Tag Archives: probable cause

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.

Steve Martins Robo Plate Trolling Bill for Insurance Verification Curbed by Amendment

Kaye Beach

March 15, 2012

**update** video of House floor action on HB2525 here (choose HB2525)

Sometimes (like when you have the flu…) you really feel thankful for the work of the Oklahoma Watchdog.

Catching up on today’s legislative action in the House as hammered out by the Oklahoma Watchdog himself on Twitter, I found an intriguing description (all in 140 character or less!) of the action taken on the infamous Robo Cop bill by Rep. Steve Martin.

Of course this caught my eye first;

‘HB 2525 by Rep. Steve Martin passed tonight’

Ack!  But wait…there’s more.

It looks like Reynolds added an amendment that ensures that cops can’t just sit around running tags (manually or robotic-ally with the license plate reading cams) and checking to see if the vehicle is insured or not then pulling you over if the system indicates you are not insured.  There has to be some other reason for a stop first.

This ‘trolling’ of plates as a pretense for stopping and fining drivers is what had some Okies inflamed back in Feb. when the bill was first offered by Rep. Martin.

The video for this session is not up yet so I will have to check back tomorrow to be sure but from looking over the bill and amendments it does appear that the “trolling for plates” idea was sent to the curb by Rep. Reynolds!

As reported by the Oklahoma Watchdog on twitter   https://twitter.com/#!/WatchdogOK

  • now up, HB2525 by Steve Martin
  • Martin: one in four motorists are uninsured and law enforcement will need more tools to deal with this.
  • Williams asking if the Martin amendment is a floor substitute because he said “it replaces the bill”
  • Chair: it only amends one section, so it is not a floor substitute

(Martin’s Amendment here)

  • Reynolds amendment: this amendment requires probable cause before an officer can pull you over.

(Reynold’s Amendment here)

Reynold’s Amendment;

By deleting the language in the amendment

b.   at any other time, may access information from the online verification system and, if compliance is not confirmed, stop the operator of the motor vehicle and verify the current validity of the policy described on a security verification form produced by the operator.

And inserting

b.   at any other time, with probable cause, may access information from the online verification system and, if compliance is not confirmed, stop the operator of the motor vehicle and verify the current validity of the policy described on a security verification form produced by the operator.

  • Morrissette: what you’re trying to do is good, but I think it’s written incorrectly
  • Reynolds: you may be right but since I don’t even think we have enough members to suspend the rules I think we should go forward with this.
    • Virgin: so the officer must have probable cause to pull a driver over before checking insurance? Reynolds: yes. (Emphasis mine)
    • There will be debate on the Reynolds amendment to the Martin amendment.
    • My amendment ensures that the bill does what the author says he intends.
    • Reynolds amendment to the Martin amendment passes 39-25(Emphasis mine)
    • martin amendment adopted by voice vote.
    • McCullough: seems like you’re trying to create probable cause by checking the tag to see if there’s insurance(Emphasis mine)
    • Martin: that was the intent but with the Reynolds language it’s now back to existing law.
    • Holland: I just want to make sure that as it stands now, can a police officer run your plate and pull you over for not having insurance? (Emphasis mine)
    • Martin: under current law they cannot and under this bill they cannot. (Emphasis mine)
    • HB2525 passes 56-11

Okla. Texting Ban: The questions we weren’t supposed to ask (but did anyways)

Kaye Beach

Jan. 22, 2011

Based upon the complaints about enforceability coming from law enforcement officers nationwide and the fact that Oklahoma passed a pretty tough distracted driving law recently,  I asked Rep. Morgan some questions regarding  the necessity of  this bill and how it might address the enforcement issue.

More about problems with this legislation here

The Red Dirt Report reports:

OKLAHOMA CITY —  It appears that Oklahoma is poised to be the next state to ban texting-while-driving, at least if State Rep. Danny Morgan (D-Prague) has anything to do with it.

At a press conference held Wednesday afternoon at the State Capitol, Morgan, surrounded by a coalition of folks representing everything from AT&T to Triple A to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, said texting-while-driving is “a difficult task at best and dangerous at worst.”

He [Rep. Morgan] said his proposed legislation, HB 1316, co-authored by Sue Tibbs (R-Tulsa) has bipartisan support and would specifically prohibit not only texting while driving but also talking on cell phones while driving through school zones and construction zones.

