Posts tagged “DNA

Hackers & Blackmail: Our Future Electronic Concentration Camp

In his 2006 book No Place to Hide, journalist Robert O’Harrow, Jr. painted a troubling picture of America’s brave new world, where technology would track our every move.

Eight years later, O’Harrow’s writings have proved prophetic.  Within the scope of the last month, 110 million Americans have had their personnel data compromised courtesy of security flaws at Target.  Sources say that Target customers routinely had their driver’s license scanned after making certain purchases.  This data, along with specific credit card information, is now in the hands of Russian hackers.

“I’ll never shop at Target again,” said woman who had contacted SF.  “I felt very uncomfortable when they scanned my driver’s license at checkout.  I just thought that, being a major corporation, Target would have its act together.  Was I ever wrong.”

Today, Sen. Al Franken,  chairman of a Senate Committee on Privacy and Technology, demanded that Ford Motor Company discontinue the GPS tracking of persons who have purchased that company’s vehicles.

During recent remarks, Ford’s Vice President of Jim Farley stated, “We know everyone who breaks the law; we know when you’re doing it. We have GPS in your car, so we know what you’re doing.”  Farley went on to say that Ford is not supplying its customers’ data to anyone, although Franken claims that evidence exists that Ford is tracking individuals who drive their company’s vehicles and is supplying the data to third parties.

Then there is the NSA showing, yet again, why this Orwellian agency is an acronym for Never Say Anything.  The British newspaper, The Guardian, just published a piece indicating that the NSA routinely vacuums over 200 million text messages each day.

Unfortunately, this is just the beginning.  Things are bound to get  much, much worse.  Just wait until hackers get their hands on the medical records of Americans and use them to blackmail individuals.  It is not a reach to imagine a scenario where a ransom is demanded in bitcoin.  If this ransom goes unpaid, the hackers will disclose a list of psychiatric medications or disclose an individual’s personal medical information online.

And regardless of what our politicians promise, it will only be a matter of time before state and federal government DNA databases are compromised.  Imagine what an insurance company might be willing to pay for this information prior to underwriting health and life policies.

So keep playing with all those high-tech gadgets and continue believing that those who’ve warned of the Brave New World’s electronic concentration camp are simply delusional crackpots.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective.  He is set to appear on TNT’s show “Cold Justice,” on February 14.   His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. I & II, is available at Amazon.com.

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2014


The Military Draft, Big Brother, and Government Abuse

At a time when the U.S. is, according to President Obama, “winding down two wars,” why did Defense Secretary Leon Panetta suddenly feel the need to clear the way for women to serve in combat?

Reports suggest the change might open as many as 230,000 combat billets to women.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/23/women-in-combat_n_2535954.html?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl1%7Csec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D260883

Is the DOD’s move another step in the direction of gender equality or should a skeptical public read between the lines on the lookout for a hidden agenda?

Although Secretary Panetta’s move will undoubtedly be applauded by groups championing the rights of women, legal experts predict that the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment will likely require women, when attaining the age of 18, to register for the selective service (that’s the military draft for those too young to recall such a thing).

Federal law currently requires all American male citizens to register for the selective service at age 18, even if they have prior military experience. If they fail to do so, they are ineligible for a host of benefits, including guaranteed student loans.

But, why now—at a time when American military contingents in Iraq and Afghanistan are noticeably shrinking—would the DOD feel the need to expand the ranks of those eligible for combat readiness?

In November 2012, the Jerusalem Post published a report premised on a scenario created by the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) simulating the geopolitical response to a unilateral Israeli military strike against Iran.

http://www.jpost.com/Defense/Article.aspx?id=290357

Many military analysts believe that an Israeli attack to destroy Iranian nuclear facilities would likely have a six day window before the allies of Islamic republic—primarily Russia and China—would threaten to send in forces and expand the conflict.  While the United States would use it’s military and diplomatic resources to defend Israel, if the conflict is not contained, it might engulf the entire Middle East and ignite another world war.

