The FBI’s “Next Generation Identification” (NGI) 2013


FBI “Next Generation Identification” (NGI) 2012

Federal practices for spying on social media:  

600 law enforcement agencies use some form of social media:  

It’s policing in the 21st century: where community outreach comes on Twitter, surveillance tape footage is posted on YouTube and gangs are infiltrated on Facebook.

A nationwide survey conducted last year of 600 law enforcement agencies found that 92 percent use some form of social media. Of those plugged-in agencies, 90 percent use Facebook, 50 percent Twitter and 37 percent YouTube, according to the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s Center for Social Media findings.

Almost two-thirds say their accounts have improved community relations — the main goal of Upper Darby’s Twitter account. But even more say it has helped with the most integral part of their work: investigating crimes.

Very few police departments understand the depth of social media or have put together a comprehensive strategy on how to use it, says Lauri Stevens, founder of LAwS Communications, a consulting company that works with law enforcement agencies to create these strategies.

“That is understandable because these folks aren’t trained to do that — they’re trained to be cops,” she says.

It’s also a field that is constantly changing, so keeping up requires labor, time and money — resources that some agencies may not have, says Nancy Kolb, who oversees the International Association of Chiefs of Police Center for Social Media.

DHS uses social media to enhance information sharing and mission operations: 

The Privacy-Protective Surveillance paper: Achieving privacy and effective counter-terrorism

Privacy Protective Surveillance (PPS) has two primary objectives. 

First, the ability to scan the Web and related databases using a “blind-sight” procedure to detect digital evidence relating to potentially suspicious terrorist activity by some, without infringing on the privacy of other unrelated individuals.

Secondly, a technological infrastructure, based on artificial intelligence and strong cryptography, to ensure that any personally identifying information (PII) on unrelated individuals is not collected and, in those cases associated with targeted activity, PII will be encrypted upon collection, analyzed securely, and only divulged to the appropriate authorities with judicial authorization (a warrant). 

Not content with gutting the 4th. Amendment, the gov’t. continues Its attack on the 5th & 6th.

The government seems to be doing all it can to gut the Fourth Amendment these days. Between the NSA’s domestic data collections and the administration’s recently filed amicus brief arguing for warrantless searches of arrestees’ cell phone contents, our supposedly guaranteed rights are looking more and more like rarely granted privileges.

Perhaps due to their proximity both in number and scope, the government is also working hard to eliminate the protections afforded by the Fifth and Sixth Amendments as well. One of the more recent blows to these rights came from a court decision in Salinas v. Texas, in which the court ruled that simply remaining silent is not the same as invoking your right to remain silent, and as such, can be used (under specific circumstances) as evidence of guilt. Another earlier decision (Berghuis v. Thompson) also weighs on this, putting the onus of invocation on the arrestee. The Berghuis decision makes the invocation the key element, post-arrest. Simply refusing to talk to police officers when detained or arrested doesn’t protect you. The Miranda rights are available but you’ll have to be the person invoking them. Otherwise, your lack of cooperation becomes problematic. For you.  

The problem is that silence (as in, just shut up), is not an invocation of either the right to remain silent or the right to counsel. Silence is an invitation for the police to persist in the interrogation until, maybe, the silence ends. Unfortunately, most people can’t “just shut up.” Even if they can, it’s only for a brief period, after which the words of police interrogators cajoling them to help themselves, just clear a few things up so you can go home, whatever point in the Reid Technique they’re at, overcomes the three word warning and out comes the confession.

It’s not that just shut up isn’t good advice, but that it’s inadequate and takes your eye off the ball…

The invocation of these two crucial rights must be made clearly and unequivocally. That means that there can be no doubt, from the words that leave your mouth, that you are invoking your rights. This is how you do so:

I do not want to answer questions

 I want to speak with my lawyer.

