Category Archives: Privacy

Texas DPS’ Face and ALL Ten Prints Biometric Policy Makes Everone a Suspect

lineup

Kaye Beach
July 14, 2014

Like Oklahoma, Texas requires applicants for a state drivers license or ID card to submit to his or her facial and finger biometrics to being captured and stored. But Texas has recently upped the ante requiring those who wish to have a state issued driver’s license of ID card, to submit to the scanning and retention of all ten fingerprints.

Texas lawmakers have passed legislation that allows the Department of Public Safety to get all ten of your fingerprints the next time you renew your drivers license. And the DPS quietly began doing that this year.

‘To Cut Down On Fraud, DPS Wants Fingerprints To Renew Drivers License,’

If you are already offended by the notion of the notion of being fingerprinted like a common criminal just to get an driver’s license or ID card you will be horrified by what Ryan Barrett, a former DPS employee who resigned over the new fingerprinting policy, reveals about what is actually being done with the data.

His main objection, he tells The Watchdog, is that all fingerprints of Texans are now being run through the state’s criminal database. (my bold)

…Barrett says he is not against catching criminals. The problem, he says, is that if someone has no criminal record, a new record is created of the innocent individual and stored in the statewide database called AFIS.

…Barrett says he believes the reason DPS quietly launched the program this year without public announcement is because such a public notice would have touched off a debate about the program’s legality.

Read more, ‘The Watchdog: Whistleblower blasts DPS for taking fingerprints,’ July 12, 2014, DallasNews.com

Dave Lieber, Watchdog Reporter for the Dallas Morning News is doing a fine job of investigating and reporting on this story which he first reported  on back on June 7, 2014.

Watchdog: Driver’s license centers snatch your fingerprints

[. . .]Quietly, earlier this year, the Texas Department of Public Safety began requiring full sets of fingerprints from everyone who obtains a new driver’s license or photo identification card.

[. . .]Since 2010, Texas has used facial recognition software to match driver’s license photos with government databases looking for persons wanted by law enforcement for various reasons.

The state’s Image Verification System also matches known faces from driver’s licenses and photo ID cards with sketches of criminal suspects, a Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman explained in answer to The Watchdog’s questions.

[. . . ]In the Texas Homeland Security Strategic Plan, which Marina found, authorities cite identity theft and terrorism as two motivators for using fingerprints and facial recognition software.

Checking fingerprints, the plan says, will help officials locate people seeking a second, unauthorized identification card.

The plan states that fingerprints will be compared with the federal Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System to identify criminals and terrorists.  Read more

July 12, 2014 article, The Watchdog: Whistleblower blasts DPS for taking fingerprints

And here is Lieber’s article published today, July 14, 2014, that allows the whistleblower and a representative for the Texas Department of Public Safety,  to both give their perspective in their own words.

Judge for yourself if fingerprint taking is necessary for Texas driver’s licenses

 

I love the DPS whistleblower, Ryan Barrett’s,  final thoughts on the matter.

‘…you can use any means or methods to stop crime and then justify it with the DPS’s blanket ‘safety’ statement.  You can say the DPS is placing RFID chips in all driver’s license holders, and then justify it with the the same sentence Tom used: that it stops fraud, combats terrorism, and keeps people safe.  In fact, I’m sure it probably would stop a little fraud, or some crime, but that doesn’t mean it is morally right, in line with the concept of citizens’ privacy, or cost-effective.  You could search every single house in a city when a crime is committed and justify it with that statement, and yes, the police would probably find some crime or wrong-doing.  But again, that doesn’t mean it’s morally right…’

Read more, ‘The Watchdog: Whistleblower blasts DPS for taking fingerprints,’ July 12, 2014, DallasNews.com

Oklahoma Bill to Stop Unconstitutional NSA Actions!

SB 1252 nsa

Kaye Beach

Jan. 28, 2014

SB 1252 The Fourth Amendment Protection Act by Sen. Nathan Dahm has been assigned to the Rules Committee.  Read more about SB 1252 here and you can read the bill (SB 1252) here

The bill must receive a majority vote to pass and your support can make the difference.  Specific action items are provided below.

A nationwide coalition, Nullify NSA, has formed in an effort limit NSA surveillance abuses through state legislation.

Nullify NSA website http://nullifynsa.com/

Nullify NSA on Facebook

The most important part of SB 1252 would bring a halt to the practice of  NSA intelligence being used to investigate people on matters unrelated to national security and then cover up the source of the information as was revealed by Reuters a few months ago.

