Happy Passover and Happy Easter

 

Wishing our valued readers a Happy Easter and Happy Passover.  May you and yours receive the blessings of good health, happiness, prosperity and joy, always.

 

– The BNI team

Can The US Survive An EMP Strike?

The recent, erroneous incoming missile alert in Hawaii that was transmitted via cell phones woke up the nation to the real threats we face from an increasingly hostile set of bad actors, i.e. North Korea, Iran, international terrorist groups, Russia (still) and probably China.   That incident, from the NYT:

An early-morning emergency alert (like the above) mistakenly warning of an incoming ballistic missile attack was dispatched to cellphones across Hawaii on Saturday, setting off widespread panic in a state that was already on edge because of escalating tensions between the United States and North Korea.

The alert, sent by the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, was revoked 38 minutes after it was issued.

That alert was an error but what do we really have to fear from tech-savvy North Korea?  Many intell agencies and reliable news reporting sources like Bloomberg point to an EMP (Electromagentic Pulse)  attack.  As EMP is still rather new to the nation’s collective awareness, we’ve compiled the below facts to familiarize our readers with information on this type of weaponized event. (For the purposes of this article, EMP will refer to a Nuclear Electromagnetic Pulse.)

What is an EMP?

A Nuclear Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) is a burst of electromagnetic radiation created by nuclear explosions from a nuclear device fired into the atmosphere over a target country.

What happens in the event of an EMP attack?

If an EMP was fired over the US, it would devastate the electrical grid of the nation, along with all its infrastructure and would lead to widespread casualties. There would be an indefinite blackout in the ensuing chaos caused by a mass failure of the power grid. In the case of any nuclear attacks, radiation is the main thing to be worried about but in the case of an EMP, the radiation is mostly absorbed by the air in the atmosphere above where it is detonated. Using the EMP as a weapon may be desirable for a hostile actor as it requires less accuracy, and an EMP blast could affect a 700-mile radius (1126 km).

How can we avoid an EMP attack and how can the damage be contained in its aftermath?

John Norden, director of operations at ISO New England Inc., which manages a grid serving six states, said the industry is unprepared for a full-scale electromagnetic attack. The power industry doesn’t really have any standards or tools to handle “black sky events’’ such as an extreme cyber or EMP attack, or even conventional war, Norden said at a recent [industry] conference.

How real is the threat of an EMP attack?

Peter W. Singer, a strategist for the New America Foundation and expert on 21st century warfare, took issue with claims of imminent EMP attacks, particularly by North Korea.

“EMP is where the science fiction of fears does not cross with reality,” he told Newsweek (Oct. 2017).

He said that EMP was discovered as a by-product of nuclear tests at the outset of the Cold War, but it remains largely untested.

“North Korea [and other nuclear powers] have not tested it, to know what would be the design, height, range, etc. to have the effect they want,” he said.

“So, the scenario assumes North Korea would finally decide to attack the U.S., to risk a war in which its leadership would die, but do so in an utterly untested, unpredictable manner, as opposed to using a nuke in a way that they know works and would definitely have a catastrophic effect on the U.S.  That is a pretty big assumption, the kind made in cruddy novels, but less likely in reality.

“If you are worried about North Korea, worry about the actual and far more likely use of their nuclear weapons, missiles or conventional cannons, rather than the stuff of weak science fiction.”

The EMP Commission though remains convinced that the threat from a North Korean EMP attack is real—with a primitive, low-yield nuclear weapon likely to cause enormous destruction to U.S. electronic infrastructure if detonated at height.

Editor’s Note:  Given the vastly opposing views from the scientific, intell and military communities regarding the viability of an EMP attack on the U.S,  we will be routinely scanning for updates on this topic and posting as warranted.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

 

 

What Your Car’s Vinyl Family Graphics Tells Criminals

We’ve all seen the dad, mom, son, daughter & family pet vinyl graphics glued on to the rear windows of vehicles.  (One can select the graphics that accurately reflect his family’s composition.) My personal favorite is the one depicting the father holding a briefcase, an empty space next to him, his son’s outline followed by that of the daughter, the baby and then the family dog.  In the area above the missing wife’s space is the message, “Position available”.  Very cute, seemingly innocuous and yet, by most of us in the law, legal and law enforcement fields, viewed with concern.

“In order to defeat bad guys, you have to think like one.”  – Col. Timothy B. Mills, one of my very first mentors in the criminal investigation field.

