Police departments stockpile personal information on millions of innocent Americans

In an investigation into the nation’s 50 largest police departments, The Post and Courier of Charleston, South Carolina found that the personal information of millions of innocent Americans is being stockpiled in police databases around the country. The information is being compiled through field interviews, where police officers take notes from routine stops or conversations…

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Secrecy and defense concerns surround cell phone trackers used by Maryland police

Police agencies across Maryland are using cell site simulators, a controversial intelligence device that allows them to track cell phones. Police agencies in seven counties closest to the Washington and Baltimore regions have spent at least $2.8 million on this type of equipment, according to an investigation by Capital News Service.  Records and documents show…

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Police secretly track cellphones to solve routine crimes

In one case after another, USA TODAY found police in Baltimore and other cities used the phone tracker, commonly known as a stingray, to locate the perpetrators of routine street crimes and frequently concealed that fact from the suspects, their lawyers and even judges. In the process, they quietly transformed a form of surveillance billed as…

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Security camera feeds at schools, jails easily accessible to the public

Hundreds of thousands of security camera feeds could be open to anyone with an Internet browser, according to a Scripps national investigation. Scripps found schools, jails and stores all with easily accessible video feeds. A security researcher interviewed as part of the investigation reported that three out of four cameras he studied were not secure.…

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Ignoring the terror within

While the number of domestic terror incidents increases, law enforcement agencies are doing less to catch domestic extremists, a year-long investigation by the Kansas City Star has found. The investigation revealed that after Sept. 11, 2001, law enforcement agencies turned their attention toward stopping foreign terrorism at a degree that deemphasized efforts to stop domestic…

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U.S. secretly tracked billions of calls for decades

The U.S. government started keeping secret records of Americans’ international telephone calls nearly a decade before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, harvesting billions of calls in a program that provided a blueprint for the far broader National Security Agency surveillance that followed. According to an investigation by USA TODAY, for more than two decades, the Justice Department…

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Extra Extra Monday: Peace Corps medical care, homeless students in the suburbs, license plate cameras

Trail of medical missteps in a Peace Corps death | The New York Times A Peace Corps spokeswoman called Nick Castle’s death, from a gastrointestinal illness, “a tragic experience.” To examine its own conduct, the agency took the unusual step of engaging an outside American expert, whose report concluded that despite medical missteps by a…

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Red light cameras tag thousands for undeserved tickets

Thousands of Chicago drivers have been tagged with $100 red light fines they did not deserve, targeted by robotic cameras during a series of sudden spikes in tickets that city officials say they cannot explain, a Chicago Tribune investigation has found. The Tribune’s analysis of more than 4 million tickets issued since 2007 and a…

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Commissioner uses Tennessee state troopers as chauffeurs

Tennessee Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons is using state troopers as chauffeurs, according to a hidden-camera investigation by WTVF-Nashville. State officials stand by the decision, saying that the commissioner’s time is valuable and that the drivers provide more time for him to answer emails. Emails show that troopers drove Gibbons at least 31 times in a…

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Plans to expand scope of license-plate readers alarm privacy advocates

Documents obtained by The Center for Investigative Reporting show that a leading maker of license-plate readers wants to merge the vehicle identification technology with other sources of identifying information, alarming privacy advocates. Vigilant Solutions is pushing a system that eventually could help fuse public records, license plates and facial recognition databases for police in the…

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