What’s the latest police state outrage?
Well, this time cops are peering into the social media accounts of “dissidents” and profiling them as potential terror threats.
It seems like the government never misses an opportunity to invade our privacy, and rapid advancements in technology are being ruthlessly exploited for this purpose. A Reuters report elaborates on these troubling developments:
One such application is Beware, sold to police departments since 2012 by a private company, Intrado. This mobile application crawls over billions of records in commercial and public databases for law enforcement needs. The application “mines criminal records, Internet chatter and other data to churn out … profiles in real time,” according to one article in an Illinois newspaper…
Working off a home address, Beware can send an officer basic information about who lives there, their cell phone numbers, whether they have past convictions and the cars registered to the address. Police have had access to this information before, but Beware makes it available immediately.
Yet it does far more — scanning the residents’ online comments, social media and recent purchases for “warning” signs. Commercial, criminal and social media information, including, as Intrado vice president Steve Reed said in an interview with urgentcomm.com, “any comments that could be construed as offensive,” all contribute to the threat score.
While this is certainly outrageous, we must put the blame squarely on the people pulling the strings. Where does the money come from to fund this type of hi-tech voyeurism?
The Reuters report continues.
Public safety organizations, using federal funding, are set to begin building a $7-billion nationwide first-responder wireless network, called FirstNet. Money is now being set aside. With this network, information-sharing capabilities and federal-state coordination will likely grow substantially. Some uses of FirstNet will improve traditional services like 911 dispatches. Other law enforcement uses aren’t as pedestrian, however.
It is federal grant money that is being used to fund this nefarious social media profiling operation by law enforcement. This means that federal influence is directing law enforcement resources toward intrusive spying, rather than keeping the public safe. This is totally unacceptable, and it is not the only way the feds are manipulating law enforcement into working against the public interest.
The federal government has entered into information sharing agreements with local and state law enforcement nationwide. These agreements allow illegally-gathered information to be used in state-level criminal prosecutions to fill our already overflowing prisons through a convoluted process known as parallel construction. An incestuous web of pervasive unconstitutional behavior has been unleashed upon us, and will continue to expand, unless we act now.
The police abuse problem has become too big to ignore, but it will only be solved if we work to address the underlying issues behind it. If more federal discretion is taken over local law enforcement, it will only exacerbate the already tumultuous situation. What we need are free and independent police officers who work to protect the safety of the people – whether it is from a criminal on the streets or a criminal within a government bureaucracy.
We offer legislation that can chip away at federalization of your local and state police forces. Our privacy-rights legislation stops harmful federal-state information sharing agreements, and prevents the state and local implementation of surveillance measures. This legislation can protect your privacy, and keep your local law enforcement from being corrupted by Washington D.C. Join us, and we can stop the feds before it is too late.
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