. . .Interestingly, Oklahoma already has a distracted driving statute in place. However this would be more specific and give a chance for law enforcement to be “pro-active.” Read more from the Red Dirt Report

Christie Snoops by Cell Phone,Tracks Citizens Sans Warrant

Surveillance warrants? Nah, far too tricky, we don’t bother with them

30/04/2009 – by TelecomTV One

In the US, documents have been released showing that a former federal prosecutor who is running for governor of New Jersey on a Republican ticket approved the surveillance of American citizens via their mobile phones without bothering to go through all that tiresome business of having to get warrants to permit various agencies to conduct the spying, writes Martyn Warwick. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has published papers confirming that during his time in charge of the US Attorney General’s Office for the state of New Jersey, Christopher Christie convinced and cajoled judges to approve and permit the surveillance of private American citizens by federal authorities without producing the necessary evidence of a crime taking place, as is required by US law.

Mr. Christie was US Attorney for New Jersey between 2001 and December 1, 2008 when he resigned to “follow a political career”. If he secures the Republican Party’s primary in June, in a later election he would be set to fight the current governor, Jon Corzine, a Democrat.

Christie used his power and influence to persuade judges to ignore the strictures contained in a US Justice Department ruling that prosecutors must obtain “probable cause” warrants before conducting surveillance on individuals via location and call data obtained from mobile phones.

The documents obtained under the US Freedom of Information Act show that rather than go down the more rigorous route of applying for a warrant and adducing all the probable cause evidence required to be brought forward for examination before such a warrant is issued, Christie went through the much easier “court orde”r process 98 times between September 11, 2001 and November 30, 2008.

The ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation as pursuing a lawsuit against various states and federal agencies over alleged breaches of legal requirements for the tracking and surveillance of cell phone users.

EPIC News Your Rep. Could Use SB 483 more than just harmless Data Swapping

frecogSpotlight on Surveillance

September 2007   Proposed ‘Enhanced’ Licenses Are Costly to Security and PrivacyThis month, Spotlight shines on “enhanced” driver’s licenses, run by the Department of Homeland Security in conjunction with Arizona, Vermont, and Washington as part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (“WHTI”). The so-called “enhanced” driver’s licenses are being proposed to fulfill WHTI requirements. An “enhanced” driver’s license or identification card contains more data and different technology than current licenses and ID cards. Citizenship designations and wireless radio frequency identification (“RFID”) technology chips will be added to the cards. Under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, these new cards will be used as border identity documents. Arizona, Washington and Vermont are creating such RFID-enabled cards through pilot programs.



June 2007   “National Network” of Fusion Centers Raises Specter of COINTELPROThis month, Spotlight shines on fusion centers, which have received $380 million in federal grants and millions more from state governments. There are 43 current and planned fusion centers in the U.S., and some states have more than one. A “fusion center,” according to the Department of Justice, is a “mechanism to exchange information and intelligence, maximize resources, streamline operations, and improve the ability to fight crime and terrorism by analyzing data from a variety of sources,” which includes private sector firms and anonymous tipsters. When local and state fusion centers were first created, they were purely oriented toward counterterrorism, but, over time and with the escalating involvement of federal officials, fusion centers “have increasingly gravitated toward an all-crimes and even broader all-hazards approach.”



March 2007   Federal REAL ID Proposal Threatens Privacy and SecurityMore than two years after Congress rushed through passage of the REAL ID Act, the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) announced on March 1 proposed regulations that would turn the state driver’s license into a national identity card. The estimated cost of the plan could be as high as $23.1 billion, according to the federal government. The Department of Homeland Security regulations for Real ID would  (1) impose more difficult standards for acceptable identification documents that could limit the ability of individuals to get a state drivers license; (2) compel data verification procedures that the federal government itself is not capable of following; (3) mandate minimum data elements required on the face of and in the machine readable zone of the card; (4) require changes to the design of licenses and identification cards (4) expand schedules and procedures for retention and distribution of identification documents and other personal data; and (5) dictate security standards for the card, state motor vehicle facilities, and the personal data and documents collected in state motor vehicle databases.

