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ACLU Urges Justice Department to Investigate Use of Facial Recognition Technology

FBI-facial-recognitionBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The ACLU is urging the Justice Department to investigate the use of facial recognition technology to determine whether it violates the rights of millions of Americans and disproportionately affects people of color.

The ACLU cited a recently released report by Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy and Technology that concluded the controversial technology is used to identify and track people who are doing nothing wrong, like cross the street, WBALTV reports. 

In Maryland, for example, police have the ability to use facial recognition technology to search for more than 7 million state driver’s license and ID photos, more than 3 million arrest booking photos and 24.9 mugshots from the FBI’s Next Generation Identification database.

“The database is populated, I think may people with be surprised to hear, by over 7 million driver’s license photos, so every time you go to get a driver’s license you are now submitting to being a participant in a virtual lineup,” ACLU attorney David Rocah said.

The ACLU is concerned that the technology may unfairly target people of color.

“Not only do we not know how frequently it is helpful in finding an offender, how often they get a match and then identify the correct person who committed an offense, we also don’t know the error rate. We don’t know how many false matches, and how many people are falsely accused or wrongly investigated because of incorrect matches,” Rocah said.

Border Patrol Agents Discover 30 Illegal Immigrants inside Tractor-Trailer

Tractor-trailer where 30 illegal immigrants were found, via Border Patrol.

Tractor-trailer where 30 illegal immigrants were found, via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol agents made a surprising discovery inside a tractor-trailer at a checkpoint in Salton City, Calif., on Monday.

Thirty illegal immigrants were hidden inside at the Highway 86 checkpoint, NBC7 San Diego reports. 

The immigrants were locked inside the trailer from the outside, posing a significant danger to the 30 people, all of whom are Mexican citizens.

Earlier this month, Border Patrol agents found 19 illegal immigrants inside a tractor-trailer on the same highway. All but one was a Mexican citizen. They also were locked from the outside.

Homeland Security: It Will Take More Than a Wall to Stop Illegal Immigrants

Border Fence along Mexico and the U.S.

Border Fence along Mexico and the U.S.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Donald Trump’s continued rhetoric about building a wall at the U.S.-Mexican border is far from enough to stop the increasing number of illegal immigrants from reaching America, said Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

“Border security alone cannot overcome the powerful push factors of poverty and violence that exist in Central America,” Johnson said in a statement. “Walls alone cannot prevent illegal migration. Ultimately, the solution is long-term investment in Central America to address the underlying push factors in the region.”

Johnson is urging Congress and the next administration to enact immigration reform and handle the root causes of migration.

Johnson said 77,000 more immigrants were captured at the border this fiscal year compared to the previous one.

More than 400,000 people apprehended at the border in the 2016 fiscal year, which ended in September.

“Fewer Mexicans and single adults are attempting to cross the border without authorization, but more families and unaccompanied children are fleeing poverty and violence in Central America,” Johnson said. “In 2014, Central Americans apprehended on the southern border outnumbered Mexicans for the first time. In 2016, it happened again.”

Czech Republic Arrests Russian Accused of Participating in Cyberattacks Against U.S.

Screenshot of Czech video of suspected hacker under arrest.

Screenshot of Czech video of suspected hacker under arrest.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Russian man accused of launching cyberattacks on the United States has been arrested by police in the Czech Republic, CBS News reports. 

Cooperating with the FBI, Czech authorities arrested the man on Oct. 5. But the news is just now becoming public.

It’s not yet clear whether the suspect was involved in the hacking of the Democratic Party.

Czech officials are considering extraditing the man to the U.S.

American officials have suspected Russians were involved with the hacking of Democratic Party officials.

Other Stories of Interest

Unions for Border Patrol, ICE Don’t Back Down from Endorsing Trump

national border patrol councilBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

While many people who have endorsed Donald Trump for president have withdrawn their support over the candidate’s vulgar comments about women, the National Border Patrol Council and Customs Enforcement Council have not.

The unions have said they support Trump because of his tough stance on the nation’s borders and immigration laws.

Their failure to rescind the endorsement has prompted some backlash, including from a Washington Post columnist who wrote, “If his racist, misogynistic, narcissistic campaign does win, two unions representing thousands of federal law enforcement officers will have been accomplices.”

The NBPC released this statement about enforcing Trump on March 31: “Mr. Trump is correct when he says immigration wouldn’t be at the forefront of this presidential campaign if months ago he hadn’t made some bold and necessary statements. And when the withering media storm ensued he did not back down one iota. That tells you the measure of a man. When the so-called experts said he was too brash and outspoken, and that he would fade away, they were proven wrong. We are confident they will be proven wrong again in November when he becomes President of the United States.”