(Reuters) – A  secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation  to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.. . .documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin – not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from  prosecutors and judges.  Read more

That revelation was responsible for the outburst from one outraged Oklahoma Republican at a Town Hall meeting that went viral last August.

Apparently OK Congressman Lankford was less than fully informed about some of the NSA’s programs that were being reported on, along with documentation, by the news media.  His audience, however,  was informed and Rep. Lankford’s seeming denials of what was known produced some understandable consternation.

Shortly after being challenged about the NSA’s activities at the Town Hall meeting, Rep. Lankford issued this statement:

“As a Member of Congress, I expect to receive accurate and complete information from a federal agency when requested. It is absurd that the
intelligence community was not completely forthcoming in its answers about classified government programs misusing Americans’ private information.  An agency that cannot fully answer questions asked by a  co-equal branch of government can expect significant structural changes and stringent oversight in the future.”

SB 1252 would put a stop to the NSA secretively passing on information collected  about Oklahomans without a warrant.

With the Fourth Amendment Protection Act in place (SB 1252), defense attorneys will be able to challenge data gathered without a warrants and passed on to state or local law enforcement.  Such data would be excluded as evidence. Judges will be obligated to disallow data gathered without a warrant.

“We know the NSA is sharing unconstitutionally gathered information with state and local law enforcement agencies – and it has nothing to do with keeping us safe from terrorists. This should offend every American who cares about the Constitution,” Tenth Amendment Center communications director Mike Maharrey. “Oklahoma may not be able to stop the NSA from vacuuming up the data, but it can darn sure make it as useless as a three dollar bill to state and local cops.” Read more

Nullify NSA provides the following Oklahoma action items to support SB 1252 in Oklahoma:

Oklahoma Action Steps

On January 6, SB1252 was prefiled by Sen. Nathan Dahm. This bill would big steps forward to protect Oklahoma residents from unwarranted surveillance (learn about it here).

STATUS – SB1252 has been assigned to the Rules committee where it will need to pass by majority vote.

YOUR ACTION IS NEEDED NOW. It doesn’t matter where in Oklahoma you live, take these actions today.

1. Contact the Committee Chairman.  Be strong but respectful. Ask her to promptly move SB1252 forward to a hearing and vote in the committee. Ask her to vote YES on SB1252

AJ Griffin (405) 521-5628 griffin@oksenate.gov

2. Contact all the other members of the committee. Again, be strong but respectful. Ask them each for a YES vote on SB1849. If they say they’re opposed, ask them why. If they’re undecided or will not commit to a YES vote, let them know you will be following up in a few days after they have a chance to consider it.

Rob Johnson (405) 521-5592 johnsonr@oksenate.gov
Don Barrington 405.521.5563 barrington@oksenate.gov
Cliff Branan (405) 521-5543 branan@oksenate.gov
Kim David (405) 521-5590 david@oksenate.gov
Eddie Fields (405) 521-5581 efields@oksenate.gov
John Ford (405) 521-5634 fordj@oksenate.gov
Jim Hlligan 405.521.5572 halligan@oksenate.gov
Constance Johnson (405) 521-5531 johnsonc@oksenate.gov
Clark Jolley (405) 521-5622 jolley@oksenate.gov
Ron Justice (405) 521-5537 justice@oksenate.gov
Bryce Marlatt 405.521.5626 marlatt@oksenate.gov
Al McAffrey (405) 521-5610 mcaffrey@oksenate.gov
Jubar Shumate (405) 521-5598 shumate@oksenate.gov
Frank Simpson (405) 521-5607 simpson@oksenate.gov
John Sparks (405) 521-5553 sparks@oksenate.gov
Rob Standridge (405) 521-5535  standridge@oksenate.gov
Gary Stanislowski 405.521.5624 stanislawski@oksenate.gov
Charles Wyrick (405) 521-5561 wyrick@oksenate.gov

3. Call Back – any NO or UNDECIDED – in 3-4 days. Ask if they’ve had a chance to review the legislation and what their opposition might be. Comment below or contact us at info@offnow.org with any information you get.

4.  on Twitter?  Retweet

5. Write a letter to the editor. Look up your local newspaper and submit a letter to the editor voicing your support for SB1252. Following strong legal principles, it’s essential that Oklahoma no longer help the federal government spy on all of us. Passing SB1252 will make that happen.

http://offnow.org/oklahoma/

Secret Service nabs Oklahoma driver’s license equipment burglars

secret service

Kaye Beach

August 20, 2013

Two men are accused of committing multiple felony burglaries at metro area tag agencies. They were after only one thing – the equipment and supplies needed to make Oklahoma driver’s licenses and ID cards.  The Secret Service nabbed them.