February 2007   Proposed Federal Budget Funds Questionable Surveillance ProgramsPresident Bush’s $2.9 trillion budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2008 is a 4.2 percent increase over last year’s budget. Agencies, other than the departments of State, Defense and Homeland Security, will receive increases of about 1 percent, less than the rate of inflation. Assistance to state and local law enforcement for community policing and local prosecutions has been cut by 70 percent. The proposed budget includes funding increases for several questionable surveillance programs, among them: Secure Flight, Automated Targeting System, and Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative PASS Card, Transportation Worker Identification Credential, Employee Eligibility Verification program, and the national DNA database.




August 2006   Homeland Security PASS Card: Leave Home Without ItThe Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 mandated that, by January 2008, the departments of Homeland Security and State develop and implement a plan to require U.S. citizens and foreign nationals to present a passport or other documents to prove identity and citizenship when entering the United States from certain countries in North, Central or South America. This program is called the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, and its impact is the greatest upon U.S. citizens who routinely cross the border. Accepted documents for U.S. citizens will be either a valid U.S. passport or the proposed People Access Security Service (PASS) card, which, if adopted as proposed, would include a long-range wireless technology that would create an increased security risk.


June 2006   Treasury’s International Finance Tracking Program of Questionable LegalityOn June 23, 2006, news articles by the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and Wall Street Journal described a massive Treasury Department program to secretly review international financial transactions, including those of American citizens and corporations. The Treasury Department has requested $58.6 billion for Fiscal Year 2007. Its Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, which includes the international finance tracking program, would receive $90 million.

May 2006   Veterans Affairs’ Security Failures Put Data of Military Personnel at RiskVeterans Affairs has been in the news recently because of a huge information security breach that resulted in the theft of unencrypted data affecting 26.5 million people. The agency has estimated that it will cost between $100 million to $500 million to prevent and cover possible losses from the data theft. Though the theft occurred on May 3, 2006, the agency waited until May 22 to inform those who were affected. The delay was just one of many failures by Veterans Affairs in this incident. For Fiscal Year 2007, Veterans Affairs has requested $80.6 billion, $1.3 billion of which is for the agency’s information technology systems.


March 2006   IRS’s Inadequate Security Leaves Taxpayer Data Largely UnprotectedThis month, Spotlight surveys the Internal Revenue Service amidst recent questions concerning its information-sharing regulations and security systems. Recently, IRS has come under fire for issues related to individual privacy. Government reports have found that the agency has poor physical and electronic security, and it has had considerable trouble with its contractors improperly accessing and collecting sensitive taxpayer information.

February 2006   Anti-terrorism Funds Wrongly Spent on Highway Safety ProgramsThis month, we Spotlight the Highway Watch program, a cooperative agreement between the Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the American Trucking Association (ATA). About $40 million in federal funds have been spent on the program, and $4.8 million in funds have been requested for Fiscal Year 2007. The program aims to provide anti-terrorism training to “truck and bus drivers, school bus drivers, highway maintenance crews, bridge and tunnel toll collectors and others” so that they will be able to “recognize and report suspicious activity.” However, the Highway Watch program began as, and continues to be, a safety awareness program. As such, it should not receive anti-terrorism grants from Homeland Security.


December 2005   D.C.’s Camera System Should Focus on Emergencies, Not Daily LifeTens of millions in federal homeland security funds have been allotted to surveillance systems such as the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department’s Closed Circuit Television System (CCTV). The D.C. cameras are turned on only during major events and in emergency situations, but after the July bombings in London, D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams called for more federal funds to expand the use of the camera surveillance system. Mayor Williams “also proposed adding cameras to neighborhoods, parks, recreation centers and commercial areas throughout the city.” Camera surveillance networks are proliferating in cities across the country, but studies show that such systems have little effect on crime. It is more effective to place more officers on the streets than have them watching people on monitors. The systems also raise privacy issues. Without tight legal controls on the use of camera surveillance systems, there are significant risks of misuse or abuse.