Other Stories of Interest

Teachers, Others Oppose FBI’s Online Anti-Extremism Video

Screenshot of the video, "Don't Be a Puppet."

Screenshot of the video, “Don’t Be a Puppet.”

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI hoped to discourage teenagers from becoming extremists by introducing a video called, “Don’t Be a Puppet.” 

The idea was to counter homegrown extremism by teaching users how to identify young people who are gravitating toward radical ideology.

But now the American Federation of Teachers union and other groups are vocally opposing the video, saying it could lead to more distrust of peaceful Muslims, the Wall Street Journal reports. 

The Wall Street Journal wrote:

In August, the groups, which include the American Association of School Administrators and American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, wrote a letter to FBI director James Comey saying they were “deeply troubled” by the Don’t Be A Puppet campaign and claimed it would increase distrust of Muslim and Middle Eastern students. Critics of the website fear that the recent bomb attacks in New York and New Jersey, and stabbings at a Minnesota mall, will be used to further justify its use with young people.

The website—which walks users through various topics related to extremism and allows them to “free the puppet’ after each section—references religious and environmental extremism, white supremacy, and anarchists. It offers short explanations of the Sept. 11 attacks, as well as the 1995 bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City.

Specifically, the advocacy groups have raised concerns that the computer program can too easily be interpreted as singling out Muslims. Critics have taken issue with several of the potential signs of extremist behavior that the website warns users to report—such as “talking about traveling to places that sound suspicious” and “using code words or unusual language.”

Michael Mason on Clinton Probe: ‘All I Know is That I trust FBI Director Jim Comey’

Michael Mason is a retired Executive Assistant Director of the FBI.

Mike Mason/fbi photo

Mike Mason/fbi photo

By Michael Mason

We live in a country with an imperfect judicial system.  Every day of the week people are not charged for crimes others believe them to be guilty of committing.

There are many reasons why this occurs.

In the case involving Hillary Clinton and her handling of classified e-mails, most clamoring for her prosecution probably lack any detailed knowledge of the facts and are more driven by their strong dislike of Mrs. Clinton.  I don’t claim to possess any knowledge of the facts in the Clinton investigation either, so it is difficult for me to offer an opinion regarding the merits of pursuing a prosecution in this case.

Were her actions careless or traitorous?  I suspect they were the former, and doubt any one would seriously argue they were the latter.

Did she act with malice aforethought or for ill-considered convenience?  What was the nature of the classified materials improperly handled?  Granted classified is classified regardless of the over-zealous use the high-end classification of documents that could be posted on bill boards with no harm to national security.  The notion that all classified materials fit into the same bucket is patently absurd and those in the business know this to be true.

So where does this leave me?

All I know is that I trust FBI Director Jim Comey.  I believe in his integrity and his honesty.  Ultimately the FBI does not make the decision regarding whether a case will be pursued for prosecution, not even the Director of the FBI.

That authority resides solely with the United States Justice Department.  So in the very loud and boisterous complaining that so often surrounds a matter that is steeped in political intrigue, what seems to have been lost is that the Justice Department could have overruled Director Comey and pursued the prosecution of Hillary Clinton, but they did not.

Some of the brightest legal minds in the country serve in the Department of Justice.  The Justice Department cannot abdicate the responsibility that resides solely in their wheelhouse based on the recommendation of the FBI Director.   I have read plenty regarding Director Comey’s recommendation to the Justice Department, but little of their decision not to pursue a prosecution.

This is not an attempt of a former FBI executive to protect its current Director as I do not believe he needs anyone to protect him.  Nor is this an opinion piece regarding whether a prosecution should have been pursued.  It is only my wish that we could distill the anger and hatred that so often drives our opinions regarding critically important issues of the day.

 

How FBI Foiled Alleged Militia Plot to Bomb Apartment Where Muslims Lived

Three men accused of plotting to blow up an apartment building where Muslims lived.

Three men accused of plotting to blow up an apartment building where Muslims lived.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI conducted an 8-month investigation into a militant group that culminated in the arrest of three men accused of conspiring to kill countless Muslim immigrants in Kansas.

A confidential source was embedded with the militia group and provided vital information to investigators about the group’s plans, WFTV reports. 

The three men are accused of planning to bomb a southwestern Kansas apartment complex, where numerous Somali immigrants lived, and stockpiling firearms, explosives and ammunitions to carry out the plot.

“These charges are based on eight months of investigation by the FBI that is alleged to have taken the investigators deep into a hidden culture of hatred and violence,” U.S. Attorney Tom Beall said. “Many Kansans may find it as startling as I do that such things could happen here.”

Charged were Curtis Allen, 49, Gavin Wright, 49, and Patrick Eugene Stein, 47, who were members of the Crusaders.