Your rights, properly invoked, prevent the things you say from being used against you, but only if you a.) stop talking and b.) wait for your lawyer. And these rights need to be invoked loudly and clearly whenever another member of law enforcement enters the interrogation room, otherwise the newcomer can claim the arrestee never invoked his rights.

That handles part of the Fifth. For better or worse, the Miranda decision folds in the Sixth Amendment, which makes this recent decision a bit more problematic, even if the outcome is a small win for citizens’ rights. Because of Miranda’s blend, the Fifth and Sixth are intertwined, meaning that bad precedent can adversely affect two rights at one time while good precedent can be very limited in its application, especially in the hands of a determined prosecutor.

The courts have already found that simply not answering questions post-arrest can be used as evidence of guilt. But what happens when you ask for legal representation before the police have arrested or detained you?

Here’s an excellent summary of the situation from A Public Defender: 

 In US v. Okatan [PDF], the court was confronted with the case of Mr. Okatan who tried unsuccessfully to smuggle one Uysal – a German citizen – into the U.S. illegally. He failed: Uysal was turned away, although Okatan – a citizen – was allowed entry. The next day, Uysal was found at a border checkpoint and arrested and Okatan was spotted in a car in the vicinity and tailed to a rest area where an Officer Boucher pulled up behind his car, activated his lights and told him to remain inside the vehicle. Then:

Boucher walked over to Okatan’s car, identified himself as a border patrol agent and asked Okatan if he was a United States citizen. Okatan said that he was and handed over his passport. Boucher then asked why Okatan had passed the rest area on the east side of the highway and made a U-turn to enter the Beekmantown rest area. Okatan replied that he had to use the bathroom.

Boucher warned Okatan that lying to a federal officer is a criminal act and asked whether he was there to pick someone up. Okatan said that he wanted a lawyer. At that point, Boucher placed Okatan under arrest and transported him to the Champlain border patrol station.

When the case came to trial, Okatan’s lawyer moved to suppress statements made after the defendant requested a lawyer (which was still pre-arrest). The court granted this but the prosecution argued that Okatan’s request for a lawyer was itself an admission of guilt.

The key, according to the Second Circuit Court, was Okatan’s invocation of his rights. That it happened pre- or post-arrest didn’t matter nearly as much as the invocation did, thanks to the Salinasdecision. The court also declared the state really had no business dragging his pre-arrest invocation into its “case in chief.”

This melange of court decisions has resulted in the following situation, which every American should find disturbing whether or not they’ve ever committed a crime. 

Here we had a situation of a man, who by sheer dumb luck, managed to navigate the complex and moving obstacle course that the judiciary has set up en route to the invocation of Constitutional rights and yet the prosecution wanted to take that turn it to its advantage yet again.

When we live in a world where “I want a lawyer” is de facto evidence of guilt, we will live in a world where that lawyer wouldn’t even be able to help us.

Scott Greenfield arrives at the same conclusion. The common man has no chance, even with this favorable decision.

Clearly, this is a minefield for the person who wishes to rely on his right to remain silent and right to counsel. While the Second Circuit came out the right way here, it nonetheless ignores the level of sophistication demanded of a regular guy to recognize the myriad details necessary to effectively exercise his constitutional right not to be interrogated. While it’s facile to say “ignorance of the law is no excuse,” it’s reached the level of requiring a Juris Doctor to know and appreciate the rules imposed for the exercise of rights under the Fifth Amendment

What’s the best course of action for citizens who wish to invoke their rights without creating “evidence of guilt” when being questioned by the police? Greenfield again:  

So back to the bottom line of what to do when the cops ask questions nicely, the answer for now appears to be await a substantive question, the answer to which might create a risk of jeopardy, and then clearly say “I want to speak with my lawyer.” Sorry that this has become so prolix, but it’s better than getting it wrong.

While we all supposedly have a right to remain silent and the right to an attorney, the government (meaning law enforcement and prosecutors — both operatives of the state) have been poking and prodding at the amendments’ weak spots over the years, turning these “rights” into privileges that have to be asserted loudly, unwaveringly and timed correctly. What a joke.