If I’m a bad guy and I am casing a neighborhood, I am more likely to break into a home with young children- especially a baby.   Parents are extremely vulnerable when confronted with their children’s safety or very lives.  As a bad guy, whether it’s burglary or kidnapping that I’m about to commit, I will use every intimidation method I know.  Threatening the life of an infant or young child will, more likely than not, force the adult victims into compliance.

So while family graphics are pretty on a Prius, cool on a Camry and hopeful (see above re: wife advertising!) on a Honda, they’re also dangerous involving derelicts.

Get a Mt. Rushmore bumper sticker if you must but do not announce to the world the composition of your household.  While the majority of people are good, all you need is one bad element to destroy the safety of your home and family environment.

Be proactive and more reluctant to share your family information with strangers at large.

BNI Operatives:  Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

Happy New Year!

Wishing our valuable readers a very happy, healthy, productive and successful 2018!

Stay warm and stay safe. 

Looks Like A SSN But Is A TIN. Defining A Taxpayer Identification Number

What is a TIN?: Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) is an identifying number used for tax purposes in the United States. It is also known as a Tax Identification Number or Federal Taxpayer Identification Number. A TIN may be assigned by the Social Security Administration or by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Why do we assign TINs if we have SSNs?: In 1996, the IRS, in camera, resolved a huge issue: what to do with the millions of potential taxpayers from whom they dearly wished to collect income tax  but could not verify their SSNs?  Whether here illegally or foreign workers without proper work permission identification, etc… the powers that be within the agency promptly invented and authorized use of TINs.  Taxpayer Identification Numbers.   TINs look like SSNs (9 digits in an NNN-NN-NNN format), few people know the difference (and criteria for assignment/appropriation) and even fewer know of their existence.  (Except for those every delightfully slithery federal contractors!)  A TIN is issued to an employer who can then substitutes said TIN on requisite tax filings for a worker ineligible (why….?) for an SSN.

Can TIN abuse occur?  Despite a past investigation in 2012 by the IG  (Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration)-  on the multiple assignment by said contractors of a single TIN, the IRS declined to make any changes and stated that further analysis is needed.  By next year, it is predicted  that at least $2 billion of taxpayer dues will be lost along these TIN abuse lines – in just that year.

TIN Trivia Fact:  A TIN’s middle numbers are always, at least currently, between 70 and 80.)

The IRS will always find a way to demand and protract taxes.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

L’Shanah Tovah!

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Wishing our treasured readers who observe Rosh Hashanah a happy, healthy, safe and prosperous New Year!

 

 

“I Have Him Saying That On Audio!” Yes, But Is That Legal? State Recording Laws

Hands down, the best publicly available guide to electronic recording law is that provided by the Reporters Committee For Freedom Of The Press (RCFP). The guide also includes FCC rules and updates to laws already in existence.

Comprehensive yet easily absorbed and implemented, the RCFP’s Recorders Reporting Guide outlines the tape-recording laws and then options with state-by-state definitions and laws. For example, the tape-recording laws for New York:

New York

Summary of statute(s): An individual who is a party to either an in-person conversation or electronic communication, or who has the consent of one of the parties to the communication, can lawfully record it or disclose its contents. N.Y. Penal Law §§ 250.00, 250.05 (McKinney 2012).

In-person conversations: The “mechanical overhearing of a conversation,” or the “intentional overhearing or recording of a conversation or discussion, without the consent of at least one party thereto, by a person not present” is illegal. N.Y. Penal Law § 250.00. A state appellate court held that individuals who talk in a manner such that a non-participating third party may freely overhear the conversation may have no reasonable expectation of privacy in it. New York v. Kirsh, 575 N.Y.S.2d 306 (N.Y. App. Div. 1991). Thus, a journalist does not need consent to record conversations in public where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy.

Electronic communications: The consent of at least one party to any telephone communication, including a cellular telephone communication, is required to record it. Sharon v. Sharon, 558 N.Y.S.2d 468 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 1990). And because the provision of the statute dealing with wireless communications applies to “any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature,” consent likewise is required to disclose the contents of text messages sent between wireless devices. N.Y. Penal Law § 250.00.

