September, 2012

Use of Drone in Domestic Arrest
Upheld by Court

 A court denied on August 1, 2012, a request to dismiss charges in the first case in the U.S. involving the use of an unarmed Predator drone for surveillance by law enforcement; the case involves charges of felony terrorizing and theft brought against Rodney Brossart, described in news reports as an "anti-government `sovereignist’" in North Dakota.  The court held that "there was no improper use of an unmanned aerial vehicle" and that the drone "appears to have had no bearing on these charges being contested."

 U.S. Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) released a draft bill in August, 2012, that would require privacy considerations are included in all licensing of unmanned drone use.  The Secretary of Transportation is due to release a comprehensive plan in November, 2012, dealing with the use of non-government drones in the United States.

Sources:  Jason Koebler, "Court Upholds Domestic Drone Use in Arrest of American Citizen,", August 2, 2012: http://www.usnews. com/news/articles/2012/08/02/court-upholds-dom estic-drone-use-in-arrest-of-american-citizen.  Congressman Markey's website: /press-release/markey-releases-discussion-draft-dron e-privacy-and-transparency-legislation.  Related:  Criminal Defense Newsletter, May, 2012, Vol. 35, issue 8, p. 12: _35cdn08.pdf#search=%22brossart%22.

Poll Shows 44% of Americans Approve of
Domestic Drone Surveillance, 36% Oppose

 An August, 2012, telephone poll of 1,006 interviewees conducted by the AP and the National Constitution Center, asked several questions relating to rights and freedoms in the Bill of Rights.  For example, when asked if the respondent thought the U.S. government was doing a good job, a poor job, or neither a good nor poor job in protecting various rights and freedoms, 76% thought the government was doing a good job protecting the right to vote, and 16% thought it was doing a poor job; 70% thought the government was doing a good job protecting freedom of speech, and 20% thought it as doing a poor job; 57% thought the government was doing a good job protecting equal protection under the law, and 31% thought it was doing a poor job; 53% thought the government was doing a good job protecting the right to keep and bear arms, and 33% thought it was doing a poor job; and 47% thought the government was doing a good job protecting the right to privacy, and 40% thought it was doing a poor job.

 When asked about specific things that that might cause concern about a loss of privacy, 37% were very concerned about using social networking sites, and 31% were not concerned; 35% were very concerned about police using drones for surveillance, and 36% were not concerned; 30% were very concerned about electronic banking, and 34% were not concerned; 27% were very concerned about GPS enabled devices, and 19% were not concerned; 27% were very concerned about roadside cameras, and 49% were not concerned; and 23% were very concerned about the use of electronic records in medical facilities, and 47% were not concerned.  When asked about law enforcement of surveillance drones, 44% were in favor, and 36% were opposed.

 Of those interviewed, 82% were registered voters; 27% supported the Tea Party, and 63% did not; 31% were self-described as Democrat, 30% were self-described as Independent, 23% were self-identified as Republican, and 15% were self-described as none of those.  When those leaning to one party or the other were included, 47% self-identified as Democrat and 41% self-identified as Republican.

 Of those interviewed, 49% were male, and 51% were female.  Fifty-percent were married, living as married, or co-habitating, 11% were divorced, and 25% were never married.  Thirty-two percent were high school graduates, 14% were college graduates, 25% had some college, and 12% had a graduate degree.  Twenty percent were between 18 and 29 years of age, 35% were between 30 and 49, 23% were between 50 and 64, and 18% were over 65 years of age.  Twenty-six percent lived in an urban area, 42% lived in a suburban area, and 29% lived in a rural area.  Thirty-five percent considered themselves born-again or Evangelical Christians, and 61% did not.  Twenty-four percent of the interviewees self-identified as Protestant, 19% self-identified as Catholic, 2% self-identified each for Mormon and Jewish, 25% self-identified as being of an other religion, and 24% self-identified as not belonging to a religious denomination.  Twelve percent of those responding self-identified as being of Hispanic, Latin or Spanish origin; of the remaining interviewees, 68% self-identified as being Caucasian, 11% self-identified as being Black or African-American, 2% self-identified as being American Indian or Alaska Native, and 2% self-identified as being Asian Indian or of other Asian background.

Sources:; http://www.washington 3159fa2-08d6-11e2-9eea-333857f6a7bd_story.html; h ttp:// ore-than-a-third-fear-drone-use-in-u.s.-poll/.

Facial-Recognition Technology
Used at Disneyland

 An August 15, 2012, article by Naomi Wolf in the, Ms. Wolf recounts a complaint by a friend that Disneyland had utilized -- without his consent -- facial recognition technology to present him with a photo, with his credit card information attached, for purchase after he went on a ride.  The technology is used to identify individuals in a crowd.  Ms. Wolf noted that during the Occupy movement in New York, cameras were set up around Union Square, and, more recently, she had seen similar cameras installed in Washington Square Park.  Ms. Wolf noted that there currently are no laws to prevent the U.S. government and law enforcement agencies from utilizing facial recognition technology and building databases.  Ms. Wolf stated that, "the `targets’ here are me and you: everyone, all of the time.  In the name of `national security’, the capacity is being built to identify, track and document any citizen constantly and continuously."

Source: free/2012/aug/15/new-totalitarianism-surveillance-technology.  Related:  "NYC to Field All-Seeing Domain Awareness System," Criminal Defense Newsletter, July - August, 2012, Vol. 35, issues 10 & 11, p. 11.

FBI Launches Facial
Recognition Technology Program

 The FBI is implementing its Next Generation Identification (NGI) biometric identification program, described as an upgrade to the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS), in areas across the country.  The program should be complete within two years.  The billion-dollar program "will allow the FBI to establish a terrorist fingerprint identification system that is compatible with other systems; increase the accessibility and number of the IAFIS terrorist fingerprint records; and provide latent palm print search capabilities.” The facial recognition technology allows for the identification of suspects "in public datasets,” and, when joined with publicly available data on social-networking sites, can be used to build larger profiles of individuals.

Sources:  "FBI begins installation of $1 billion face recognition system across America,", September 8, 2012:

Scientists Can 'Hack' Personal Data
From Brains

 According to a recent article, scientists at the University of California and the University of Oxford at Geneva, utilizing "an off-the-shelf Emotiv braincomputer" device (available for about $299.00) that allows users to interact by thought with their computers, were able to track brain signals.  The P300 brain signal is usually given off when a person recognizes something; by showing test subjects various images of PIN numbers, banks and people, the scientists were able to reduce randomness in the images presented by up to 40%, allowing for a greater chance of correctly guessing what the subject was thinking.

 The technology also has potential for lie-detection during interrogations, according to researchers quoted in an article, and would allow for detection of details withheld by the suspect.

Source:  Peter V. Milo, "Scientists Successfully 'Hack' brain to Obtain Private Data,", August 25, 2012:

by Neil Leithauser
Associate Editor