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FBI’s Facial Recognition System Catches Criticism from Civil Liberties Advocates

From ivs-biometrics.com

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s plan to soon launch its facial recognition system has worried civil liberties advocates because the bureau won’t say whether it has any limits on its use.

The Huffington Post reports that the FBI plans to soon use 52 million photos in its biometric database, but where those photos came from and the accuracy of the facial recognition searches are unknown.

“There should be congressional oversight of this, and there should be rules,” said Jennifer Lynch, an Electronic Frontier Foundation staff attorney.
For example, Lynch asked, “How do you get your picture out of the database once it’s in there? And how do you even find out that it’s in there?”

The database, called the Next Generation Identification, is going to be shared with state and local agencies to help in investigations, the FBI said earlier.

The FBI said the database is a critical tool to preventing terrorism.

Border Patrol Demolishing Houses? It’s All About Keeping South Texas Safe

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Border Patrol might not be in the business of demolishing homes, but it is in the business of protecting Americans from smugglers and illegal immigrants.

So the federal agency is teaming up the South Texas City of Laredo and the Texas National Guard to help raze abandoned buildings and homes that are used as havens for criminals, the Star-Telegram reports.

Before Border Patrol’s help, the project, dubbed Operation Crackdown, has already demolished 1,350 structures, many of them described as drug houses or hiding places for migrant smugglers.

“We can join forces so we can do something about these substandard properties that we come across during our regular patrols,” said Greg Salinas, a Border Patrol agent and agency spokesman. He added that the buildings were used as stash houses for illegal immigrants or narcotics. “They will just use it as a temporary holding place where they can come across, hide and leave, or jump into a vehicle.”

Property owners who don’t consent could have their properties condemned because of the dilapidated condition.

FBI Agents May Be Forced to Testify in Military Court About Alleged Attempt to Turn Defense Lawyer into Informant

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is under fire for its alleged handling of defense lawyers for the accused 9/11 terrorists, and the agents may be forced to testify about it in military war court at Guantanamo Bay, the Washington Free Beacon reports.

The news comes after court proceedings abruptly ended on Monday after defense lawyers said that at least two FBI special agents had tried to make a member of the defense an informant last week.

If true, it’s an egregious violation of the justice system and attorney-client privilege.

The defense team for the suspected organizers of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks said the FBI may have jeopardized the case.

It was the first court proceeding at Guantanamo since December.

One-Year Anniversary of Boston Marathon Bombings Brings Unanswered Questions

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

One year after twin pressure cooker bombs detonated at the Boston Marathon bombings, many questions remain.

Why did federal authorities miss an opportunity to act on a warning from Russia that bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was becoming radicalized? How much of a role did his younger brother, Dzhokhar, play in attack? Would the brothers have launched an attack in New York?

“The obvious one is the motivation and how could two young men who were in a country that, from all appearances, was very good to them end up this radical,” former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, who helped lead the investigation, told the Associated Press.

The April 15 bombings killed three people and injured 260 more. At least 16 people lost limbs, the AP wrote.

White Supremacist Accused in Shootings at Jewish Site in Kansas City Has No Record of Violence

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Frazier Glenn Cross rarely missed an opportunity to espouse his white-supremacist beliefs.

But local and federal authorities are having a hard time finding evidence that the 73-year-old Army veteran and retired truck driver with ties to the KKK ever resorted to violence, the Associated Press reports.

That was until Sunday, when he opened fire outside of two Jewish sites near Kansas City and killed three people, none of whom turned out to be Jewish.

As prosecutors plan to charge Cross as early as today, many questions remain about the man who shouted a Nazi slogan at the media just minutes after his arrest.

“We don’t really see how this could have been prevented. There’s at least no obvious answer,” said Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups and had a considerable dossier on Cross. “He is one of the more frightening characters out there, no question about that.”

FBI Tried to Enlist Member of 9/11 Defense Team, Prompting Abrupt Recess in Case

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Did the FBI try to turn a defense team security officer into a secret informant?

The question, which was raised by defense lawyers at the first 9/11 hearing of the year Monday, was enough to prompt a judge to abruptly recess the case, the Miami Herald reports.

Defense lawyers argued that the actions, if true, may compromise attorney-client privilege in the case against five men accused of orchestrating the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Defense lawyers said two FBI agents tried to turn a civilian on the defense team into a confidential informant.

The FBI declined to comment.

FBI Plans to Have 52 Million Photos in Its Facial Recognition Database by 2015

RecognitionSource.net

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

If all goes as planned, the FBI’s facial recognition database will include 52 million photos by 2015, the Verge reports.

That’s an increase of more than three-fold from the 16 million that were in the database in the middle of 2013.

Of those, 4.3 million images were for “non-criminal purposes,” according to documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

What remains unclear is where the non-criminal photos derived and why the FBI is using them.

“Facial recognition technology has the potential to improve services for consumers, support innovation by businesses, and affect identification and authentication online and offline,” the National Telecommunications and Information Administration said in a statement this past February. “However, the technology poses distinct consumer privacy challenges.”

FBI Video Warns American Students of Efforts to Recruit Them as Spies in 28-Minute Video

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has released a 28-minute video intended to warn American students preparing to study abroad about the dangers of being recruited by foreign intelligence agencies.

The video is a dramatization of Glenn Duffie Shriver, an American who accepted money from Chinese intelligence officers while living in China.

Shriver was convicted in 2010 of  “conspiring to provide national defense information to intelligence officers of the People’s Republic of China” and was sentenced to four years in prison.