Hidden cameras: It is a felony to photograph or record “the sexual or other intimate parts” of a person in a place where the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, and to use a hidden camera, regardless of whether a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, to “up-skirt” or “down-blouse,” or secretly photograph or record that person under or through his or her clothing. N.Y. Penal Law § 250.45. The law, however, does not criminalize the use of recording devices for other purposes in areas to which the public has access or there is no reasonable expectation of privacy (i.e., filming conversations on public streets or a hotel lobby).

Criminal penalties: Illegally recording an in-person conversation or electronic communication is a felony offense. N.Y. Penal Law § 250.05.

Disclosing recordings: Disclosing the contents of a sealed communication that has been opened or read in violation of the wiretap law without the consent of the communication’s sender or receiver is considered “tampering with private communications,” a misdemeanor. N.Y. Penal Law § 250.25.

Straightforward language for a sometimes gray area of investigative rules.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

 

Bail Reform; Easing The Financial Burden On Poor Defendants

From DAILY KOS:

New Jersey’s Bail Reform and Speed Trial Act, [put in effect earlier this year], will largely eliminate bail for minor crimes and is expected to significantly reduce the state’s jail population. Under the new law, courts will use a risk assessment tool to decide whether or not a defendant should be released pre-trial, rather than simply assigning that person cash bail.

The risk assessment tool, which was created through the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, “evaluates a defendant’s risk of failing to appear, committing another offense, and committing a violent offense,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The assessment considers age at the time of the alleged offense, whether the offense was violent, past convictions and failures to appear in court, and other pending charges. It doesn’t consider race, ethnicity, or geography, among other factors.

The Inquirer also states that if a judge rules that a defendant should be released, prosecutors that disagree will now “have to argue if they want a defendant to be held beyond an initial commitment.”

For those defendants who are held under the new system, the bill also will enact limits on length of incarceration.

Those defendants who are jailed will be released if new deadlines aren’t met: Prosecutors have 90 days to indict a defendant. A trial must then be scheduled in 180 days.

In a 2013 study of the New Jersey jail population in October 2012, inmates awaiting trial post-indictment had been held an average of 314 days, according to the state Attorney General’s Office.

The Jersey Journal reports that the new law also “requires defendants make their first court appearance within 48 hours of their arrest,” reducing the time that defendants sit in jail before even being arraigned. This particular assessment tool has been implemented before. From The Inquirer:

In Kentucky, which began using the foundation’s assessment tool in 2013, the average arrest rate for defendants released pretrial declined from 10 percent to 8.5 percent during the first six months of using the assessment, while more defendants were released, according to the foundation. […]

[Additionally,] [t]he New Jersey judiciary has tested the foundation’s assessment tool on thousands of cases to ensure it’s retrieving the right records for defendants[.]

The Journal demonstrated how the new law looked in practice in court on Monday:

One defendant … appeared in court today on the charge of aggravated assault using a pipe in Jersey City on New Year’s Day. The third degree crime calls for a sentence of three to five years in prison if convicted and under the old guidelines, a bail of $20,000 to $50,000 with a 10 percent cash option was recommended.

But Pretrial Services had assessed [the defendant] to be a low risk of failing to appear at court hearings and of committing another crime. He also has no priors. Based on the Pretrial Services recommendation, he was released on his own recognizance, ordered to appear at all hearings in his case and to immediately give notice if his contact information changes.

On the other hand, prosecutors requested that [another defendant] be held without bail on charges he attempted to murder someone with a sword in Jersey City. The charge carries a possible prison sentence of 10 to 20 years upon conviction.

The case must now go before a Superior Court judge within 72 hours where the state must show probable cause for the charges, provide extensive discovery and call witnesses that can be cross-examined.

The judge can order the defendant held without bail if it is determined that there is no condition or combination of conditions that can be imposed to insure [he] is not a threat to the public, will show up for his court hearing, and will not be a threat to any witness.

The law has been in the works since 2014 and was a joint effort by Governor Christie and state lawmakers. It is also one of the most extensive state reforms in the country, and comes after increasing criticism of use of cash bail—including a report that highlighted just how harshly the poor were punished under New Jersey’s former bail system. NPR reports:

More than half of the people being held in U.S. jails have not been convicted of a crime. In 2013, a study found that three-quarters of people in New Jersey county jails were waiting for their day in court. Forty percent could have walked out of jail, except they couldn’t afford to make bail. […]

“They sit in jail for months and sometimes years. They lose jobs, they lose housing, they can lose connections to families, they can lose their children,” says Roseanne Scotti, director of the Drug Policy Alliance of New Jersey, which helped fund that study.