Wonder why the Secret Service is involved when the charges were filed in Oklahoma County District Court and not federal court.

Apparently 591 customers had their personal information stolen along with the equipment prompting a notice from the Dept. of Public Safety with instructions on how to get a replacement license or state photo ID.

We keep piling on security feature like biometrics to our state driver’s license but the weakest link is the local DMV or tag agencies as the case is in Oklahoma.  This sort of crime is happening all over the country.  DMV employees are being bribed and license making equipment stolen.  All the personal data and high tech security features in the world will not t make the card secure.  Instead what it does is  make the document a hot commodity for crooks.

Read more from the Edmond Sun who broke the story on August 19th.

Affidavit: Tag agency suspects confess to metro crime spree

State’s Giving Feds Trolling Rights to DMV Facial Biometric Databases

Biometrics getting personal

Kaye Beach

June 17, 2013

The Washington Post published what is probably one of the most comprehensive and clear (major media) articles to date on the state departments of motor vehicles’ biometric databases and how they are increasingly being utilized to undermine the presumption of innocence and rob us of our right to be left alone.

State photo-ID databases become troves for police

“Facial-recognition systems are more pervasive and can be deployed remotely, without subjects knowing that their faces have been captured.   Today’s driver’s-license databases, which also include millions of images of people who get non-driver ID cards to open bank accounts or board airplanes, typically were made available for police searches with little public notice.”

The Washington Post reports;

“Thirty-seven states now use ­facial-recognition technology in their driver’s-license registries, a Washington Post review found. At least 26
of those allow state, local or federal law enforcement agencies to search — or request searches — of photo databases. . .”

The Washington Post also notes that;

“The current version of the Senate’s immigration bill would dramatically expand an electronic photo-verification system, probably relying on access to driver’s-license registries.”

The New York Times reported on this a few days ago;

WASHINGTON — Driver’s license photographs and biographic information of most Americans would be accessible through an expanded Department of Homeland Security nationwide computer network if the immigration legislation pending before the Senate becomes law.

. . . the Senate bill would direct the department to expand the photo program by offering grants to states if they allow the department to tap into their driver’s license photo records

Read more; Fears of National ID With Immigration Bill

The Constitutional Alliance first sounded  the alarm on April 17th;

“If you want to work, travel, buy, or sell you will be forced to be enrolled into this global system of identification.” 

Read more from the Constitutional Alliance; You are being enrolled into a global identity scheme which controls your ability to buy, sell, travel and now work !!!

Our government is working diligently to ‘connect the dots’  We need to do the same – please read the Washington Post’s article on the state’s biometric databases along with  the ones linked above.

Bar Shares Scanned ID Card Data with Cops

bar code escape

Kaye Beach

June 1, 2013

Hat tip to Steve Spingola http://www.badgerwordsmith.com/spingolafiles/

Update June 2, 2013 and here is Steve’s article on the matter:  In Appleton, Wisconsin, Having a Cold One is Now the Government’s Business

 

Across the country, citizens are surprised and sometimes outraged by increasing demands by businesses and government to submit to the instant capture and downloading of all of the data contained on their driver’s licenses and ID cards as a condition for ACCESS.

You might wonder what your data is being used for after it is taken.

(Read- ‘Best Buy’s Worst Policy-Swiping ID’s and Destiny Management’)

The answer is whatever they want to use it for including letting law enforcement troll through it looking for any naughty law-breakers.

The article below gives one example of how your once lowly driver’s license that is now empowered with machine readable technology (RFID or 2D barcodes) and your facial biometrics, is performing exactly as designed.  These technologies are designed to make you easier to track, monitor and control.

If my license must be scanned as a condition to access an establishment, then that is a place I will not go.

In Appleton, bar owners share patron data with police seeking probation violators

Owners of Appleton’s more popular bars turning over data on all their patrons to police, who use it to find people violating probation and those wanted on warrants.

According to the Appleton Post-Crescent, last year data was collected on some 8,500 bar goers, including 241 who were not supposed to be going to the establishments.

The practice has raised some privacy concerns.

“The technology doesn’t give any particular thought to privacy concerns since everybody who enters gets scanned,” Chris Ahmuty, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin, told the Post-Crescent.

Appleton police loan two high-tech scanners to the city’s high-volume bars, who use them for everyone who enters. The scanners detect fake IDs and let bouncers block those users’ entrance.

But the scanners also store up names, ages and addresses from every ID scanned, data the police then download from the scanners and cross-checked against lists of probationers and those wanted on warrants.

