IDENTITY THEFT: NO CHARGES DESPITE EVIDENCE

CHICAGO (WLS) – It’s no longer a matter of “if” but “when” someone will take your personal information. Chicago police say in 2013 there were more than 13,000 reported incidents of identity theft or other similar crimes, and the department has also recently beefed up its financial crimes unit.

But one suburban woman is questioning why two suspects who may have taken her identity haven’t yet been charged.

Cyndi Foglio has a giant stack of paperwork full of credit checks, collection agency notices and $2,500 of payday loans in her name. They’ve ballooned to almost $200,000 with a 499 percent interest.

She says after discovering the identity theft in February 2013, she turned to the Algonquin Police Department for help.

More than a year ago, in August 2013, investigators handed the case over to the Chicago Police Department because the potential suspects live in Chicago. According to an Algonquin police report, subpoenaed information shows that the online payday loan was withdrawn from an IP address on the South Side. The report lists suspect names, a phone number and even an e mail.

“They have names and addresses and the phone numbers on there,” Foglio says. “I am asking them to do something about it.”

Chicago police say they’re still investigating, and that it’s not a slam dunk case. Police wouldn’t answer specific questions about Foglio’s concerns, citing that ongoing investigation, but did talk about the challenges they face in crimes similar to this one.

“IP addresses can be static or dynamic,” says Sergeant John Lucki, commanding officer of Chicago’s Financial Crimes unit. “They are not always associated to a fixed entity or location, so that creates a floating area as to what’s being done out there.”

Lucki says IP addresses can also be unsecure, meaning hundreds of other people could have hopped on that connection.

But Algonquin police, in their investigation, traced that pay day loan money to a pre-paid cash card with an account number, which was registered to one of the same suspects connected to that IP address. But for a non-violent crime, even that may not yet be enough proof for prosecutors.

“If you can’t assemble a complete case usually success for prosecution is minimal,” says Lucki.

Lucki says that in 2012, more detectives were added to the financial crimes unit to keep up with the growing number of cases.

Read More

Google and Apple Won’t Unlock Your Phone, But a Court Can Make You Do It

Silicon Valley’s smartphone snitching has come to an end. Apple and Google have promised that the latest versions of their mobile operating systems make it impossible for them to unlock encrypted phones, even when compelled to do so by the government. But if the Department of Justice can’t demand that its corporate friends unlock your phone, it may have another option: Politely asking that you unlock it yourself, and letting you rot in a cell until you do.

In many cases, the American judicial system doesn’t view an encrypted phone as an insurmountable privacy protection for those accused of a crime. Instead, it’s seen as an obstruction of the evidence-gathering process, and a stubborn defendant or witness can be held in contempt of court and jailed for failing to unlock a phone to provide that evidence.

With Apple and Google no longer giving law enforcement access to customers’ devices, those standoffs may now become far more common. “You can expect to see more cases where authorities are thwarted by encryption, and the result is you’ll see more requests that suspects decrypt phones themselves,” says Hanni Fakhoury, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “And by requests, I mean demands. As in, you do it or you’ll be held in contempt of court.”

In some cases, the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination may block such demands, under the argument that forcing defendants to unlock their phone would compel them to testify to their own guilt. But the few cases where suspects have pleaded the Fifth to avoid decrypting a PC—the legal equivalent of a smartphone—have had messy, sometimes contradictory outcomes. “This is not a settled question,” says James Grimmelmann, a professor at the University of Maryland Law School. And it likely won’t be, he says, until more appeals courts or the Supreme Court consider the issue.

Read More

Drone used in Hannah Graham search

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WJLA/AP/CNN/ABC News) – The search for missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham now includes the use of an aerial drone — the first time, according to authorities, one has been used in the search for a missing person in the state of Virginia.

The addition of the drone to the search effort comes more than two weeks after Graham disappeared from Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall area.

The drone has a high-quality camera, and it will “look closer” at objects of interest, said John Coggin, chief engineer of the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership and one of the members of the team operating the drone.

As the drone worked from overhead Wednesday, more than 50 law enforcement personnel participated in the ground search of an area.