“Most of these individuals are low-risk individuals who could be released pending trial,” she says. “But because we had a money-based system, and not a risk-based system, they sat there because they didn’t have money.”

According to Scotti, about 12 percent of the people who are in jail are there for less than $2,000.

While reform advocates are largely supportive of the law, it has gotten significant pushback by many on the county level, due to potential costs. From the Inquirer:

In addition to hiring more staff, counties say, they have to pay staff for more hours and make capital improvements. The law requires that risk assessments be completed within 48 hours of a defendant’s commitment to jail, meaning county facilities will have to be open on weekends, according to the New Jersey Association of Counties.

The counties also have to make space for staff from the Pre-Trial Services Unit – newly created to monitor defendants released before trial – according to the association, which has pegged the cost of the bail changes to county taxpayers at $45 million.

The counties attempted to secure an injunction in order to stop the law from going into effect, but were unsuccessful.

Unsurprisingly, bail bondsmen have also been vocal critics of the new law. From New Jersey News 12:

Bail bondsman Kirk Shaw says that bail offices are also set to lose jobs. Before the new law was in place, friends and family would post bail money and pick up their defendants from jail.

“The people have no skin in the game, they’re going to be released unaccountable at the taxpayer’s expense,” Shaw says. “Taxpayers need to know your municipalities will be paying for this, your county’s going to be paying for this and your state’s going to be paying for this.”

Shaw and others like him profit off of the poverty of those languishing in jail—not to mention their impoverished family and friends. It is not exactly shocking, then, that he completely fails to acknowledge that the entire point of the risk assessment tool is to account for the risks he mentions. What’s more, judges have the opportunity to require additional restraints for those that are released pre-trial, such as ankle monitors.

Despite objections from the bail bond industry, the new law is expected to be a net positive for most defendants. Not only will it reduce the population of pre-trial detainees, it will also reduce the disproportionate prosecutorial power and allows the judiciary, a theoretically more neutral body, to have both the initial and final say in whether or not a defendant should be held pre-trial. (The prosecutor still has a significant role, as they are able to essentially appeal the release of a defendant by a judge.) The new process will hopefully also lessen the excessive jail crowding in New Jersey. And, of course, the new approach to bail will reduce the toxic role that money plays in our criminal justice system.

While the new law isn’t perfect, leading bail reform advocates are cautiously optimistic—while recognizing that even the new system will require monitoring to ensure it is accomplishing its stated goals.

“These reforms will hopefully bring more rationality and fairness to New Jersey’s legal system, resulting in fewer people in jail cells that have been scandalously overcrowded and dangerous,” says Alec Karakatsanis, the Founder and Executive Director of Civil Rights Corps, an organization that works to challenge cash bail systems as unconstitutional by bringing cases in counties and states nationwide.

“We must be vigilant, however, because New Jersey’s culture of poverty based jailing and the assembly line “justice” system that it facilitates, are exceedingly difficult to eradicate without continuous and urgent hard work.”

======================================

Given the unacceptably high level of people langoring in jails for lack of minor funds, it makes sense to move away from a money-based bail system to one based on statistical probabilities data.  Currently, bail determinations only work for the well-heeled.  If we state our law is intended to be just for all, let’s make it so.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

Happy Labor Day!

Wishing our readers and their families a happy and safe Labor Day holiday weekend!

New Audio Technology Registers Gunshots – And Conversations.

UPDATE 2017:  The gunshot detection devices are now operational in all five boroughs of NYC and are providing invaluable aid in removing illegal guns off of the streets of the city.

From the NY Daily News, March 28, 2017:

Two years ago, the first ShotSpotter gunfire sensors were installed in Brooklyn and the Bronx amid great concern that far too often — about 80% of the time — New Yorkers who heard shots didn’t bother calling 911.

Since then, the rate has improved — with 34% of shootings detected by ShotSpotter also resulting in a 911 call, according to 2016 statistics.

The rise comes as both arrests by police and complaints against officers are down substantially while the department adheres to a new policing philosophy that stresses a closer relationship between cops and the neighborhoods they serve.

Deputy Commissioner Jessica Tisch, the NYPD’s technology guru, said the sea change is affecting the way New Yorkers think about the NYPD.