Some bars who buy their own scanners use the data gathered for marketing purposes as well.

Read more

Integris Health Hospital Employee Balks at Patient Biometric Scans

palm vein

Kaye Beach
April 24, 2013

Almost no one would disagree that our government aided by its corporate partners, has become increasingly intrusive and data hungry. At every turn it seems we are being measured, monitored, tracked or surveyed in some way.  (If you are one of those who doesn’t care if you are constantly scrutinized by governments and corporations,  you can stop reading now.  I have no advice to offer you for your broken survival instinct.)

The level of surveillance of a population that will be achieved is predicated on four simple elements; 1) Money  2) Man power (or technology)  3) Political will  4) public acceptance of the surveillance.

For ordinary citizens who are alarmed about the implications of living in a pervasive surveillance state, element four, public acceptance, is the arena where we live or die and we know it. This is why I want to share with you one example of an ordinary citizen who has taken a stand in that arena.

Until yesterday, Maggie was a full time employee of INTEGRIS Hospital in Grove Oklahoma working in the patient registration department but the addition of a new biometric patient identification system at INTEGRIS has caused her to do some soul searching.

The use of biometrics in health care will likely increase in the  coming years as the industry shifts toward electronic medical records and other health information technologies as required under both the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 http://leg2.state.va.us/dls/h&sdocs.nsf/By+Year/HD102010/$file/HD10.pdf

(Backgrounder-Find out what Health Care Reform is really about here)

Biometrics just means measurement of the body and refers to technology that is used to take these measurements and convert them to digital code for the purpose of identification.  When it comes to tracking, tracing, surveillance and control of the population, biometric identification is the ultimate tool for control and so we should be especially wary about the collecting of our biometric data.

Maggie is wary and has taken a stand against it.  She is suffering the consequences of doing so.

patientsecure 1

PatientSecure Palm Vein Biometric Identification System

Back in Dec. of 2012 INTEGRIS began installing and started training using the PatientSecure Palm Vein Biometric Identification System in the registration departments.  PatientSecure uses infrared light to scan and map the veins in the right palm of patients for identification purposes.  When PatientSecure was introduced there was no requirement for employees to enroll patients but according to Maggie, they were encouraged to do so.  Before long, pressure by INTEGRIS to enroll all patients into the PatientSecure system mounted as did Maggie’s concerns about the system.

Her objections to performing the biometric enrolment are twofold.

1) Maggie believes that the information given to patients about the benefits of PatientSecure is misleading.

2) Biometrically enrolling patients is a violation of her religious convictions.

I think it is important to point out that while biometric ID is often pitched as the way to irrefutably prove that you are who you say you are but that is not true.  Biometrics do not prove your identity.  Think about it.  The biometric data collected is attributed to the identity documents that a person provides.  If those identity documents are fraudulent, the addition of biometrics only reinforces the fraudulent identity.  In other words, garbage in, garbage out.

benefits patientsecure

Maggie writes, “We were told to inform patients that enrollment in the system would help prevent identify theft and insurance fraud on their accounts.”  Maggie doesn’t think that PatientSecure lives up to it’s own hype.

She is not alone.

PateintSecure – Inflated Claims

Experts in biometric systems have also pointed out that PatientSecure does not prevent identity fraud or theft.

Speaking specifically about Florida’s Baptist Health center’s new patient identification system, (which is PatientSecure, the same system used by Oklahoma’s INTEGRIS) a biometric technology professional points out that the system does not “stop identify theft” as claimed because the system can be easily circumvented at the time of enrollment.

To state the problem simply, PatientSecure uses a type of verification that “will not prevent a duplicate record from being created and opens the door for patients to enroll under multiple identities and commit fraud.”

(Source: M2sysy, ‘Biometric Patient Identification Technology Should Prevent Medical Identity Theft at the Point of Enrollment’ Dec. 18, 2012 http://blog.m2sys.com/comments-on-recent-biometric-news-stories/biometric-patient-identification-technology-should-prevent-medical-identity-theft-at-the-point-of-enrollment/)

A recent article posted at idRADAR, a privacy and identity security specific organization, makes a good point about the overselling of PatientSecure as a tool to prevent identity fraud;

“The palm scanner from PatientSecure has been adopted at numerous hospitals across the country.

As a tool to tackle medical identity theft and the theft of insurance benefits, palm scanner advocates argue that they’re a boost but an inquiring mind can see a number of other issues. What happens if someone has already stolen your medical data and their palm is the one scanned into the system? What would this mean if you had an emergency? Would you be denied care?”

