At a glance.
- Social media and police stops.
- Stealing the identity of the dead.
- Students' data exposed.
- Pegasus affair updates.
LAPD wants your Twitter handle.
The Brennan Center for Justice has revealed that Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers routinely requested social media data from civilians during field interviews, the Guardian reports. Police Chief Michel Moore told officers that when interviewing individuals connected to a crime investigation, including those who have not been arrested or even accused of illegal activity, to gather information about the interviewees’ presence on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. The info was collected on official LAPD field interview cards, which have drawn criticism in the past revealing signs of racial profiling. Brennan Center deputy director Rachel Levinson-Waldman commented, “There are real dangers about police having all of this social media identifying information at their fingertips.” The Brennan Center obtained the intel from social media monitoring firm Geofeedia, which previously advertised tools for tracking Black Lives Matter protests, and additional evidence suggests the LAPD was considering using tech from Media Sonar to process the social media data.
Grave robbery, no shovel required.
Proving that there’s no crime too low for an identity thief, three people have been charged with stealing the identities of at least seven residents of Florida condo complex Champlain Towers, five of whom perished in the complex’s recent devastating collapse. The New York Times reports the defendants allegedly stole cash and goods totalling at least $45,000, including high-end purchases like a Versace handbag, and the evidence includes video footage and phone recordings of the perpetrators impersonating the victims. At a news conference, Miami-Dade state attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle stated, “It was really horrible what they did, to prey further on the family members of the deceased.”
Preying on pupils.
According to data from cybersecurity firm Emsisoft, ransomware attackers have stolen data from over twelve hundred US K-12 schools, which includes sensitive info like social security numbers, birthdates, and even family financial information of school children, exposing kids to identity theft. NBC News explains that schools are attractive targets because they don’t have the necessary data processing infrastructure in place, meaning often schools aren’t even aware the data has been stolen, or even what data was being stored in the first place. “I think it’s pretty clear right now they’re not paying enough attention to how to ensure that data is secure, and I think everyone is at wits’ end about what to do when it’s exposed,” said Doug Levin, director of the K12 Security Information Exchange. And with no clear legislation regarding student data theft, parents are left with little recourse beyond freezing the child’s credit.
NSO’s Pegasus software scandal continues.
TechDirt reports that Citizen Lab’s investigation of Israeli surveillance software provider NSO Group has revealed additional evidence that NSO’s clients are abusing their products, despite the company’s repeated denials. The new evidence shows that the Bahraini government has been using two zero-click iMessage exploits of NSO’s Pegasus spyware to hack into the iPhones of at least nine activists. “The sale of Pegasus to Bahrain is particularly egregious, considering that there is significant, longstanding, and documented evidence of Bahrain’s serial misuse of surveillance products including Trovicor, FinFisher, Cellebrite, and, now, NSO Group,” the report states. Furthermore, the new report provides further evidence that the list of phone numbers -- seemingly a list of surveillance targets -- leaked to the public earlier this year is, in fact, connected to NSO clients.