By Emma Niles for Truthdig. Palantir Technologies, a software company founded by Silicon Valley conservative Peter Thiel, has almost finished creating a $41 million program for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The new technology, called Investigative Case Management (ICM), will greatly help ICE and the Trump administration deport undocumented immigrants. Palantir won the government contract in 2014 and is expected to complete the project this fall. Spencer Woodman of the Intercept explained ” It allows ICE agents to access a vast “ecosystem” of data to facilitate immigration officials in both discovering targets and then creating and administering cases against them. … can provide ICE agents access to information on a subject’s schooling, family relationships, employment information, phone records, immigration history, foreign exchange program status, personal connections, biometric traits, criminal records, and home and work addresses. …
By Sarah Lazare for AlterNet – Law enforcement is compelling Apple and Facebook to hand over the personal information of users who were mass arrested at protests against the inauguration of Donald Trump in Washington, D.C., AlterNet has confirmed. The tech giants appear to be complying with the data-mining requests, amid mounting concerns over the heavy-handed crackdown against the more than 200 people detained on January 20, among them journalists, legal observers and medics. “This is part of an increasing trend of law enforcement attempting to turn the internet, instead of technology for freedom, into technology for control,” Evan Greer, the campaign director for Fight for the Future, told AlterNet. “This trend started long before Trump and seems to be escalating and growing in scale now.”
By Staff of Tele Sur – The Memphis Police Department has a watch list of Black Lives Matter protesters — a fact that has come to light decades after the department was barred from spying on civil rights activists. The list, which includes the names, race, gender, height, weight and corresponding photographs of several well-known activists, bars those listed from entering the Memphis City Hall without an escort. The list infringes on the civil rights of those it profiles. MPD also appears to be in violation of the 1978 federal decree it was handed following revelations the department spied on civil rights activists and other protesters for years, spurring the American Civil Liberties Union to sue them. MPD Director Michael Rallings defended the list Tuesday, saying it was instead related to “security.”
By George Joseph for City Lab – A lawyer for several protesters arrested in inauguration protests on Friday claims that police appear to be mining information from mobile phones taken after they were detained. On Friday, January 20, thousands of protesters took to the streets of D.C. to disrupt Donald Trump’s inauguration festivities. A small fraction of them damaged property and threw projectiles at police in riot gear, who deployed flash-bang grenades, tear gas, and pepper spray on large crowds throughout the day. But according to CityLab’s observations of the demonstrations that morning, most of the roughly 230 people arrested—who included a number of legal observers, journalists, and medics
By Sally Adee for New Scientist. WELCOME to the new normal. Even before Donald Trump was elected, the US was already in a “golden age of surveillance“. As Edward Snowden revealed in 2013, the US government’s surveillance powers had expanded dramatically under the Obama administration. Trump has repeatedly signalled that he intends to make much greater use of these capabilities – perhaps inspired by British legislation that has given the UK government unprecedented power to snoop on its citizens. In both cases, such powers were ostensibly introduced to combat terrorism. But there’s very little evidence that greater spying powers actually catch terrorists, many of whom already know how to evade spooks. On the other hand, there is mounting concern among privacy advocates and human rights campaigners that such powers will stifle domestic dissent and enable political witch-hunts.
By Stephanie Lacambra for EFF – One of the biggest protests of 2016 is still underway at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota, where Water Protectors and their allies are fighting Energy Transfer Partners’ plans to drill beneath contested Treaty land to finish the Dakota Access Pipeline. While the world has been watching law enforcement’s growing use of force to disrupt the protests, EFF has been tracking the effects of its surveillance technologies on water protectors’ communications and movement. Following several reports of potentially unlawful surveillance, EFF sent technologists and lawyers to North Dakota to investigate.
By Tim Johnson for McClatchy DC – It’s no secret that state and local law enforcement agencies have grown more militarized in the past decade, with armored personnel carriers, drones and robots. But one item in their arsenal has been kept largely out of public view, to the dismay of civil liberties advocates who say its use is virtually unregulated – and largely untracked. The device is a suitcase-size surveillance tool commonly called a StingRay that mimics a cellphone tower, allowing authorities to track individual cellphones in real time.
By Staff of RSF – The UK Government has failed to respond to widespread public dismay over secret mass surveillance revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013. The Bill will not only put into statute the capabilities revealed by Snowden but extend surveillance even further. This is not just of grave concern for UK citizens. The impact of the Bill will be felt around the world. Authoritarian leaders with poor human rights records can now point to the UK when justifying their own surveillance regimes.
By Omar Scott Antar. We Refuse To Be Enemies is a coalition of Jews, Muslims, and Christians in Connecticut, committed to peace and justice, and particularly focused on the Middle East. The NYPD-CIA, in their highly politicized, discriminatory, and illegal operations, target not only Muslims, but also left-wing activists. Because Ivanka M. Trump, daughter and advisor of President-elect Donald J. Trump, is on board of the NYC Police Foundation (page 124 of 128), the NYPD’s slush fund, which finances the NYPD-CIA’s International Liaison Programs (ILPs), it is little wonder Trump approves of and extols the NYPD-CIA and its abusive former Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. Donald Trump also calls for explicit profiling of Muslims, approvingly citing the NYPD-CIA programs and less free foreign countries, such as France and Israel.
By Stephanie Llanes for Truthout – Fifty years from now, what will the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture’s exhibit on the Movement for Black Lives look like? Will the exhibit feature videos from the hundreds of protests that erupted around the United States and the world, alongside pictures of children with signs that say “I Can’t Breathe,” and “Say Her Name?” Will there be displays of the canisters of tear gas thrown by police at protestors, and a copy of the Vision for Black Lives policy plan for visitors to read?
BY Staff of ACLU – NEW YORK – In a legal challenge to the New York City Police Department’s surveillance of American Muslims, a federal judge issued a ruling calling for alterations to a landmark lawsuit settlement as a condition of approving the settlement. The alterations proposed by the judge would further strengthen the settlement’s ability to protect New York Muslims and others from discriminatory and unjustified surveillance.
By Steve Horn for Desmog – TigerSwan is one of several security firms under investigation for its work guarding the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota while potentially without a permit. Besides this recent work on the Standing Rock Sioux protests in North Dakota, this company has offices in Iraq and Afghanistan and is run by a special forces Army veteran. According to a summary of the investigation, TigerSwan “is in charge of Dakota Access intelligence and supervises the overall security.”