Police still aren’t saying much at all about their evidence against the suspect in Graham’s disappearance, but they seem to be working systematically to link his DNA to an expanding circle of attacks on women, a criminal defense expert suggested.

Between searches of Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr.’s car and apartment and his arrest on a charge of abducting Graham last week, police had ample opportunity to obtain genetic evidence connecting him to multiple attacks, said Steve Benjamin, past president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Matthew’s lawyer, James Camblos, said he met with his client for about 2½ hours earlier this week, but still doesn’t know what evidence police have.

Already, police said they have linked Matthew via DNA to Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington’s 2009 death, and previously, authorities had said DNA in Harrington’s case was connected to a 2005 abduction and sexual assault in Fairfax City.

At least two additional sheriffs’ offices in Virginia – Campbell County and Montgomery County – said they are now reviewing old murder cases to see if they are connected to Matthew.

Read More

Judge OKs serving legal papers via Facebook

Social-media users, beware — that next Facebook “poke” could be from a process server.

In a groundbreaking court ruling, a Staten Island man got permission to use Facebook to serve his ex-wife legal notice that he doesn’t want to pay any more child support.

A Family Court official ruled that Noel Biscocho could use Facebook to serve Anna Maria Antigua because other, more traditional methods to slap her with papers have not worked.

Staten Island Support Magistrate Gregory Gliedman noted in his Sept. 12 order that it was the first of its kind in New York, and also the first in the United States that didn’t involve an attempt to serve someone overseas.

Seeking to cancel his court-ordered $440-a-month child support based on their son having turned 21, Biscocho, in a July 6 affidavit, said he tried to reach his ex at her home, but was told that Antigua had moved out with no forwarding address.

A Google search also proved fruitless, and neither his son nor the couple’s daughter, 22, returned messages.

But Biscocho noted that Antigua “maintains an active social media account with Facebook” — and had even “liked” some photos posted on Facebook by Biscocho’s second wife “as recently as July.”

Read More

Guns at School? If There’s a Will, There Are Ways

CLARKSVILLE, Ark. — The slim, black 9-millimeter handguns that the school superintendent David Hopkins selected for his teachers here weigh about a pound and slip easily into a pocket. Sixteen people, including the janitor and a kindergarten teacher, wear them to school every day.

Although state law prohibits guns on campus, Mr. Hopkins found a way around it.

Like rural educators who are quietly doing the same thing in a handful of other states, Mr. Hopkins has formulated a security plan that relies on a patchwork of concealed-weapons laws, special law enforcement regulations and local school board policies to arm teachers.

Without money to hire security guards for the five schools he oversees, giving teachers nearly 60 hours of training and their own guns seemed like the only reasonable, economical way to protect the 2,500 public school students in this small town in the Ozark foothills.

“Realistically, when you look at a person coming to your door right there with a firearm, you’ve got to have a plan,” Mr. Hopkins said. “If you have a better one, tell me.”

After the Newtown, Conn., rampage last December, 33 states considered new legislation aimed at arming teachers and administrators, according to an analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Only 5 enacted laws that expanded the ability for public educators to arm themselves at school.

Still, some teachers and administrators around the country have carried guns for years under state or local laws that impose few restrictions on where concealed weapons can be carried.

“It’s a fairly common practice among the schools that do not have sworn officers,” said Asa Hutchinson, a former congressman and a candidate for governor in Arkansas. He recently led the National Rifle Association’s school safety initiative, which produced a 225-page report that advocated armed security officers or, in some cases, armed teachers in every public school.

Mr. Hutchinson said he recently spoke with a superintendent in Arkansas who had been carrying a firearm for 10 years. The district was among 13 in the state, including Clarksville, that have special permission to use rules designed for private security firms to arm their staff members.

Just before the school year began, the state suspended the practice temporarily after Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued an opinion that school districts could not act as private security companies. This month, however, a state board voted to allow the districts to continue using the law until the legislature reconsiders the issue in two years.

Read More

N.J. Plan Would Allow Searches Without Warrants For Underage Drinking

MONTVILLE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A proposed ordinance in Montville, New Jersey could give police officers broad powers – including entering private property – if underage drinking is even suspected.

As CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported, the proposal has some people questioning just how far police should be allowed to go.