Since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan pushed American military reserve units to the brink of burnout, the U.S. military would likely need at least 500,000 bodies to fill-in its ranks during a protracted military conflict involving another world power.

Many of these military combat billets, such as those aboard naval ships and others in the Air Force, could quickly and easily be filled by women, freeing-up males for infantry duty in the Army and Marine Corps.

No matter what the political class claims in public, an war in the Middle East would likely trigger the implementation of the selective service draft for both men and women, which is probably why the Pentagon is lifting its ban on the role of women in combat. The pool of potential combat enlistees, as well as those now eligible for the draft, just instantly doubled.

More on the Big Brother Technological Front

Earlier this month, SF chastised New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for their support of Orwellian policies that have slowly turned the Empire State and the Big Apple into a virtual electronic iron curtain.

http://www.badgerwordsmith.com/spingolafiles/2013/01/12/the-sorry-state-of-new-yorks-nannies/

Now the NYPD is testing a new device that allows its officers to detect concealed weapons on a person simply walking down the street. This instrument tests for “terahertz radiation,” which translates into heat being measured from the body. A reduction in the level of body heat when blocked by an item, such as a concealed handgun, will result in the object being outlined on the instrument’s monitor.

Having chided the NYPD in an earlier post for its random stop-and-frisk policy—one that a federal judge recently ruled violates the Fourth Amendment—this new device will likely prevent otherwise innocent parties—at least those suspected of carrying weapons—from being stopped and searched.  Yet the question remains: is it a violation of the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches when a government agent—absent a reasonable suspicion of wrong doing—randomly points an object in one’s direction in order to see through their clothing?

Why Trusting the Government to Protect Your Privacy is Bad Policy

In Wisconsin, Gov. Walker and Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen are on a crusade to expand the use of DNA collection.  Wisconsin law currently permits law enforcement to collect DNA samples from those convicted of felonies. The governor and the attorney general now want the legislature to approve a measure that would require those arrested for a felony or convicted of any misdemeanor, no matter how minor, to submit a DNA sample.

“As attorney general, I am committed to protecting the privacy of offenders’ genetic information,” Van Hollen wrote in an Op-Ed published in various state newspapers. “My proposal does not change any restrictions that limit the release or use of the collected specimens or DNA profiles for any purpose other than legitimate criminal justice purposes. Further, this proposal also contains provisions that require the CLB to destroy DNA specimens and purge the related profile in the DNA data bank of those offenders whose DNA has been collected at arrest and who were not charged with the crime, or, if charged, were not convicted of a crime.”

In reality, however, the attorney general is being a little disingenuous, as his proposal, if enacted by the legislature, would immediately dispatch collected DNA samples to CODIS—the federal government’s national DNA databank. While the state may purge a particular profile from its DNA database, it will take an act of congress to purge the same DNA sample from CODIS.

Moreover, a recent report from Florida paints a troubling picture of abuse that the government promised it would prohibit. A report from the Orlando Sentinel spotlights the unlawful access of information obtained from the State of Florida’s Driving and Vehicle Information Database (DAVID) by law enforcement officers.

One police officer in Florida unlawfully used DAVID to check on the information of a bank teller he had flirted with by conducting a search of her first name, place of employment, and race (the DAVID system is apparently very expansive). In another instance, over 20 searches for information pertaining to Casey Anthony occurred unrelated to a sanctioned investigation.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/breakingnews/os-law-enforcement-access-databases-20130119,0,7247843.story?page=2

In today’s politically charged environment, one can only imagine how government agents—those with tentacles to either political party—might misuse information contained in a DNA profile to blackball a citizen who dares challenge a member of the political class.

Such was the case with Joe the Plumber, who simply asked a question of candidate Obama during a 2008 campaign stop in Ohio.  Within hours, a Democrat Party hack, who was also the director of a governmental agency, accessed a State of Ohio database, unlawfully obtained Joe’s personal information, and leaked the details.

