• If you enjoy the forum please consider supporting it by signing up for a NES Membership  The benefits pay for the membership many times over.

Online monitoring service by Lowell police and School department

Rating - 100%
5   0   0
Joined
Mar 6, 2013
Messages
958
Likes
227
Location
Nashville, TN
Hmmm am I the only one that sees a problem with this? [hmmm]

http://www.lowellsun.com/todaysheadlines/ci_27581830/aclu-questions-possible-purchase-online-monitoring-service-by#4225F9EEFBEE9EC41F9493AFED421071E9DF


ACLU questions the possible purchase of online monitoring service by Lowell police, schools
By Todd Feathers, [email protected]
Mon, 23 Feb 2015, 06:34 AM

LOWELL -- The Lowell police and school departments are poised to purchase a powerful new online tool that would monitor all public posts made within the city limits on popular social-media sites.


The program would allow officers and school administrators to identify potentially harmful situations, including bomb threats, online bullying and suicide notes, police Superintendent William Taylor said.


But civil-liberties groups warn that such tools open the door for abuses of power when used incorrectly.


"People should be able to criticize government in a free society without some cop somewhere writing down everything they say," said Kade Crockford, director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts' Technology for Liberty Project. "The way to solve crimes is to go after people who are suspected of specific criminal acts, not spying on the general public."


Taylor dismissed concerns that police will use the monitoring program -- if it is purchased -- to spy on Lowell residents or punish them for what they post.


"Any police agency is there and has the responsibility to protect people's right to free speech," he said.


On Jan. 15, police and school officials sat in on a demonstration by Social Sentinel, a Vermont company that sells monitoring software. The Police Department declined The Sun's request to observe the demonstration because the test included information relevant to ongoing investigations.


Chicago-based Geofeedia will walk officials through its competing product soon, Taylor said, and he is confident the police and school departments will eventually subscribe to one of the programs.


The city is not required to disclose the proposed costs of the two programs or any future bidders until a single supplier is chosen.


But if only the School Department purchased Social Sentinel, it would cost $17,000 for the first year and $15,000 for subsequent years, according to documents obtained by The Sun. The company bases its prices on the population size within the monitored geographical area.


Social Sentinel's tool notifies users when somebody within a designated geographical area posts a word or phrase that pings one of the company's preset filters, such as "general violence" or "suicide and depression," Social Sentinel President and CEO Gary Margolis said.


Those filters can contain more than a thousand keywords. Some of them may be obvious, such as "gun" or "bomb," but the program also allows subscribers to add their own localized search terms, like a gang name, slang term or street name.


Users can choose to receive a report of the previous day's activity or receive notices in real time.


Geofeedia operates similarly, but offers the additional ability to archive all past posts and store them in a "cloud."


The program uses the archived databases to identify "influential posters" and posting trends, according to the company's website. The program can also track the location of posters and map their movements.


Both programs track posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Flickr and Google+. Social Sentinel also monitors Tumblr, Vimeo and Meetup.


"If we had somebody look at this all day, obviously, it would be impossible to get your arm around it," Lowell police Captain Thomas Kennedy said, adding that Social Sentinel "can kind of tailor the monitoring to our specific needs, for example, if we were looking for something to do with suicide or guns."


Increasingly, communities communicate through social media -- often in ways they wouldn't out loud -- and spontaneous events, such as protests, are planned online, said Margolis, a former police chief. As residents move online, law enforcement must follow, he said.




But the criminality of online speech can be hard to navigate.


An ongoing case in the Bushwick neighborhood of New York City illustrates the complications of cyberpolicing.


On Jan. 18, New York City police arrested 17-year-old Osiris Aristy on a score of charges based on a series of Facebook posts he made.


Several of the posts contained emojis, or characterizations, of guns pointed at emojis of police officers. Another post, containing a photo of Aristy with a revolver and ammunition, was captioned "feel like katxhin a body right now."


Police charged Aristy with making terrorist threats, and obtained a warrant to search his home, where officers found a revolver and several bags of marijuana.


