the public’s trust. We depend on those in federal law enforcement having the highest integrity and unshakable honour, and Mr. Bridges has demonstrated that he utterly lacks those qualities.”   

A part of preventing crime is trust in those who defend the law-abiding, if trust is disappearing after scandal upon scandal, it’s difficult to regain it.

Thank you techworm for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of nextpowerup

North Dakota Police Will Utilize Weaponised Drones

Drones used to be a thing of the future, small robotic creatures that would fly around and swarm the skies. They would be included in Hollywood blockbusters such as Terminator and even the ones where they help us survive such as in Transformers. With devices that can seek and destroy from ground level to your forty story apartment, they were quickly developed and created for everyday tasks. Now with thanks to a lobbyist from Dakota the first drones with weaponry might soon see deployment.

With recent years, fears over drones carrying weapons are known to have caused a ruckus in many circles, with people like Steven Hawking requesting that drones avoid automation in order to reduce the threat from them. The Rick Becker’s bill would have seen that all drones in Dakota could not be equipped with weaponry, but an amendment by Bruce Burkett of the North Dakota Peace Officer’s Association, has banned the drones from carrying anything deemed a lethal weapon. This means that less lethal tactics such as pepper spray, tear gas, sound cannons and even Tasers could soon see deployment at the bottom of a drone.

The initial bill was created to force police to obtain a warrant before using a drone to collect evidence while also banning weaponising the free flying devices. With this sudden escalation, all eyes will be on the Dakota police and how they choose to deploy drones with anything other than a camera.

Thank you The Daily Beast for the information.

Image courtesy of Gary Friedman (Los Angeles Times).

UK Police Hijacks Ads on 251 Pirate Sites

City of London Police have seized ad revenue from 251 sites that host or link to copyrighted material and replaced and replaced ads with anti-piracy messages, a Freedom of Information request has revealed. For the last two years, the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) has been working in conjunction with the film and music industries to attack pirate websites under the name ‘Operation Creative’.  As part of the deal, Police have struck an agreement with online advertisers to replace ads on infringing sites with Police banners.

The Freedom of Information request was submitted by TorrentFreak. The City of London Police told the site, “This is an ongoing investigation and disclosure to the public domain would raise the profile of those sites unlawfully providing copyright material. This would enable individuals to visit the sites highlighted and unlawfully download copyright material and increase the scale of the loss.”

PIPCU released figures on the effectiveness of ‘Operation Creative’ a few weeks ago that showed ad revenue for targeted pirate sites had decreased by 73%.

“Working closely with rights holders and the advertising industry, PIPCU has been able to lead the way with tackling copyright infringing sites by successfully disrupting advertising revenue,” said PIPCU’s Detective Chief Inspector Peter Ratcliffe.

Thank you TorrentFreak for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Exeter Daily.

Man Arrested For Stealing Electricity On A Train

Anyone who’s been on a train recently for a long journey will understand that most modern trains come with some power outlets. I have travelled quite a bit in recent years on trains and can safely say these power outlets have given my laptop and my phone some much-needed charge in their final moments. An artist in London, however, found that this was not always welcome after being arrested for stealing electricity on a train.

The artist in question, Robin Lee, was travelling on a train in London when he spotted the power outlet and decided to charge his iPhone. When Robin left the train though he was met by a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO), for those who aren’t aware a Community Support Officer is a person who has been given some police abilities in order to bridge the gap between the public and the police. The PCSO stated that he had been “abstracting electricity” and according to Robin it was at this point that she called to four police officers who were on the platform and requested that he be arrested.

Robin was arrested after trying to push past the police and taken to the British Transport Police in Islington before being de-arrested for the “abstracting electricity” charge while being reported for the “unacceptable behaviour” of pushing past the police officers.

Transport for London has released a statement saying that there are signs near the plugs stating they are for cleaners use and they are not for use by the public.

I don’t know about you but next time I go on a train I will be reading all those signs a little more carefully. Do you think that it’s acceptable to be arrested for a little bit of electricity? Do you charge your devices on the trains?

Thank you Standard for the information and the image.

Tactical Camera Ball Lets Police Scope the Scene Before Entering

A Boston startup has developed a new device to help police and first responders assess a potentially dangerous area before having to enter. Bounce Imaging, founded by MIT alumni, has designed and built the tactical sphere –  branded the Explorer – which is a soft ball containing six digital cameras and LED lights that, when rolled into a room or other enclosed space, can be used to scope out the location for prospective threats. The technology could be especially useful in hostage situations, allowing law enforcement to locate gunmen prior to entering.