But instead of firing the operative who unlawfully violated Joe the Plumber’s privacy, Gov. Ted Strickland (D-Ohio) gave the perpetrator, Helen Jones-Kelley, the Ohio Director of the Department of Job and Family Services, a slap-on-the-wrist suspension.

http://www.toledonewsnow.com/story/9406901/editorial-fire-her-for-leaking-joe-the-plumbers-records

Personal information in the hands of the government is only a few key strokes away from the eyes of the nearest political operative, which is why putting one’s faith in a politician’s promise to protect personal privacy is akin to trusting a thief with a credit card—the difference being that the thief might actually get prosecuted.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You, is available at Amazon.com.

http://www.amazon.com/Best-Spingola-Files-Vol-ebook/dp/B00AGZTALE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354972268&sr=8-1&keywords=spingola+files

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, please visit:

www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2013


The New ‘Mark of the Beast’ has Investigators Lovin’ It

To view this article, checkout Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You coming to Amazon.com in December 2012.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His new book, Best of the Spingola Files, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012


Old School Sleuths Weigh-In on Most Current Crop of Detectives

To view this article, checkout Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You coming to Amazon.com in December 2012.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His new book, Best of the Spingola Files, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012 


 


[1] “Murder Mysteries: National Statistics.” KnoxvilleNews.com. 31 March 2012.  http://www.knoxnews.com/data/murder-knoxville-nation/

[2] “Murder Mysteries: National Statistics.” KnoxvilleNews.com. 31 March 2012. http://www.knoxnews.com/data/murder-knoxville-nation/

[3] Hogue, B. “DNA Collection Bill Proposed.” Wrn.com. March 2, 2012.  31 March 2012. http://www.wrn.com/2012/03/dna-collection-bill-proposed/


SF Reader Alert: Be Aware of DNA Sharing

To view this article, checkout Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You coming to Amazon.com in December 2012.

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Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective.

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com/the_psychology_of_homicide_presentation.html

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012


Keep a Tight Lid on Keller Homicide Information

“I want to know the truth. I want to know what really happened, you know? When were they searching? If they were searching, why didn’t they search the area of the park sooner,” Northern Illinois University student Sara Pezel told NBC Chicago in response to the ongoing investigation into the homicide of freshman Antinette “Toni” Keller. 

In mid-October, Keller went for a walk in Prairie Park, just south of the NIU campus and was never seen alive again.  Her body was later discovered burned beyond recognition near a set of railroad tracks not far from campus. 

Of course, the NIU community is looking for answers. Students, faculty and the victim’s family are perturbed that the DeKalb police are withholding information from the public. 

But justice requires that investigators keep a tight lid on senstive information pertaining to the investigation.  

Why? 

Reading between the lines, it appears that Keller was probably killed by a transient with a criminal past.  One can bet that police are combing the park in attempt to identify frequent visitors and/or homeless individuals that call the 150 acre park home. They are also searching for campsites or make-shift shelters, while railroad detectives are checking contacts in their databases. 

I believe Keller’s body was burned to destroy potential DNA evidence. Since Keller decided to take a random walk in Prairie Park, the slaying has the hallmark of a crime of opportunity.  The perpetrator likely observed the young women alone and isolated; whereupon, he acted on impulse to fulfill his fantasies.  

As of 2000, most states require convicted felons to provide DNA samples.  A reasonable investigator might conclude that the person who killed Ms. Keller may have served time in prison, possibly for a sex offense.  These type of offenders are keenly aware of the power of DNA evidence.  Through the prison grape vine, it is well known that fire is one method used to destroy forensic material. 

Should the NIU community be concerned that a killer is on the loose? Absolutely, although I would be willing to bet that perpetrator has fled the area. 

In the interim, the police should provide as little detail as possible.  During future interrogations, detectives want to hear specific, first-hand information from the suspect.  If specific details of the Keller homicide are somehow released or leaked to the public, it could compromise a confession.

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Steven Spingola is a former Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective and the author of Predators on the Parkway: a Former Homicide Detective Explores the Colonial Parkway Murders  and The Killer in Our Midst: the Case of Milwaukee’s North Side Strangler

 

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2010