(Source: idRADAR, ‘High Fives or Thumbs Down?’ Jan. 10, 2013 https://idradar.com/news-stories/technology/High-Fives-or-Thumbs-Down%3F)

PatientSecure suggests telling patients that “The next time you come in, you just give us your date of birth, we scan you hand and your record comes right up.” (Source: PatientSecure User Manual For INTEGRIS Health Sep 13, 2012)

But in reality, it doesn’t necessarily work so smoothly.  Maggie says that “. . .patients who had previously enrolled would often not properly pull up an account when presenting their palm for scan.”  

Informed Consent or Coercive Consent?

Another big concern here is that INTEGRIS does not gain formal consent from patients and employees are not instructed to tell patients, up-front, that the palm scan is optional.

If you are a patient at INTEGRIS your first introduction to PatientSecure will probably go something like this at the registration desk.

Registrar: “I am now going to link you to your medical record. Please make a “5” with your hand and place it on the hand guide with your middle finger between the finger dividers. Move your hand forward till it stops.” 

Then you may be told that, “This is our new system to keep you safe by linking you to your medical record and take the best care of you. It will also speed up your registration process.”

And that, “By linking you to your medical record no one can impersonate you.  You are protected against identity theft and we can even identify you in an emergency situation” (Source: PatientSecure User Manual For INTEGRIS Health Sep 13, 2012)

You will probably NOT be told that having your hand scanned for PatientSecure is completely optional.

Joel Reidenberg, a data privacy expert and professor at Fordham University Law School recently chided the vice president of NYU medical center for this exact policy omission when using PatientSecure.

. . . unless patients at N.Y.U. seem uncomfortable with the process, Ms. McClellan said, medical registration staff members don’t inform them that they can opt out of photos and scans.

“We don’t have formal consent,” Ms. McClellan said

Professor Reidenberg states that, “If they are not informing patients it is optional then effectively it is coerced consent.”

(Source: The NY Times, ‘When a Palm Reader Knows More Than Your Life Line,’ Nov. 10, 2012 http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/11/technology/biometric-data-gathering-sets-off-a-privacy-debate.html?_r=1&)

It is coercive because getting medical care is one of those essential human needs and few are going to do anything that might hinder their access to care.

“I reluctantly stuck my hand on the machine. If I demurred, I thought, perhaps I’d be denied medical care”

(Source: The NY Times, ‘When a Palm Reader Knows More Than Your Life Line,’ Nov. 10, 2012 http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/11/technology/biometric-data-gathering-sets-off-a-privacy-debate.html?_r=1&)                                        

Patients must be informed that providing their biometric data is OPTIONAL!  Formal consent is the most ethical way to handle this.

Taking a stand

In the early weeks of INTEGRIS’ use of PatientSecure, Maggie wrestled with her conscience about doing the scans on patients and since it was not required, she avoided doing them. Maggie also felt certain that it was only a matter of time before she would be called to account for the low number of patients she had palm scanned.

Maggie tells me that “After reflecting and praying, I felt compelled to no longer participate in the convincing and enrolling of patients into the biometrics palm vein system.  Not only did I feel that I was misleading the patients regarding the benefits of enrolling, I felt that my participation was a violation of my religious and spiritual beliefs.”

At this point Maggie spoke with her boss about her religious objections concerning the biometric scans and asked that she be exempted from enrolling patients in the PatientSecure biometric system. She was asked to produce some documentation regarding her religious beliefs and Maggie complied by provided a letter from Christian Pastor attesting to the sincerity of her religious convictions.

Consequences

Yesterday Maggie got some bad news.

She was asked to meet with her employer and was given a letter informing her that INTEGRIS could not accommodate her request to be exempted from the requirement of biometrically enrolling patients.  Instead INTEGRIS offered Maggie only one possible alternative.  She could be reassigned to another position and while the pay stayed the same as her current position the job would require a substantial commute with no travel differential allotted.

Now Maggie has to decide whether or not she will accept this position.  She is told she may try to find another position with INTEGRIS on her own but otherwise she will be terminated.

Maggie believes that her request for a religious accommodation is a reasonable one.  From her perspective the proffered alternative position seems more like punishment due to the drastic difference in travel time and also the hours and duties.

She notes, “It is also still not a “required” job function to use the palm scanners.  There are multiple people in my department that have never participated in the use of the palm scanners even though they register patients.  It has never been presented to us as official policy that we must use the palm scanners or that their use is a required function of our job.”