According to MIT News, “When activated, the camera snaps photos from all lenses, a few times every second. Software uploads these disparate images to a mobile device and stitches them together rapidly into full panoramic images.”

“It basically gives a quick assessment of a dangerous situation,” said, Francisco Aguilar, CEO of Bounce Imaging CEO. The first run of Explorers were tested by police, and their feedback informed the direction of future models. “You want to make sure you deliver well for your first customer, so they recommend you to others,” Aguilar added.

The Explorer also features within its thick rubber exterior built-in temperature and carbon monoxide sensors, and also acts as a Wi-Fi hotspot. Live footage from an Explorer can be viewed through a smartphone app.

Thank you Dimi Club and MIT News for providing us with this information.

UK Police Scanning Festival-Goers’ Faces

Attendees at this weekend’s Download Festival in Donington have been subject to a rather Orwelian process of facial scans and RFID tracking by UK police. Leicestershire Police implemented the advanced surveillance technologies to detect and identify known criminals.

The NeoFace facial recognition system has been used with the festival’s CCTV/IPTV network to compare the faces of music fans in Donington to a photographic database of recorded felons, while Download’s own wristbands contain RFID chips, provided by German firm YouChip. NeoFace, developed by NEC, works by “integrating face matching technology with video surveillance input, while checking individuals against known photographic watch lists, and producing real-time alerts,” with every face caught on camera being analysed and compared to known criminals.

Detective Constable Kevin Walker of Leicestershire Police revealed to the Police Oracle that “Strategically placed cameras will scan faces at the Download Festival site in Donington before comparing [them] with a database of custody images from across Europe,” while The Register discovered that the photo database being used is comprised of “lawfully held European custody photos” and is “a stand-alone database of legally held custody photographs drawn together with partners in Europol.”

Though The Register also discovered, via a freedom of information request, that “NeoFace has been intentionally limited in scope to ensure that it only uses images held on our custody database. It is a stand-alone system that does not link with other national databases such as the PNC,” its use at a public music festival is concerning; a sanctioned, intrusive invasion of privacy, conducted quietly, and with scant justification.

Thank you The Register for providing us with this information.

US Police Forced to Pay Bitcoin Ransom

It’s strange to think that the police force could become a victim of hackers. The strict network security implementation would make you think that they’re safe from any hacking scheme. Clearly not.

Maine police departments have recently encountered hackers within their network. The police officials were baffled by the hackers who managed to break into the system and as a result had to resort to paying the ransom in Bitcoin.

The Associated press have stated that the network at the County Sheriff’s office was infiltrated by a type of virus called ransomware. This meant that the hackers blocked the police from getting access to their data until they paid the ransom off.

It is normal practice for the county’s offices to be connected via an intranet facility. This procedure had been implemented to enhance connection between the four towns and their police departments; however, the hacking episode proved more of a cost to the police department. The hackers were able to enter the system and corrupt the data of all four towns”  Said technewstoday.

Turns out that the hackers only requested that £200 worth of Bitcoins were sent to them, seems a rather small fee but the Maine police force will have now learned that network security is something not to be breached. Once the hackers received the payment they sent the officials the key to access the data again.

When asked about the hack by Technewstoday; Damariscotta Police Chief, Ron Young said “”we needed our programs to get back online.” 

Usually, you would just revert to the latest backup of the servers used, however as luck had it the forces backup server hadn’t worked properly so the cops had no choice but to pay out the cash.

Thanks to TheRegister and technewstoday for this information

Image courtesy of anonhq

Guy Caught Watching Lord of the Rings While Driving at 60mph

A van driver is said to have been caught watching a DVD version of Lord of the Rings while speeding at 60 mph on the M25 near Cobham in Surrey, UK. The police stated they were shocked after stopping him and noticing that he was watching the movie on a portable DVD player placed on the dashboard.

The man, who is said to be from Guildford and in his 30s, now faces points on his driver’s license and a possible court appearance after being accuse of reckless driving. Surrey’s police officers also announced the incident by posting it on Twitter in a most amusing way. The inevitable funny comments followed afterwards.

Surrey police officers have also stated that the incident is very uncommon, even for their experienced motorway patrol officers.

“We stop many drivers for speeding, using mobile phones sometime both every day,” the force said on Twitter. “People watching TV not so often.”

The incident has been a shocker even for us and to top it all off, here is one of our own meme that best fits the scenario above:

Thank you The Telegraph for providing us with this information

Attack at NSA Headquarters: One Dead, Two Injured

This morning at the NSA’s Fort Meade headquarters an unidentified car attempted to ram the entrance gate. Shots were fired after the gate was rammed, authorities are saying that one individual is dead and there are two other that were airlifted to area trauma centers with serious injuries.