Secret Fisa court contradicted US supreme court on constitutional rights: 

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) declassified an opinion in which it explained why the government’s collection of records of all Americans’ phone calls is constitutional, and that if there is a problem with the program, it is a matter of political judgment, not constitutional law. So, should Americans just keep calm and carry on phoning? Not really. 

Instead, we should worry about a court that, lacking a real adversarial process to inform it, failed while taking its best shot at explaining its position to the public to address the most basic, widely-known counter-argument to its position. The opinion does not even mention last year’s unanimous US Supreme Court decision on the fourth amendment and GPS tracking, a decision in which all three opinions include strong language that may render theNSA‘s phone records collection program unconstitutional. No court that had been briefed by both sides would have ignored the grave constitutional issues raised by the three opinions of Justices Scalia, Sotomayor, and Alito in United States v Jones. And no opinion that fails to consider these should calm anyone down.

The FISC opinion did not even mention Jones is as clear a sign as we have that without fundamental reform, Americans simply cannot rely on the Fisa court’s lopsided process to protect our rights.  

EFF filed an Amicus Brief urging Massachusetts to require warrants for cell tracking:

As the highest court in Massachusetts considers whether cell-site data is private in the context of the Fourth Amendment, EFF filed an amicus brief arguing that when the police want to be able to recreate your every step—figuring out your patterns of movement, where you’ve been and with whom—they must obtain a search warrant.

Cell site information—a phone company’s data about which antenna or tower a cell phone (and ultimately its user) connects to—is becoming more precise and revealing. As more people use cell phones and Internet enabled smartphones to communicate, the number of cell sites across the country has grown at a rapid pace. As more cell sites are responsible for smaller geographical areas, it becomes easier to pinpoint a person’s precise location. This growing precision means police are increasingly acquiring cell site information as a routine part of any criminal investigation.

In the case before the Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”), police obtained an order authorizing the disclosure of two weeks worth of cell site information. The trial court suppressed the evidence, finding that since people have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their movements, police needed to obtain a search warrant supported by probable cause before accessing this data. Most critically, the trial court found that the “third party doctrine,” the idea that people don’t have an expectation of privacy in information voluntarily disclosed over to other people, didn’t defeat a person’s expectation of privacy in their movements. Most recently, the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reached the opposite conclusion, ruling the third party doctrine defeated any privacy expectations in cell site records since the information belongs to the cell phone provider and a user voluntarily conveys their location to the provider in order to use their phone.

In EFF’s amicus brief, they urged the SJC to affirm the trial court, arguing that people maintain a reasonable expectation of privacy in their location—even their public movements—since society would deem it unlikely that anything more than small, discrete movements would be observed at a time.

Amicus Brief:


One thought on “The FBI’s “Next Generation Identification” (NGI) 2013

  1. Why do you think apple has gone with the fingerprint option for security on the new phones?
    That one is simple if you understand how tracking is done to begin with via triangulation of the towers, the system will also be able to use the fingerprint you have for security saved in order to locate you with ease.

    This is also the reason most if not all email systems are asking for phone numbers in case you get locked out of your email.
    Its all just tracking to make the connections from what you say where you say it and how you say it so in the future they can use that against you in a court of “their” law.

    I cant find the video but here is the text/script for the film No Escape from 1994.
    The main character in the film played by Ray Liota is a Force Recon Marine. This film also points at Benghazi Libya in 2011.


    Come on.


    Here, it’s food.
    I saved it for you.

    Go ahead, take it.
    Come on, man. Quick!

    No, don’t eat it yet!
    They’ll find out.

    They find out everything, man.
    They know everything.

    It’s our electrical impulses
    that give us away.

    The ones in the brain.

    Lots of electricity
    in here, man.

    Computers in the walls…

    that process the impulses…

    and tell them what we’re thinking.

    Shh don’t think.

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