But a grand jury assigned to the case decided the posts did not constitute evidence that Aristy intended to commit a specific and imminent violent act -- the legal standard for prosecuting violent speech -- and the terrorism charge was dropped.


Now the other charges against Aristy are in jeopardy, too.


"We're going to challenge the search warrant," said Fred Pratt, Aristy's attorney. "To get a search warrant, you need very fresh and specific information."


With the initial charge dropped, Pratt intends to argue that a picture of Aristy holding a gun does not constitute probable cause that the weapon was illegal or was in his home.


Closer to home, Chicopee police in December charged Charles DiRosa, 27, of Chicopee, with threatening to commit a crime for posting "Put Wings on Pigs" on Facebook. The phrase is a reference to a post made by Ismaaiyl Brinsley shortly before he shot and killed two New York City police officers on Dec. 20 before killing himself.


Taylor said the Police Department, if and when it does acquire a monitoring tool, will use it in a preventative fashion, and not to police online speech.


School administrators have not yet met to discuss the Social Sentinel demonstration, Deputy Superintendent of Schools Jay Lang said.


The worry for Crockford, the ACLU lawyer, is that even if authorities begin responsibly and with the best of intentions, a catastrophic event or change in leadership can alter the way monitoring tools are used.


"The problem is that a lot of it happens in secret at police departments," she said.


But Social Sentinel is like truncheons and wiretaps, Margolis said. It is only as good as the people who control it. But like those older technologies, social-media monitoring is necessary for authorities to keep up with the communities they police, he added.


"Everything becomes: Do you have the right people, in the right jobs, with the right professional standards, doing the right things?" Margolis said.
 
Rating - 100%
12   0   0
Joined
Nov 5, 2010
Messages
6,920
Likes
612
Yep, a few years too late maybe, but it's here nonetheless! This is sounds alarmingly similar to the TV show "Person of Interest". I doubt it will be very long before A.I. is integrated into these applications as well as integration of traffic and other surveillance cameras. I know some will call "tinfoil", but it's getting closer every day.
 

PennyPincher

NES Member
Rating - 100%
12   0   0
Joined
Aug 27, 2007
Messages
11,534
Likes
3,795
Location
Texas
"Everything becomes: Do you have the right people, in the right jobs, with the right professional standards, doing the right things?" Margolis said.
There is no "right person." This type of software is an invasion of privacy and should not be allowed to exist.
 

NHCraigT

NES Member
Rating - 100%
2   0   0
Joined
Dec 19, 2005
Messages
3,140
Likes
1,965
Location
Southern NH
Just makes me think that's its time for some to move out of Lowell, but then again....... its just a sad matter of time when this is in every US town & city (or, maybe it already is, but its jut not in the public news)
 
Rating - 100%
3   0   0
Joined
Apr 25, 2013
Messages
2,224
Likes
741
Location
Mexico.....Missouri
If this were adopted, how many people are they going to hire to screen all the data that gets flagged? Reminds me of being on the Sub, guys in radio had a keyword filter and if something popped, the email would be read to identify it's contents before being distributed to the crew/or released outbound. For a crew of 146, that often took a few hours. I can't imagine an entire city.
 
Rating - 100%
14   0   0
Joined
Dec 27, 2010
Messages
795
Likes
114
Location
is everything
This type of BS is nothing new for the city of Lowell. Recall a few years ago Kevin Murphy, now city manager I believe, drafted a piece of legislation requiring people with more than 10 firearms to have their safes hardwired to the Lowell Police Department so they knew when the safe was being opened.
 
Last edited:
Rating - 100%
21   0   0
Joined
Dec 5, 2006
Messages
6,684
Likes
2,104
Location
Raleigh NC
Taylor dismissed concerns that police will use the monitoring program -- if it is purchased -- to spy on Lowell residents or punish them for what they post.
If that's the case, what the hell do they want it for?

Those products are made - by design - to spy on people.
 