Residents value their privacy in the upscale community of Montville in Morris County. But the proposed ordinance could change all of that.

Police officers under the ordinance could search homes with probable cause, and without a warrant, if they suspect underage drinking.

“I am not in favor of them just coming into the homes, because there – other people have said – there are children that do make mistakes on various occasions, and that’s more of a parent responsibility rather than a police responsibility,” said Anna Marie Cecire of Montville.

The proposal is so controversial that when it was heard in a local committee room, a vote was postponed until members could hear from the police chief.

But another aspect of the plan does appeal to residents. While teens caught drinking face criminal charges under state law, officers under the Montville proposal could choose to let underage drinkers face lesser penalties.

“They are kids, and kids make mistakes, and they need to understand the consequences, but I don’t think it needs to be on their college application or somehow affect them in the future,” said guidance counselor Debbie Meenan.

Despite that, some 17-year-olds in Montville said the proposed ordinance gives police too much discretion.

“I just feel that it’s not really their business to be going into people’s houses,” said high school senior Brendan Zevits. “If you want to do that, you need to get a warrant.”

“Just coming in our houses searching – eventually, it’s going to turn into hunches and all that, and once you base it on a hunch, then it’s all downhill from there,” said high school senior Stephen McManus.

The mayor, committee members and the police chief do not appear to want to talk about the proposal, Sloan reported. None of them returned CBS 2’s calls.

One town official said the ordinance, which also imposes fines of up to $350, is vague in some areas. For that reason, it will be heard again on Sept. 23.

View Source

A Police Dog Can Smell the USB Drive You’re Hiding

Even in the digital age, you can teach old dogs new tricks.

In 1986, police trained the first dog in the world to sniff out arson with the help of Jack Hubball, who identified accelerants that the canines could focus on. He then moved on to help police train dogs to detect narcotics and bombs.

The chemist’s latest trick? Getting dogs to pick up the scent for laptops, digital cameras and those easy-to-conceal USB drives. Devices such as these are often used to stash illegal materials like child pornography, which the FBI says is growing fast. The agency estimates that some 750,000 predators are online at any given moment with victims often found in chatrooms and on social networks.

To crack computer crimes, the 26-year forensics-lab veteran based in Connecticut had to first identify the chemicals associated with electronic-storage devices. Hubball took circuit boards, hard disks and flash drives of computers and tested each component. He narrowed the analysis down to a single common chemical, which police declined to specify or describe.

Two trainers, Mike Real and Mark Linhard, then worked with a couple of dogs who had flunked out of New York City’s Guiding Eyes for the Blind program, a black Labrador named Selma and later a golden Labrador named Thoreau. They excelled at this new endeavor.

Read More

Texting 911 will work in some northwest suburbs

People in parts of the northwest suburbs can now use text messaging on their cellphones to seek help in an emergency.

The Northwest Central Dispatch System announced the Text-to-911 service in August. It has been testing the program since December, according to local officials and the Federal Communications Commission.

“If you can’t call, then this service is available so that when you are in an emergency situation, text is available to get you the help you need,” said Cindy Barbera-Brelle, executive director of Northwest Central Dispatch.

Those with cellphones serviced through AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile or Verizon and who are within the boundaries of Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove Village, Hoffman Estates, Inverness, Mount Prospect, Palatine, Prospect Heights, Rolling Meadows, Schaumburg and Streamwood can send a text message to 911 and get a response from Northwest Central dispatchers.

Any text messages that do not meet the standards will get a text back indicating it did not go through to 911, officials said.

Dispatch system officials said the text message program offers an alternative for people with hearing or speaking disabilities as well as those who might feel compromised by making a call, such as in domestic or burglary situations.

It is not preferred over, nor is it expected to replace, the standard 911 call. Texting is not in “real time” and therefore, will cause more delays. “We do ask, ‘can you call?’” Barbera-Brelle said.

Since April, the texting program has received 11 messages, only two of which were fully dispatched through Northwest Central. A Schaumburg resident texted for help after hearing noises in the vacant apartment above her on July 18 and an Arlington Heights man reported a vagrant in a park on July 27, according to officials.