Some of us are wise to the dangers of collecting and sharing this data and we are beginning to see a few people, such as Maggie, that refuse to serve as unquestioning collectors and conduits of others’ personal and private information to the government and their corporate partners.

We will never know the stories of the countless people across this country every day that like Maggie, refuse to just go along with what they know to be dangerous and wrong.  But they are out there and each act of courage, each stand matters because they add up.

If we think what we do doesn’t matter, that resistance is futile, then we have already lost.  We can’t afford that.  Too much depends on the courage of each and every one of us.

Maggie is an example of what that courage looks like.

Resistance is the best tool we have in our arsenal to beat back Big Brother.


Florida Police use DMV Faceprints to Investigate Public

cctv_startseite

Kaye Beach

April 12, 2013

Imagine if law enforcement began randomly snatching citizens off the street and throwing them into a suspect line up with no probable cause.    In addition to the physical disruption to their lives selectees would be at risk of misidentification as the culprit for a crime they didn’t commit.  People would be outraged.

In Florida, the police are using facial biometrics gathered and stored by the DMV for Real ID with facial recognition technology to identify and investigate individuals in public, at will.

Presumption of innocence? Probable cause? Not necessary when everyone is a suspect.

We are just at the edge of an onslaught of similar stories that whether revealed or not are rooted in Real ID.

You and I have the dubious honor of being located in the slice of our generation that is going to gain a deep understanding of the value of our privacy. We will learn because we are the ones who once, having the luxury of relative obscurity, are watching it slip away. The loss for this slim section of humanity will be acute. For most of those born in the post 911 era and those who follow them, they will be hard pressed to realize what has been taken from them.

Oviedo approves use of facial recognition program for police use

April, 3, 2013

OVIEDO, Fla. —

More local police officers are getting a new crime fighting tool. Oviedo just agreed to allow police to tap into facial recognition software developed by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
The technology allows law enforcement to run photos through a database to help identify crime suspects.
What Oviedo just approved has been put to use in Winter Springs for almost a year.
The system is somewhat controversial because it allows law enforcement to search through driver’s license photos, even if you’ve never been accused of a crime.

Gov. Fallin and Steve McKeever’s Drone Questing Collaboration

fallin red queen

Kaye Beach

March 27, 2012

Interesting article published today by FastCompany;

Inside Oklahoma’s Quest To Dominate The American Drone Industry

How politicians, universities, and aerospace firms are teaming up to turn the Sooner State into America’s UAV capital.

. . .Oklahoma businesspeople, academics, and politicians are collaborating through an organization named USA-OK, which aims to make the heartland state the focal point of American UAV development. A quasi-affiliated group, the Governor’s Unmanned Aerial Systems Council (PDF), was formed via an executive order from Governor Mary Fallin in 2011. Both organizations are lobbying for commercial drone test sites in Oklahoma and increased government assistance [that means your tax dollars!] in luring more large military contractors to the state.

Stephen McKeever, Oklahoma’s Secretary of Science and Technology and a prominent figure in the state’s UAV industry, told Fast Company that Oklahoma is already home to approximately 15 companies servicing the UAV industry. . . According to McKeever, the state offers a variety of incentives and subsidies for aerospace companies of all sizes.

McKeever and Fallin are busy luring this industry to Oklahoma meanwhile Mckeever and Fallin killed HB 1556 which would have simply required law enforcement to get a warrant before engaging in targeted surveillance of individuals and prohibit weaponization of the drones.

. . .Last month, the FAA announced that they are seeking six domestic test sites for UAVs. Due to the obvious commercial possibilities in, say, selling small aircraft for $1,000 a pop to farmers and real estate agencies looking to do aerial monitoring on a budget, UAVs are potential huge business. Giants such as Boeing and hundreds of smaller companies see commercial UAV usage as a gold rush waiting to happen.

State authorities inside Oklahoma issued a strategic drone plan detailing ways to build up the local UAV industry. These plans center on bringing one of the domestic UAV test sites to Oklahoma, which already tests military UAVs. . .

The FastCompany article mentions the Oklahoma UAS [DRONE] Summit held this Tuesday in Norman, but like the media in general, provides little detail on the conference.  (No mention of ‘Pesky Critters’ at all.)

This week, a major UAV convention took place in Oklahoma as well. . . .The agenda includes discussions of UAV use by emergency first responders, the Homeland Security Department’s proposed domestic spy drones. . .

Drone manufacturers even have lobbyists. [You don't say!]  . . .Michael Toscano, the organization’s president, advocates the integration of commercial drones into American airspace. Toscano, in an interview, stressed job creation possibilities if the FAA legalizes commercial drones.

