US Cop Creates Gadget to Snoop out Stolen Gadgets

When we hear the phrase “US cop”, most of us probably think of a big guy hanging out in his police cruiser while stuffing his face with donuts and reading a boulevard magazine; we can thank Hollywood for that image. It is probably true that there are some of those too, but there are also some really bright people in the force.

An Iowa City police officer named David Schwindt has now invented a little USB gadget that can detect stolen gadgets by their Wi-Fi signals MAC address. The whole thing is rather simple and that is probably the beauty here. By using basic methods of publicly available data and comparing it with a database of stolen items, he’s able to not only detect that they are in range, but also in what direction they are located.

Officer Schwindt rigged a USB thumb drive with an antenna and cooked up his own software for it. Once connected to his squad car’s laptop, it is able to sniff out media access control addresses (MAC) within range and compare them to a database of stolen items.

MAC addresses are often called a burned-in address (BIA), an ethernet hardware address (EHA), or simply a “physical” address, because they are literally assigned (by the IEEE) and stamped into your network card by the company that manufactured your hardware.

Now, we all know that MAC addresses can be spoofed and often are for legitimate purposes as well as illegal. However, most people don’t think of that on their mobile gadgets as much as they do on PCs, and the L8NT gadget, as the author dubbed it, will most likely be highly effective.

The device has a range of 300 feet and a directional antenna can be attached to pinpoint specific devices located. The tool won’t be used to find the occasional stolen iPod or laptop and it won’t give the police access to personal or private information such as many other surveillance tools. It is more designed to find devices from larger series of break-ins and more bring down organized criminals that work in this field.

There will no doubt be cases where the officer’s L8NT system won’t work, but David Schwindt still has big plans for his device. It was developed as a proof of concept and he already got a provisional patent on the device and he is planning to apply for a full patent shortly.

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Visceral Games Reveals Battlefield Hardline’s Single Player Story

The Battlefield Hardline title has been confirmed some time ago, having developer Visceral Games working on the title and aiming to bring a new feel to the Battlefield series. The developer expects to do this by taking the battle towards a more urban environment, namely adding a ‘cops vs robbers’ theme instead of a traditional military faction-based scenario.

What we did not know up until now is what the story is about. We know that there will be a lot of shooting involved, robbers with masks and police officers arriving in cars, leading to a lot of shooting and explosions (as seen in previous Battlefield titles too). However, Visceral Games has apparently revealed the actual goal and story of the title at its San Diego Comic-Con panel.

The developer stated that the Battlefield Hardline title will be based on the story of a police officer by the name of ’Nick’, who gets framed after a drug bust goes wrong. Nick is then said to go deep undercover in order to clear his name, having players experience both sides of the story. Ian Milham, the title’s creative director, describes it as “desert, Breaking Bad meth country”.

In terms of storyline support, Visceral Games is said to have Eugene Byrd and Kelly Hu feature in major roles, while The Shild’s Mark Rolston and Sons of Anarchy’s star, Benito Martinez will also have some important roles in the title. Also, Wendy Calhoun, Nashville and Justified’s writer and producer, is said to be helping the developer as a narrative consultant.

These are quite some big names for a game title, but since Milham pointed out that the game has been pushed back to ‘early 2015’, we should expect a great single player gameplay experience. However, as it is a Battlefield title, the multiplayer experience will also bring its own ‘charm’.

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10 Protesters Arrested at Google Headquarters

It appears that Google had some ‘disturbance in the force’ at its headquarters in Mountain View in California last Tuesday, where authorities arrested 10 people demonstrating their belief in internet freedom.

However, reports point to the protesters moving on to the Google I/O Developer Conference in Moscone Center, San Francisco on Wednesday morning. The protesters apparently are part of the #OccupyGoogle movement, having a website and Twitter account. They are said to have appeared on Tuesday outside Google’s headquarters armed with tents and signs in order to protest.

The signs had messages regarding net neutrality and how Google is apparently suppressing it. They say that the group wants to “create and maintain…an Internet that acts as a free speech zone.”

The protest was calm and peaceful during the day, having everyone at Google carrying out their usual routine and seemed not to care too much about what was going on in front of their working place. However, the same cannot be said during the night, having Google calling authorities in order to break up the protest.

Authorities were not called due to violet behaviour, having arrived and assisted quite relaxed judging by the pictures. The call must have been made due to the fact that Google might have had enough ‘excitement’ for one day.

It is said that at some point, a police officer asked the protesters to leave, warning them that they will be arrested for trespassing. But as nobody listened, the officers apparently took 10 of the protesters into custody. Up to this point, Google have not officially responded to comments about the protest and arrest.

Thank you Mashable for providing us with this information
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“Smart Car” May Be The Future For Police Cruisers

The New York Police Department is testing a prototype “smart car” from a program called NYPD2020 that can do a lot more than helping officers patrol in a comfy manner. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal (via Tech Spot), the high-tech cruiser can record license plate numbers and addresses through infrared monitors mounted on its trunk, and has air sensors and surveillance cameras capable of sending real-time information to police headquarters.

The data scanned through infrared monitors will be checked against a crime database that contains records of vehicles that are stolen, involved in crime, or the ones that have outstanding infractions. At present, the data collected is stored for an indefinite period, “though that will likely change”, according to Deputy Inspector Brandon del Pozo, who is in charge of the program.

The prototype car is also capable of printing reports and scanning barcodes, The Verge reported. According to del Pozo, the future cruisers might include facial recognition sensors and fingerprint scanners, though he did not explain how these technologies would be used. Although some of these technologies are already present in some squad cars, the idea behind the prototype is to test all of them in conjunction.

The smart car is one of the dozen projects included in the program, which was prepared in November for Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. Though the department has been testing the prototype for about a year now from the city’s 84th Precinct in Brooklyn Heights, it’s up to incoming police commissioner William Bratton, who will take charge on Jan 1, 2014, how the program moves forward.

Thank you Tech Spot for providing us with this information
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