CNN is reporting that two men were involved in the attack, one being killed and the other wounded. Aerial photos show two vehicles damaged at the scene, a white NSA police car and an unidentified black SUV.  Footage at the scene also showed a uniformed officer that was being loaded into an ambulance. This is the second incident at the NSA Fort Meade headquarters in a month with a person firing bullets at the building from a distance, the suspect was taken into custody by the FBI.

Source: The Verge

UK Police Calls for ‘Adult Only’ Game Ratings

Violent media has long been a scapegoat for societal ills: from the 1960s through to the 1980s, conservative reactionary Mary Whitehouse waged a one-woman war on social liberalism – essentially, freedom of expression – with a Helen Lovejoy-esque rhetoric of, “Won’t somebody please think of the children!?”, through to the Video Nasty controversy during the Eighties, which saw films like I Spit on Your Grave and Driller Killer banned from home release in the UK for decades.

Even today, the victimisation of adult content continues unabated with the news that Northamptonshire Police in the UK are calling for “Adult Only” video game ratings, and stricter controls on their sale, following an investigation that suggests 42% of children under 5-years-old surveyed have seen violent images that have “affected them”.

Despite PEGI ratings already certifying an 18 rating, which have been legally enforceable since 2012, Police seem to be blaming game makers and retailers rather than parents for children getting their hands on games containing mature content, saying, “Gaming industry needs to play a more proactive role in helping parents protect their children from disturbing content, as new report shows primary school children as young as five deeply affected by graphic images.”

According to the Northants Police site, “The report found that 26% of children had accessed games that they knew they were underage for with over one in 10 children aged 11 saying they had downloaded Call of Duty.”

Northants Police’s solution is that “Video games that ask players to participate in extreme acts of violence such as massacring civilians and torturing people should be labelled ‘AO’ (Adult Only) to warn parents they are not suitable for children,” as though they don’t already know under the current system.

Police accuse game developers of creating controversy to sell games, with Adam Simmonds, Police & Crime Commissioner for Northamptonshire, saying, “Controversy creates cash. However, today’s report shows that children as young as five are being subject to graphic scenes while playing video games that have left them feeling extremely upset.  Many parents might not be fully aware that these games contain such disturbing scenes. It is time for the industry to play a more proactive role in protecting young minds.”

But the plan is utterly redundant since games are already tightly rated through the European PEGI system, it seems Northamptonshire Police is itself courting controversy in order to pass the buck.

Thankfully, the investigation does not go so far as to suggest that video game violence provokes real-world violence, so I don’t have to crack out my “playing chess results in regicide” joke.

Source: Northamptonshire Police

US Cop Fired For Racial Abuse on Xbox Live

A Deputy from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office has been fired after being caught on camera making racial threats over Xbox Live. Former Deputy Michael Slater abused a man known only as “David”, who was deliberately trolling Slater, while the two were facing off playing Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.

An argument between the two men escalated, to the point where Slater shouted, “You about to come to a f*****g paid police officer’s house. I get paid to beat up n*****s like you.” Slater then, to prove his credentials as a police officer, gave “David” his badge number. Smart.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=eKfIpK4b2JQ

A spokesperson for the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that it was Slater’s voice in the video and that his position has been “terminated immediately after the sheriff became aware of the video.”

Source: Kotaku

Seattle Police Launches YouTube Channel to Share Body Camera Footage

Police body cameras have been a big source of contention lately. With various police shootings in the US, and the subsequent protests, many have called to have body cameras introduced for officers. Well, Seattle Police have gone one step further.

The force has begun uploading footage recorded from the cameras to YouTube. Now you might wonder how they can do this with there being many members of the non-consenting public being filmed in these videos. Well, if you watch one of their videos below, you’ll see how. They essentially turn the videos into a hazy blur, using a filter to make individuals indistinguishable.

So, while you might be interested to experience life as a police officer in Seattle, be prepared to experience life as an officer with an eye condition.

Source: The Verge

Kinect to Teach Police “Use of Force” Options

A new piece of software for the Windows version of Microsoft’s motion-sensing Kinect peripheral could be used to teach cops how to deal with confrontational situations.

The system uses MILO Range, an “interactive use of force, tactical judgement training, and firearms training system”, using video footage to simulate hostile situations, to which officers can respond to verbally, with a baton, a pistol, or just some sweet fight moves (above).

The footage looks hilarious, in a Night Trap for the SEGA Mega-CD kind of way. I’m not sure that’s what they were going for.

Source: Kotaku