AUVSI spent big dollars in lobbying on the FAA bill that expanded the use of drones in US airspace.  Their money was well spent too.

As a PowerPoint presentation recently obtained by Republic Report shows, the industry group all but wrote the legislation. “Our suggestions were often taken word-for-word,” it says. Read More

Mr. Toscano wasalso  right by Gov. Fallin’s and Stephen McKeever’s side on Jan 17th at a press conference held at the State Capitol in order to unveil the marvelous benefits of drone technology that is being cultivated with our tax dollars.

Interestingly, Toscano thinks that there is no need for addition privacy regulation.

Toscano says the drone industry thinks existing laws are sufficient: ”We believe that your Fourth  Amendment rights are protected.

Well that figures since legislation like Oklahoma’s HB 1556 might interfere with what Toscano sees as an open market.

Toscano. . .says there are nearly 19,000 law enforcement entities in the United States, of which only 300 now have aerial surveillance capacities.

“Those departments have helicopters which cost about $1,500 an hour to operate,” Toscano says. “You can fly these drones for maybe less than $50 hour. A lot of smaller departments can now afford this technology.” read more

Fallin_UAS_0

At the Jan. 17th press conference, McKeever said;

 “We fully recognize that reasonable people could have reasonable concerns and these must be dealt with that’s what our elected officials and government authorities are for.”

Fallin added that;

“We’re not interested in spying on anyone.”

Mary Fallin isn’t counting the little people.  Maybe she doesn’t consider what we would consider spying as spying.  Maybe she just thinks of as over sight.

Did you know that ‘OverSite’  is actually another great surveillance technology program  being promoted out of OSU’s Multispectral Laboratories and tested on unsuspecting Oklahomans at sporting events. 

‘To look at their RV parked at a game or concert, you’d never know that inside is all this technology and more’ link

umlThe Oklahoma State University Multispectral Laboratories (UML) is a public-private partnership “between the University and Anchor Dynamics Inc (ADI), which receives support from Ponca City Development Authority and ConocoPhillips, designed to accelerate commercialization of new technologies.”  http://www.okstate-uml.org/content/company-history

The UML acts as a “Trusted Agent” for U.S. Government, technology developers and operators.

Naturally, like the non-spying drones,  this is being done with a little boost from the non-spying Department of Homeland Security

The proof of concept demonstration was funded by the Department of Homeland Security. Link

OverSite incorporates facial recognition technology and a trick camera to spy on the crowd without them ever knowing a thing.  (but it’s not spying! It’s ‘OverSite’!) Read more 

And with all of the time, energy and money that has been spent, not one thing has been done to address the biggest concern of ordinary Oklahomans which is their privacy and safety.  It is the ordinary people of this state, after all,  who are paying for the ‘incentives’ being offered to court the drone industry here.

Little people, little problems.  We have our nightmares and they have their dreams. . .

Stephen McKeever, a transplanted Brit living in Oklahoma, dreams of turning his state into the capital for drones — the unmanned aircraft that, the Federal Aviation Administration predicts, will swarm the skies by the thousands within two decades. Read more

‘Pesky Critters’ and the Oklahoma Drone Summit 2013

UAS summit

Kaye Beach

**Update June 11, 2013

“Most recently in March 2013 Oklahoma was host to a UAS Summit in Norman,
OK which provided a platform for the state to describe its plans and
objectives with respect to UAS. The Summit covered a diverse set of
subjects and topics including the use of UAS for agriculture, advanced
weather monitoring and research, along with law enforcement and military
applications of UAS technology” Link

March 26, 2012

The 2013 Oklahoma Unmanned Aerial Systems Summit was held today in Norman. http://www.uasoklahoma.com/agenda2.pdf

I would have loved to attended this event but the attendance conditions were quite intimidating even if I had of found out about it in time.  I did scout about for information on social media where often tech events are heavily covered, without much luck.  Monitoring twitter proved disappointing.  Strange since the Summit included a ‘social media’ meeting last night.  Actually, I found just one person that was attending the event that was using twitter.  Courtney E Howard, the Editor in Chief – Avionics Intelligence.  You can read her tweets on the event here

This tweet of Howard’s I thought was rather funny;

People do say things [about #UAVs] that are ridiculous & they say it loudly.–Professor of Political Science at University of Oklahoma (OU)

She is quoting one of the last panelists in the line up today who were covering Privacy and Social Implications of drones.  This panel was chaired by Prof. Stephan Henderson

I wonder what ridiculous things people say loudly about the drones?  One of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard about drones actually comes from one of today’s speakers at the Oklahoma Unmanned Aerial Systems Summit.  His name is Kirk Kloeppel and he was slated to speak on the Department of Homeland Security’s RAPS program that Oklahoma was chosen as the test site for back in June of 2012.  RAPS stands for Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety.