Devils Paintbrush

NES Member
Rating - 100%
6   0   0
Joined
Aug 19, 2007
Messages
527
Likes
283
Location
North Shore
If that's the case, what the hell do they want it for?

Those products are made - by design - to spy on people.

They want it to show you what a good job they are doing and justify an over inflated budget.

Look at all of this mayhem we have prevented, think of the children.

It is too easy these days to collect phone data, plate readers and facebook information.

If you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. And I do mean nail...you.
 
Rating - 100%
23   0   0
Joined
Mar 20, 2011
Messages
8,960
Likes
1,612
Location
Central MA
I would like to know how exactly they know a post came from Lowell. Ip Location is not that precise. This type of system is really scarey and ripe for abuse.
 

drgrant

Moderator
NES Member
Rating - 100%
59   0   0
Joined
Mar 21, 2006
Messages
67,800
Likes
25,175
I would like to know how exactly they know a post came from Lowell. Ip Location is not that precise. This type of system is really scarey and ripe for abuse.
When dumbasses with unsecured FB pages (that post everything in public) have their location, etc, listed, or they "check in" at some location or another, that system can analyze it and basically use a form of deductive reasoning to figure out where the person is posting from or at least what town they live in, or what places they visit, etc.

Of course the "system is ripe for abuse" but on the other hand there's this argument is it really abuse if some retard is basically prancing around with a bullhorn going "here I am look at me this is what I am doing ZOMG WTF BBQ!!!!!!!" I know some people who basically post half their life existence on FB, I'm honestly surprised some of these people aren't posting pics of the dump they just took or whatever to report on its quality, because they whore for attention so much. [laugh]

Brings up a fun ethical question- is it spying if some guy goes into the town square and holds up a sign that says "I AM GONNA ROB XYZ BANK TOMORROW!!!!" and then the police conveniently show up there and arrest the guy 60 seconds after he robs the bank? [laugh]

I don't like the "surveillance state" we're in either, but where do we draw the line... if someone is posting something publicly accessible with their real name, isn't that essentially in the public domain? If it's just floating around out there, it's not like they had to conduct anything resembling an illegal search to recover that "evidence".

-Mike
 
Rating - 100%
3   0   0
Joined
Nov 17, 2011
Messages
4,902
Likes
1,695
Location
Taunton
Brings up a fun ethical question- is it spying if some guy goes into the town square and holds up a sign that says "I AM GONNA ROB XYZ BANK TOMORROW!!!!" and then the police conveniently show up there and arrest the guy 60 seconds after he robs the bank? [laugh]

-Mike
Don't have an issue with that scenario as long as they arrest after the attempt is made - they are talking about arresting pre-action.

Also, did anyone notice the two keywords that were mentioned - "for example, if we were looking for something to do with suicide or guns." Post a rant about your bad day and show up as having an LTC and it's SWAT time.
 

Woodsy

NES Member
Rating - 100%
15   0   0
Joined
Apr 6, 2009
Messages
4,880
Likes
1,961
Location
In the north woods likely hunting or trapping
Don't have an issue with that scenario as long as they arrest after the attempt is made - they are talking about arresting pre-action.

Also, did anyone notice the two keywords that were mentioned - "for example, if we were looking for something to do with suicide or guns." Post a rant about your bad day and show up as having an LTC and it's SWAT time.
This! And it will happen, slowly over time they expand the "words" the key off of to be mostly anything they want. That is how government rolls, it goes to the maximum not minimum. Maybe if they dealt with the driving factors of vioence etc the police wouldnt neednt to have a Leo in each home.
 
Rating - 100%
9   0   0
Joined
Jun 25, 2014
Messages
13,636
Likes
5,909
I wonder how many cops and pols they'll bust in their little 4th amendment violation sting.....
 

Prepper

NES Member
Rating - 100%
11   0   0
Joined
Apr 12, 2007
Messages
19,132
Likes
7,214
Location
NH
How would this even work? Government employees don't seem to understand how the internet works. If I am actually posting from at home in Lowell to Facebook, they might be able to tell my connection originates from Lowell, but the Facebook servers are in Utah or something, and SSL is on by default. And unless the post is public, they should not be able to see it, unless FB grants special access to the data from this monitoring company. Now, we all know the NSA has this special access, but a private company?
 
