Tech tool offers police ‘mass surveillance on a budget’

By GARANCE BURKE and JASON DEAREN

September 2, 2022 GMT

Local law enforcement agencies from suburban Southern California to rural North Carolina have been using an obscure cellphone tracking tool, at times without search warrants, that gives them the power to follow people’s movements months back in time, according to public records and internal emails obtained by The Associated Press.

Police have used “Fog Reveal” to search hundreds of billions of records from 250 million mobile devices, and harnessed the data to create location analyses known among law enforcement as “patterns of life,” according to thousands of pages of records about the company.

Sold by Virginia-based Fog Data Science LLC, Fog Reveal has been used since at least 2018 in criminal investigations ranging from the murder of a nurse in Arkansas to tracing the movements of a potential participant in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. The tool is rarely, if ever, mentioned in court records, something that defense attorneys say makes it harder for them to properly defend their clients in cases in which the technology was used.

The company was developed by two former high-ranking Department of Homeland Security officials under former President George W. Bush. It relies on advertising identification numbers, which Fog officials say are culled from popular cellphone apps such as Waze, Starbucks and hundreds of others that target ads based on a person’s movements and interests, according to police emails. That information is then sold to companies like Fog.

“It’s sort of a mass surveillance program on a budget,” said Bennett Cyphers, a special adviser at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital privacy rights advocacy group.

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This story, supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, is part of an ongoing Associated Press series, “Tracked,” that investigates the power and consequences of decisions driven by algorithms on people’s everyday lives.

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The documents and emails were obtained by EFF through Freedom of Information Act requests. The group shared the files with The AP, which independently found that Fog sold its software in about 40 contracts to nearly two dozen agencies, according

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Ex-East Haven Police Officer Charged With Felony Pc Crimes

EAST HAVEN, CT —In November 2020, the FBI experienced begun a legal investigation involving an East Haven police officer “relating to community corruption fees,” according to court docket files obtained by Patch.

The investigation ended in May well 2021 with no the cop staying charged.

Meanwhile, the New Haven DEA Field Office environment had an investigation into drug trafficking in East Haven that integrated a federal warrant-issued wiretap. In the course of that probe, a cellphone discussion was intercepted that experienced a gentleman associated with the DEA’s “focus on” check with if the male had any person inside the East Haven Police Section to deliver data about “law enforcement action” in close proximity to the target’s residence. The person reported he did: his “godson,” according to courtroom paperwork.

Uncover out what is actually occurring in East Haven with totally free, actual-time updates from Patch.

It was the similar uncharged police officer staying investigated by the FBI, court paperwork state.

In December 2020, The Washington Submit included a photograph of East Haven law enforcement officers as the attribute impression on a countrywide security story about the Justice Department’s efforts to investigate unconstitutional police techniques. The East Haven Police Department was employed as an case in point of a accomplishment tale.

Locate out what is taking place in East Haven with free, genuine-time updates from Patch.

The law enforcement officer recognized in the photograph is Jonathan Andino, hired in 2014.

Andino is the police officer discovered by the DEA as the “godson” the man or woman inside the EHPD, in accordance to court docket files.

Rev. James Manship shakes palms with East Haven Law enforcement Officer Jonathan Andino as he fulfills with officers after a take a look at from Lawyer Standard Loretta Lynch for the duration of a group policing tour, Tuesday, July 21, 2015, in East Haven, Conn. Lynch is in Connecticut to spotlight enhancements in relations among law enforcement and Latinos given that four officers were being arrested in 2012 on abuse prices. Manship was arrested was arrested in 2009 and charged with interfering with the police immediately after
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