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Articles by Anthony Accurso

From Detroit: How Not to Use Facial Recognition in Policing

In January 2020, Robert Julian-Borchak Williams was working at an automotive supply company when he received what he thought was a prank phone call directing him to turn himself into the Detroit P.D. When he arrived home from work, he quickly learned it was not a prank, as he was handcuffed before his wife and two daughters.

He was booked Thursday afternoon, which included a mugshot, fingerprinting, and DNA sampling.

Around noon the next day, during his interrogation, he was shown a blurry photo from a security camera taken at a Shinola store where five timepieces worth $3,800 total were shoplifted in October 2018.

“Is this you?” asked one detective.

The second photo, a close-up of the first, also was on the table. Williams held it up to his face to contrast how much it definitely did not look like him.

“No, this is not me,” said Williams. “You think all Black men look alike?”

Williams turned over another paper on the table, which revealed a photo of the suspect ...

Minnesota Cops Use Contact Tracing to Track Protestor Networks

According to Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington, officials in the state have been using contact-tracing to map protestor affiliations and movements. This has led officials to conclude that much of the protest activity is being fueled by people from the “outside coming in.” Harrington was circumspect about which apps or processes commonly used for contact-tracing are now being used against protestors, though a Twitter feed titled “Minnesota Contact Tracing,” which has been leaking police activities, did specify that officials are contact-tracing arrestees.

This is just the latest tool of big tech to be deployed against law-abiding citizens. Minneapolis Police and the Minnesota Fusion Center have also been employing other well-known tech to track citizens. Briefcam, Ring doorbell cameras, Axon police bodycams, ShotSpotter, and license plate readers collect hundreds of thousands of hours of video footage that is analyzed by software such as Clearview AI to identify individuals through facial recognition algorithms.

CCTV footage is also now being fed through Arxys Milestone software, which uses “video motion detection” and “video analytics” to ...

New ‘Barcode’ System Puts DNA Sample to the Authenticity Test

Engineers from Duke University and NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering have demonstrated a method of adding a sample of artificially created genetic material to evidence, which will allow lab workers to match the samples processed in the lab. “If you think about conventional encryption techniques, like security for a smartphone, there’s usually a passcode that only one person knows, “said Mohamed Ibrahim, a system-on-chip designer at Intel Corp. and a Ph.D. graduate of Duke. “Our idea is to inject non-harmful material into genetic samples immediately when they are collected in the field that act as a similar password. This would ensure that the samples are authentic when they reach the processing stage.”

Most genetic identification is done using polymerase chain reaction (“PCR”), a technique for sequencing a few short sections of human DNA, which can be used to accurately identify the person who left biological material at the scene of a crime. The FBI has identified 13 sites on the human genome which, ...

Firms Selling Breached and Hacked Data To Law Enforcement

by Anthony W. Accurso

SpyCloud, a company that collects private information on people, mostly info exposed through data breaches, sells access to its databases to anyone willing to pay for it, including law enforcement. While it currently operates in an area of law mostly untouched by precedent, people should be ...

Triaging Evidence Can Lead to Oversights and Misinterpretation

by Anthony Accurso

A study from the UK found that triaging digital evidence can lead to oversights and misinterpretation when the process is not designed or implemented in a way that guards against such failures.

The data, published in the journal Policing and using data collected between January 2017 and ...

California Supreme Court: ‘Honest and Upright Life’ Possible While in Custody for Expungement Purposes

Misael Vences Maya was convicted of ...

Extending the Surveillance State During the Pandemic

In New York ...

Guard Your Digital Privacy to Keep Your Real Self Safe

Minn. Supreme Court Announces Rule for Analyzing Out-of-State Convictions for Public Safety Registry Requirement Purposes

Minnesota Supreme Court: Non-Identifying Information About CI Must Be Disclosed Upon Request

The Supreme Court of the State of Minnesota affirmed a decision by the Court of Appeals, which held the district court erred in denying a defendant’s request for non-identifying information about a confidential informant (“CI”).

In February 2017, law enforcement filed an affidavit requesting a search warrant ...



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