First reports from the RAPS trials being run in our state struck me as pretty ridiculous since the press release from the Governors office studiously avoided mention of the rather obvious role that the police would play in the DHS’s RAPS program.

Governor Mary Fallin Joins Department of Homeland Security, Oklahoma National Guard to Announce New Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program in Oklahoma

Gov. Fallin assures the public that ‘drones for use by the military or police investigations will not be tested at the Oklahoma site.’

Source: NewsOK, June 29, 2012, Oklahoma chosen as test site for drones http://newsok.com/oklahoma-chosen-as-test-site-for-drones/article/3688386

Here is an excerpt from a reporters observation of the very first trials of RAPS;

FORT SILL — The small, winged drone quietly soared overhead as SWAT team members closed in on a building at Fort Sill.

When a suspect sprinted from the structure, the drone banked through a cloudless afternoon sky in an effort to track the person.

A few miles away, two Lockheed Martin technicians sat in a converted bedroom of a ranch-style house using a laptop computer to control the drone’s movements. They followed the action on a video relay.

NewsOK, Dec. 31, 2012 Wary eyes shift to the skies as unmanned aircraft are tested in state

So the RAPS program itself might strike some as being at least mildly ridiculous but what Kirk Kloeppel is best know for, his ‘Pesky Critters’ would almost certainly strike most as utterly ridiculous.

robofly

Pesky Critters was written by Kloeppel in 2005.  Here is a brief excerpt from the paper;

“The hunter-killer pursues specific individuals and eliminates them. These devices have the unique deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) signature for individual leadership in their memory and examine the environment for a match. Once the proper candidate is isolated, the fly inserts a probe into the victim, injecting a toxic substance or altering the victim’s own genetic material with a virulent composition, causing quick incapacitation. The victim notices the “sting” from the robot but considers it a pest and thinks nothing of the consequences.

A day or two would pass before the targeted leader is not a further factor in the warfighting. These miniscule vehicles offer a unique, stealthy cap ability for a government. From the exterior, the robots appear to be common houseflies. They mimic the performance of the housefly in nearly every aspect except for the internal composition. Their innocuous existence offers implementers military advantages. While the development of a hunter-killer weapon may breach legal boundaries, its potential is illustrative of the possible alternative applications, many of which, such as the intelligence and surveillance approaches, are perfectly legal.

The above scenario may seem implausible—something dreamed within the mind of a science fiction writer—but the capabilities are closer to reality than one might imagine. The design, manufacture, and use of an unmanned aerial vehicle the size of a common housefly is feasible and worth exploring.”

Read 34 more pages of ridiculousness here

Or check out some more recent work by Colonel Kirk Kloeppel;

Air Force scientists are looking for robotic bombs that look — and act — like swarms of bugs and birds. In a recent presentation, Colonel Kirk Kloeppel, head of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s munitions directorate, announced the Lab’s interest in “bio-inspired munitions.”

These, “small, autonomous” machines would “provide close-in [surveillance] information, in addition to killing intended targets,” the Colonel noted.  And they’d not only take out foes in urban canyons – the self-guided munitions would “operat[e] within buildings,” too.

Jan. 1, 2008 Wired, Air Force: Bug-Like Robo-Bombs for Indoor Ops

Or this Kloeppel presentation from 2009

Here is the most ridiculous thing of all about the drone explosion that has been actively courted and developed by Gov. Fallin with our tax dollars; not one thing has been done to protect the Fourth Amendment rights of the people she was elected to serve.

In fact, it was the direct intervention of Gov. Fallin and Stephen McKeever, her Secretary of Science and Technology, that killed the fairly narrowly tailored legislation that would have simply prohibited the police from doing targeted surveillance of individuals and equipping them with weapons.

This is what I call ridiculous!

Mary Fallin puts an end to Oklahoma’s drone privacy bill

IRS facing class action suit for medical record breach

irs

Kaye Beach

March 14, 2013

Via HealthITSecurity.com;

A HIPAA-covered entity of the Southern District of California announced today that it is suing 15 Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents for “an unlawful search and seizure conducted on March 11, 2011.” Though the surrounding details of the health data breach and pending class action lawsuit are minimal, Courthousenews.com reports that IRS agents have been accused of improperly accessing and taking 10 million medical records, such as the personal health records of all California state judges.

Read more