U.S. police seek ‘blunt impact projectile’ weapons

“Police have long had what they considered ‘non-lethal’ weapons at their disposal, including pepper spray, stun guns and bean bag projectiles. But even those weapons have caused deaths, leading to a search for ‘less lethal’ alternatives.  Micron Products Inc., based in Fitchburg, makes the new ammunition, which are much larger than rubber bullets and have silicone heads that expand and flatten on impact, enhancing the pain and incapacitating a suspect.  Sixteen law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and six in Canada have purchased the projectiles, including SWAT units of the Los Angeles County and Sacramento County Sheriff’s Departments in California.”


California pushes 350-foot no-fly drone law; government exempt

“The drone wars are heating up in California as legislators move to ban unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from flying within 350 feet above property ground level without the operators having received express permission.  Senate Bill 142 contains an exemption for lawful flights of government and law enforcement drones.  In other words, you can consider it a proposed ban on private and commercial UAV use – a dismal prospect for companies such as Amazon, with its plans to fill the sky with delivery drones; Google, with its own drone delivery service; and GoPro, the body-wearable camera maker that recently announced it was making its own drone.


New law permits cop drones to fire beanbag rounds from the sky

“Legal experts are very concerned that a new North Dakota law which allows law enforcement drones to be armed with so-called less-than-lethal weapons—including stun guns and beanbag rounds—could be highly problematic. Among other reasons, such weapons have been shown that they can, in fact, kill people.  North Dakota is believed to be the first state in the union to allow such weapons aboard state and local police drones. The law, known as House Bill 1328, which took effect earlier this month, imposes a significant pro-privacy victory: requiring that police and sheriff’s deputies get a warrant when deploying a drone for surveillance.”


Jeffrey Tucker, Captured, Cuffed, and Jailed: A Personal Story

“He stared at me and said: put your hands behind your back. I was cuffed and led to the car.  My car would be towed to a wrecker lot, he explained. If I get out on bail, I could pay to get it back. Would the lot still be open by then? I asked. The policeman had no answer, no concern. And this is generally what you come to realize. Once arrested, you are a captured animal. Nothing else matters. You are no longer a consumer, a citizen, a person with a job, a normal human being. You are now just fodder, a thing they can use as they see fit.  The notion that you have any rights at all once you are arrested is a joke. What happens to you is entirely the decision of your captors.”


Police secretly track cellphones to solve routine crimes

“The suitcase-size tracking systems, which can cost as much as $400,000, allow the police to pinpoint a phone’s location within a few yards by posing as a cell tower. In the process, they can intercept information from the phones of nearly everyone else who happens to be nearby, including innocent bystanders. Dozens of police departments from Miami to Los Angeles own similar devices. A USA TODAY Media Network investigation identified more than 35 of them in 2013 and 2014, and the American Civil Liberties Union has found 18 more. When and how the police have used those devices is mostly a mystery, in part because the FBI swore them to secrecy.”


Taxpayers Sue IRS For Illegal Account Access In Data Breach

“The action was filed [after] 330,000 taxpayer accounts were illegally accessed by criminals using the ‘Get Transcript’ application on the IRS web site.  The complaint alleges that the illegal access of the system ‘would have been prevented, had the IRS fixed the known security deficits in its data storage system,’ that IRS security was inadequate despite the fact that IRS ‘knew that cyber-criminals were highly motivated to hack the IRS system in order to steal taxpayer information that has significant value in the black market.’ Finally, the suit says that IRS ‘deliberately and intentionally decided not to implement the security measures needed to prevent the subject data breach.'”


IRS: 330K Taxpayers Hit by ‘Get Transcript’ Scam

“The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) disclosed today that identity thieves abused a feature on the agency’s Web site to pull sensitive data on more than 330,000 potential victims as part of a scheme to file fraudulent tax refund requests. The new figure is far larger than the number of Americans the IRS said were potentially impacted when it first acknowledged the vulnerability in May 2015 — two months after KrebsOnSecurity first raised alarms about the weakness. The IRS’s experience should tell consumers something about the effectiveness of the technology that the IRS, banks and countless other organizations use to screen requests for sensitive information.”


FTC can sue companies with poor information security: U.S. court

“On Monday, a federal appeals court ruled that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has the power to take action (PDF) against companies that employ poor IT security practices. The FTC sued Wyndham in 2012 for failing to protect its customers from hackers, and Wyndham countered by saying that it was a victim of the hack itself and should not be penalized by the FTC for the breach.  Although the US government has not mandated a level of security necessary for businesses to meet when they hold customer data, the FTC has been trying to push companies to invest in security.”


UK surveillance “worse than 1984,” says new UN privacy chief

“The mandate of the new post of UN special rapporteur on privacy is broad. Cannataci, who is a professor of law at the University of Malta, and uses neither Facebook nor Twitter, is empowered to review government policies on digital surveillance and the collection of personal data, and to identify activities that harm privacy protection without any compelling justification. He can also give his views on how the private sector should be addressing its human rights responsibilities. His four main tasks: drawing up a universal law on surveillance; tackling the business models of the big Internet companies; defining what ‘privacy’ exactly entails; and raising awareness of these issues among the public.”


Twitter shuts down 30 sites dedicated to saving politicians’ deleted tweets

“Twitter has shut down a network of sites dedicated to archiving deleted tweets from politicians around the world. The sites — collectively known as Politwoops — were overseen by the Open State Foundation (OSF), which reported that Twitter suspended their API access.  The US arm of Politwoops was shut down in June this year, but this new decision affects countries all over the world including Canada, Egypt, India, Ireland, South Korea, Tunisia, Turkey, Norway, and the UK. The Diplotwoops site, dedicated to archiving deleted tweets from diplomats, was also shut down, with the OSF noting that all the accounts had been ‘extensively used and cited by journalists around the world.'”