November 2005   Facial Recognition Systems Have an Ugly Effect on Personal PrivacyIn Fiscal Year 2006, the federal government plans to add facial recognition checks to all visa applications, which already include fingerprint biometrics. This is despite the Government Accountability Office’s estimate that incorporating biometric systems into visas would cost from $1.3 billion to $2.9 billion for startup, and $700 million to $1.5 billion for annual operating costs. New U.S. passports and national identification cards created under the REAL ID Act of 2005 will both include digital photographs that can be linked to facial recognition systems. However, several tests, including those conducted by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Department of Defense, show that facial recognition systems can be easily befuddled by uncooperative subjects and changes in the environment, such as positioning or lighting. Such facial recognition systems create significant privacy risks because the technique is surreptitious, the prospects for extensive profiling are clear, and there are no laws that currently regulate these systems to prevent abuse.

October 2005   Registered Traveler Card: A Privatized Passenger IDThe government has spent about $20 million on a test version of the Transportation Security Administration’s Registered Traveler program. The pilot program began a year ago and recently ended at five airports; however, a private business is continuing the program at Orlando International Airport and there are plans to expand the air traveler prescreening program to many airports across the nation. No money has been allotted toward the program in the Fiscal Year 2006 budget; however, TSA continues to pay $30 to $50 apiece for background checks on applicants and members of the private program, named “Clear” and operated by Verified Identity Pass Inc.


August 2005   Unmanned Planes Offer New Opportunities for Clandestine Government TrackingUnmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also called drones, “are defined as a powered aerial vehicle that does not carry a human operator, uses aerodynamic forces to provide lift, can fly autonomously or be piloted remotely, can be expendable or recoverable, and can carry lethal or nonlethal payloads.” The different types of UAVs can range in cost from $350,000 to $4.5 million each. For Fiscal Year 2006, the Department of Homeland Security is budgeting $58 million for operation and maintenance of deep water assets, including funds for UAVs. The Homeland Security Appropriations Act provided $10 million for the use of UAVs in border security for Fiscal Year 2005.


June 2005   Transportation Agency’s Plan to X-Ray Travelers Should Be Stripped of FundingAirport security has undergone significant changes since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Recently, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced a proposal to purchase and deploy “backscatter” X-ray machines to search air travelers at select airports. TSA said it believes that use of the machines is less invasive than pat-down searches. However, these machines, which show detailed images of a person’s naked body, are equivalent to a “virtual strip search” for all air travelers. This proposal, along with the agency’s controversial plan to profile air travelers, shows extraordinary disregard for the privacy rights of air travelers. The Department of Homeland Security is requesting $72 million to invest in detection systems, which includes funding for the backscatter machines, which cost between $100,000 and $200,000 each.

May 2005   More Cities Deploy Camera Surveillance Systems with Federal Grant MoneyThe Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has requested more than $2 billion to finance grants to state and local governments for homeland security needs. Some of this money is being used by state and local governments to create networks of surveillance cameras to watch over the public in the streets, shopping centers, at airports and more. However, studies have found that such surveillance systems have little effect on crime, and that it is more effective to place more officers on the streets and improve lighting in high-crime areas. There are significant concerns about citizens’ privacy rights and misuse or abuse of the system.

April 2005   Homeland Security ID Card Is Not So SecureThe Department of Homeland Security Access Card (DAC) has vulnerabilities associated with its use of radio frequency identification (RFID) and Bluetooth technologies, biometric identifiers and PIN backup system. But there are also risks that come from the DAC’s “mission creep”; the Department also wants the card to be used as a payment device for everyday items. The Department requests $6 million for the DAC program in FY 2006.Exchange with CNET News.com

Related News

  • News articles questioning cost and effectiveness of DHS programs:
    [part 1] [part 2]


EPIC Home Page | EPIC Privacy Page

NSA Spying-Worse that we Know

Whistleblower: NSA spied on everyone, targeted journalists

David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Wednesday January 21, 2009




Former National Security Agency analyst Russell Tice, who helped expose the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping in December 2005, has now come forward with even more startling allegations. Tice told MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann on Wednesday that the programs that spied on Americans were not only much broader than previously acknowledged but specifically targeted journalists.
“The National Security Agency had access to all Americans’ communications — faxes, phone calls, and their computer communications,” Tice claimed. “It didn’t matter whether you were in Kansas, in the middle of the country, and you never made foreign communications at all. They monitored all communications.” (my emphasis added)


Tice further explained that “even for the NSA it’s impossible to literally collect all communications. … What was done was sort of an ability to look at the metadata … and ferret that information to determine what communications would ultimately be collected.”
According to Tice, in addition to this “low-tech, dragnet” approach, the NSA also had the ability to hone in on specific groups, and that was the aspect he himself was involved with. However, even within the NSA there was a cover story meant to prevent people like Tice from realizing what they were doing.