“We know that based on neighborhood policing that the NYPD is making significant efforts to partner with the communities and we also know that cops are responding more to shots fired jobs because they know about more shots being fired,” Tisch said. “The numbers show more people are engaging with police.”

Sgt. Joseph Freer, who works with Tisch on the ShotSpotter initiative, said that even though the alerts are sent to cops’ smartphones and beat the average 911 caller by almost two minutes, the added value of an eyewitness or earwitness is immeasurable.

“We can’t have cameras everywhere,” Freer said. “We need human eyeballs, so getting that citizen call is just as valuable. We’ll get there quicker with ShotSpotter but I’d still love to tie it to witness descriptions.

“So, we want the people engaged and this increase is very heartening to see.”

Cops said knowing about more shootings gives them the ability to find more guns and more bullets, make more arrests and tie more incidents together.

In 2016, for instance, police responding to 2,399 ShotSpotter alerts recovered guns in 57 incidents — weapons that were either left at or near the scene or recovered during the execution of search warrants.

Most of those incidents — 37 in all — were accompanied by 911 calls. However, 18 were not — meaning that without ShotSpotter those guns would still be on the street, Freer noted.

Many other times, Freer said, ballistic evidence was recovered and linked to other shooting scenes.

The numbers for 2016 haven’t yet been tabulated, but in 2015, “one in five shell casings from a ShotSpotter alert matched a casing from another shooting in New York City,” Freer said.

The NYPD in 2009 tried, then quickly abandoned a similar program with a different vendor because the false positive rate was above 90%, Tisch said.

The program’s first phase focused on the South Bronx and northern Brooklyn.

Early on, it seemed New Yorkers cared little for getting involved, with the reporting rate hovering around 20%.

In one such shooting, in March 2015, someone fired 24 times from an automatic pistol and not one person called 911.

The program has expanded twice since then and will soon be covering 60 square miles, with sensors in each borough, at a cost of about $2.5 million a year.

ShotSpotter sensors, installed in more than 90 cities around the country, are essentially laptop computers with microphones on them. In New York City, they sit atop buildings in high-crime areas.

When a shot is fired the sensors set in motion a process that takes no more than 45 seconds.

A GPS chip pinpoints an exact location and time, then sends the sound recording to ShotSpotter’s California headquarters, where acoustic experts determine if a gun has been fired — or if the sound was made by something else, such as fireworks.

If it’s gunfire, a push of a button sends the information back to the NYPD. Alerts are then sent to officers’ smartphones.

Meanwhile, cops assigned to the Domain Awareness System, the department’s network of data from various sources, are able, with the click of a button, to locate the police cameras near the shooting and view in real time what is happening.

Tisch said that means the immediate aftermath of many shootings — including who fired the gun — is often caught on camera.

“It happens,” Tisch said. “And it happens a lot. And so, more and more, as we build out the camera network in the high crime, high shooting locations we are capturing more of the events that cause ShotSpotter activations.”

End 2017 update.

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UPDATE 2016:  We’ve  been keeping an eye on the Shot Spotter audio gun shot detection system that is now being installed in many cities nationwide, specifically to determine if its ability to record conversations has been used in the courtroom.  Below are excerpts from the latest DNAinfo article covering these very questions.

To find out how exactly the technology works, who has access to the data and where ShotSpotter hopes to deploy in the future, DNAinfo spoke with Ralph A. Clark about the company, founded in the mid-1990s with its first gunshot detection system installed in Redwood City, Calif. in 1997.

There are at least two instances — one in Oakland, Calif. and another in New Bedford, Mass. — of ShotSpotter recordings used as evidence in trials. How often does that happen?

Clark: Those are very rare. In those two particular cases, there was someone literally shouting over or just before or just after they got shot. The system clips [the audio recordings] off in the front, so we’ll cue it up and I think it’s one or two seconds before the gunshot event — boom, boom, boom, boom — the gunshot, and then it will play another two or three seconds after. You need that in order for our reviewers to do their work.

In the case of the Oakland situation, because the person, right after he got shot, he said ‘So and so, why’d you do me like that?’ and he yelled it out, so that was heard and picked up by our sensors. There’s nothing we can do about that. There’s no privacy issue at that point because it’s a public setting. If you’re shouting out when you get shot, that’s not presumed to be a private conversation. But I can tell you, that’s extremely rare. We’re essentially publishing 60,000 gunshots a year … and I think there’s been about four times where there’s been someone yelling over or on top of a gunshot clip.