Three other messages were for incidents in other locations, including a request for an ambulance in Bensenville, a report of an intoxicated person in Hanover Park and a domestic situation in unincorporated Cook County. In each case, Northwest Central turned it over to the appropriate authorities, as is the protocol.

Read More

U.S. app to help emergency responders communicate in crisis

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A mobile app from a law enforcement technology firm could soon allow emergency responders from different agencies to communicate seamlessly with each other in a crisis for the first time, sharing files and conducting impromptu conference calls.

BlueLine Grid’s applications target what has long been one of the most vexing challenges facing U.S. law enforcement and emergency responders. Communications breakdowns hampered responses to the Sept. 11, 2001 attack in New York and disasters including 2012′s Superstorm Sandy.

“It tells you who is near you, who can help you and allows you to communicate effectively with them,” said David Riker, chief executive officer of privately held BlueLine Grid.

Because the app relies on wireless connectivity it could fail during a disaster, so it is intended to supplement and not replace traditional emergency communications, Riker said.

The app works on devices running on Google Inc’s Android and Apple Inc’s iOS operating system.

BlueLine Grid is a law enforcement technology firm co-founded by New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton in 2013, who since cut ties to the company to avoid conflicts of interest before returning to the NYPD in January.

The app would be the first to connect individual responders working in the field, using common standards shared in Android and iOS to enable communications between police, fire and other agencies in different jurisdictions, Riker said.

BlueLine Grid uses similar technology to Skype which is known as over-the-top (OTT) voice and messaging, meaning the services run on top of the wireless network, to solve the problem of interoperability.

Experts say that developing better communications systems is one of the key challenges in ongoing efforts to improve security preparedness.

“We have so much law enforcement in the U.S. – more than 700,000 agencies – and each of them has their own method of collecting and sharing information,” said Jim Bueermann, president of the non-profit Police Foundation.

“Finding a platform that is web-based works on mobile platforms and is easy to use is, I think, the holy grail of information sharing,” said Bueermann, a former chief of the Redlands, California police department, which is testing an inter-agency data sharing social media app called CopBook.

Earlier this month, John D. Cohen, the former head of intelligence for the Department of Homeland Security, joined BlueLine Grid’s corporate board.

View Source

New groundbreaking fingerprint test

Scientists in Newcastle could have made one of the largest leaps forward in crime scene investigation in decades.

Experts at Arro SupraNano, which is based in the Herschel Annex of Newcastle University, has created a new test that can give detailed information about a person just from one fingerprint, in minutes.

And such is the global interest in the new technique, which could save police huge amounts of time and money, that the firm is already winning awards for its work.

“A murder case could cost between £1m and £3m, with most of that in time and legwork,” said Arro’s managing director Eamonn Cooney, who describes existing fingerprinting techniques as a “pretty hitty-missy process.”

“But with this test you can say male or female, whether they are on medication, what their lifestyle is, are they taking or distributing drugs, or if they are a terrorists. And we can tell you that within minutes of a sample reaching the lab.

“If you took 100 suspects and had each of them take the test then you could narrow it down to two or three very quickly.

“Police say it has definite applications for serious crimes – murders, sexual assaults or arson.

“And we’ve even had defence attorneys in America come and ask whether they could use it to prove their clients are innocent.”

The technology behind the new powder – which its makers claim can alone improve the clarity of fingerprints by 40% – and test was first developed by Professor Frederick Rowell at Sunderland University in 2005, with Arro SupraNano founded in 2007.

After seven years of development by the firm, which employs six people, the powder launched in January and is now being sold around the world, with the patented analytic test set to go to market in the coming months.

The company recently received the Forensics and Expert Witness E Magazine’s annual product development award.

“Fingerprinting has not changed much in many years,” said Mr Cooney. “You go to a crime scene, brush with powder, lift the print with tape, take a photo and record it on a national database. But we’ve done two new things with nano particles.

“Our powder adheres much more closely to the ridges and troughs of a fingerprint, as the particles are chemically very sticky, which is really important as for comparison you’re looking for 12 to 20 points, and prints are often smudged, but you can now see the details much more clearly and there is less background staining.

“Then we decided to take it a step further because we found there is a lot of information of the fingertip itself.

“We can test for drugs, explosives or gun residue, or other substances that police might be interested in.

Read More