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
May 4, 2012
Messages
54
Likes
5
This is the shit you get when you have lots of free money flying around. Nobody does any of the old gumshoe work that catches the REAL criminals anymore. The Fibbies and local LEOs get to MAKE criminals now, because crime is so damn low, and terrorists really apparently don't hate America enough to come here and burn and behead local x-ians.
 
Rating - 100%
23   0   0
Joined
Mar 20, 2011
Messages
8,960
Likes
1,612
Location
Central MA
When dumbasses with unsecured FB pages (that post everything in public) have their location, etc, listed, or they "check in" at some location or another, that system can analyze it and basically use a form of deductive reasoning to figure out where the person is posting from or at least what town they live in, or what places they visit, etc.

Of course the "system is ripe for abuse" but on the other hand there's this argument is it really abuse if some retard is basically prancing around with a bullhorn going "here I am look at me this is what I am doing ZOMG WTF BBQ!!!!!!!" I know some people who basically post half their life existence on FB, I'm honestly surprised some of these people aren't posting pics of the dump they just took or whatever to report on its quality, because they whore for attention so much. [laugh]

Brings up a fun ethical question- is it spying if some guy goes into the town square and holds up a sign that says "I AM GONNA ROB XYZ BANK TOMORROW!!!!" and then the police conveniently show up there and arrest the guy 60 seconds after he robs the bank? [laugh]

I don't like the "surveillance state" we're in either, but where do we draw the line... if someone is posting something publicly accessible with their real name, isn't that essentially in the public domain? If it's just floating around out there, it's not like they had to conduct anything resembling an illegal search to recover that "evidence".

-Mike
Seems like it would be real easy to screw with them.
I agree with your Facebook rant. it is amazing how people feel they need to post their every move. I have a very small Facebook account that i opened while looking for a job but hardly use it at all.
 

mibro

NES Member
Rating - 100%
13   0   0
Joined
Mar 4, 2013
Messages
12,124
Likes
8,829
Location
Mass.
How would this even work? Government employees don't seem to understand how the internet works. If I am actually posting from at home in Lowell to Facebook, they might be able to tell my connection originates from Lowell, but the Facebook servers are in Utah or something, and SSL is on by default. And unless the post is public, they should not be able to see it, unless FB grants special access to the data from this monitoring company. Now, we all know the NSA has this special access, but a private company?
Anything sent or posted from a smartphone comes with GPS coordinates. I would expect the database to associate smart phone ownership with other social media accounts so anything posted from anywhere would be associated with the user's GPS coordinates. "The program uses the archived databases to identify "influential posters" and posting trends, according to the company's website. The program can also track the location of posters and map their movements."

Every user agreement for anything you use to communicate gives the provider permission to do this stuff. It's the back-door surveillance state and you've already agreed to it. The only way to escape this now is to go off-grid.

What really surprised me was how cheap the service is. $17,000 annually for the City of Lowell? Peanuts. Tells you how much business this company must be doing and how automated their product is.
 
Last edited:
Rating - 100%
13   0   0
Joined
Jul 5, 2009
Messages
4,542
Likes
2,152
I would like to know how exactly they know a post came from Lowell. Ip Location is not that precise. This type of system is really scarey and ripe for abuse.
That is an irrelevant detail. Dracut residents need equally to be subjected to a police state as well.

"We need this overreaching power to keep you safe, and will never use it beyond that purpose" sounds exactly like something Hitler would say.

Newsflash, Jack Booted Thugs of Lowell: your job of figuring out who is going to commit a crime is hard BY DESIGN, because per the Constitution, people are innocent until proven guilty; to be guilty, the act must first be perpetrated, and no amount of technology can allow you to predict pre-crime. The Grand Jury in NYC got it right in the case they cited.
 
Top Bottom