One Brooklyn reader of DNAinfo who lives in an area included in the ShotSpotter pilot program told us he is worried that the technology is a “dragnet” that will increase monitoring of high-crime areas, without necessarily reducing gun violence. What can you say to that person who is worried about mass surveillance of his neighborhood?

Clark: We are a surveillance technology. There’s no getting around that. But it’s a surveillance technology that’s completely passive and we’re only detecting when a felony is in commission. So the NYPD — and us, for that matter — is only getting alerts when a gun is fired or when a possible gun is fired. And when we figure out that it’s not a gun that’s being fired, from a human point of view, we dismiss that and that doesn’t even get sent to the NYPD. And that just allows a level of precision for policing that’s a game changer.

I think the way Mayor de Blasio puts this technology — I think it’s perfect. I think he stepped into the breach, which I’m personally happy about being an African-American male, and said, hey, we are going to eliminate broad stop-and-frisk, but what we’re going to do in replacement of that, we’re going to be much more precise in our response and only respond when we know something is going awry. And that’s where ShotSpotter plays a very significant role. We are interested in being deployed where, unfortunately, urban gun crime exists. There’s no value in us being deployed in a place where people don’t shoot guns and so, that’s where we go.

 

End of August 1, 2016 update.

shotspotter04.12.2015    Last month, cops in New York City started testing a system that alerts them almost instantly to the location of where a gun was fired to within an accuracy of 25 meters (82 feet).   The ‘ShotSpotter’ technology utilizes strategically placed audio sensors that relay gunshot location information to nearby cops, enabling a rapid response.  ShotSpotter is used in major cities including Washington, Boston, Oakland, San Francisco and Minneapolis, as well as smaller cities like East Chicago, Ind.

The system is also smart enough to predict where subsequent shots may take place, providing officers with additional caution and backup to a “shots fired” situation.

The system was activated in the Bronx on March 18, 2015 and Shotspotter picked up gunshots in just an hour of going live.

Brooklyn Shotspotter went live several days after the Bronx, with the remaining boroughs following later if  the system proves effective.

The results thus far in these two NYC boroughs are disturbing; of the 55 gunshot incidents detected from March 16, 2015 – April 2, 2015, only 12 were called in to 911 – a poor 22% of the time someone called the emergency number to report the gunfire. Comments on the woeful reporting rate,  from the NY Daily News:

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said he knew from other cities that up to 80% of all gunplay never gets reported, but he thought New York City’s density would mean more people would report gunshots.

“I’ll be quite frank — I’m surprised that we’ve had so few calls to 911 for those shots that have been identified,” Bratton said.

Going forward, cops will make more arrests based on evidence gathered through the technology, he predicted. Police expect to expand ShotSpotter citywide after it analyzes the results of its $1.5 million pilot program.

 

What the Shotspotter technology does (according to the eponymously named company’s website):

ShotSpotter (SST) instantly notifies officers of gunshot crimes in progress with real-time data delivered to dispatch centers, patrol cars and even smart phones. This affordable, subscription-based service enhances officer safety and effectiveness through:

  • Real-time access to maps of shooting locations and gunshot audio,
  • Actionable intelligence detailing the number of shooters and the number of shots fired,
  • Pinpointing precise locations for first responders aiding victims, searching for evidence and interviewing witnesses.

How the Shotspotter technology works: 

Best explained: Unlike counter-sniper sensors which can only measure a limited range of sounds—the supersonic signature of a sniper’s round with a known ballistic coefficient—SST’s wide area protection system measures the full range of impulsive sounds (sounds which are explosive in nature) found in urban weaponry, from sub and supersonic impulses to explosions.

So basically, the SST technology – given that it is subsonic – can admittedly (by the company) pick up on anything – including conversations – that it is calibrated to monitor.

I was good with the range of Shotspotter functions until the last item.  That of audio recording of the general public’s conversations.  How long before “exceptions” allowing speech monitoring are employed in sensitive places like surrounding courthouse areas, prison courtyards, college campuses??, etc.  The incident scenes themselves.  The argument that could be made in favor of open-air audio recordings would probably be along the lines of expectation of privacy – that presumably, there is none in public areas.

The application of technology and relevant law will be interesting to follow in the coming years.

Pass notes.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

 

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