“In one of the operations that I was in, we looked at organizations, just supposedly so that we would not target them,” Tice told Olbermann. “What I was finding out, though, is that the collection on those organizations was 24/7 and 365 days a year — and it made no sense. … I started to investigate that. That’s about the time when they came after me to fire me.”

Rest of the story here;



This was not a driftnet.  This was not dragnet.

The government doesn’t and didn’t have a massive computer listening into phone calls and emails inside the United States listening for keywords. That technology you’ve seen in movies like the Bourne Identity — we don’t use that.

That’s what the Attorney General Michal Mukasey reiterated to a federal court Saturday, denying the NSA or its telecom partners engaged in “dragnet” collection on the contents of millions of communications […] for the purpose of analyzing those communication through key word searches to obtain information about possible terrorist attacks.” (emphasis in original)

And since that did not happen, the dozens of suits filed against companies such as AT&T alleging such a thing should be dismissed, according to Mukasey, who was invoking the telecom immunity provisions passed by Congress in July.

That same bill legalized most of the spying program that was not a dragnet. It also oddly legalized dragnet surveillance of Americans’ international communications.

So if there’s no Big Brother ear listening for the perfectly wrong word, what was going on?

Well, one might look to the things Mukasey would not deny or perhaps, look closer at the language of the denial (.pdf).

As for the widely reported allegation that the nation’s telecoms turned over Americans’ phone records to the government so its computers could sort through them to decide who looked like a terrorist?

The Attorney General refused to say publicly if that happened since doing so would destroy the nation faster than a trillion dollars in sham mortgages. Never mind that more than a handful of federal lawmakers briefed on the matter in 2006 confirmed media reports that such records were turned over. (my emphasis added)

There’s quite a wealth of information that can be gleaned from simply analyzing who calls whom and whom that whom calls next.

But Mukasey did admit in the public version of his filings to U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker that the carriers either didn’t do this or did so after the government told them that government lawyers thought it was legal, even though getting a single American’s phone records in a criminal case requires a judge’s order.

Either way, the AG said, the suits should be dismissed immediately or else such companies will never help again in the future when the government shows up with a secret and legally dubious request for records about Americans.

The government admits that the warrantless wiretapping of Americans’ international phone calls and emails is only a part of its secret post 9/11 intelligence operations inside the country. And it admits that some telecoms helped its so-called Terrorist Surveillance Program or TSP

But admitting which ones did and did not? Mukasey again withheld the goods, telling the court that disclosing publicly “whether particular provider-defendants assisted with the TSP would cause exceptional harm to national security.”

As for whether the telecoms turned over billions of communications to the government for analysis by algorithms that are smarter than key word searches for the word ‘bomb’ or ‘jihad’? The Attorney General artfully did not admit or deny.

What about storing communications in bulk for months or years simply for retrieval for future analysis?  (my emphasis added) The Attorney General artfully did not admit or deny.

Some legal scholars — including the influential federal court judge Richard Posner argue that collecting everything and having algorithms sort through the country’s SMS messages, emails and phone calls doesn’t amount to surveillance, until a human looks at communications flagged by the computer.

hmmmmm…..same argument made in Singapore.  Want to live there? https://axiomamuse.wordpress.com/2009/01/21/son-of-poindexters-total-information-awareness-singapore/


So if we are to take the Attorney General at his word — that leaves a very interesting question that still hasn’t been answered despite some outstanding behind-the-scenes reporting on the fight inside the Bush Administration over the program.

What was the government doing — if not a keyword dragnet — that led the top ranks of the Justice Department, including then Attorney General John Ashcroft, and the head of the FBI Robert Mueller to threaten to resign en masse?

One suspects it has something to do with purely domestic communications, which don’t come close to falling into the grey zones of the complicated rules about when the government does and does not need a court order to wiretap.

Anyone have any hypotheses. or better  yet, documents?



January 23rd, 2009

Tice: NSA mixed spying with credit card data


NSA whistleblower: warrantless wiretaps targeted journos

Door to room 641A cracked open

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