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Drivers Licenses From Four States Soon Useless In Airports For Domestic Flights

real id

Real ID Card (Note the identifying star in the top right corner.)

Over the years we’ve reported on the Real ID Act that was passed by Congress in 2005.  As of the date of this Beacon Bulletin, four states are not in compliance with this legislation: Louisiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, thereby prohibiting domestic flight travel without the presentation of a federal form of identification (passport, visa, etc.) Compliance to the federal ID law is required by all states by January 1, 2016.  . Basically, Real ID is the first major step towards a federal ID card, but this is the official definition:

From Wikipedia (not a usual source but the .gov explanation rivals the ACA legislation in terms of length):

The REAL ID Act of 2005, Pub.L. 109–13, 119 Stat. 302, enacted May 11, 2005, was an Act of Congress that modified U.S. federal law pertaining to security, authentication, and issuance procedures standards for the state driver’s licenses and identification (ID) cards, as well as various immigration issues pertaining to terrorism.

The law sets forth requirements for state driver’s licenses and ID cards to be accepted by the federal government for “official purposes”, as defined by the Secretary of Homeland Security. The Secretary of Homeland Security has currently defined “official purposes” as presenting state driver’s licenses and identification cards for boarding commercially operated airline flights and entering federal buildings and nuclear power plants, although the law gives the Secretary the unlimited authority to require a “federal identification” for any other purposes that the Secretary shall determine.


In the news:

New ID rule is a problem for driver licenses

N.Y. minimum to fall short of enhanced U.S. standard

By Michael Gormley
on September 8, 2015 – 9:49 PM

ALBANY – New Yorkers looking to board a domestic flight or take a cruise next year could find themselves grounded unless they have driver’s licenses containing additional security data that is soon to be required by the federal government.

That’s because the state has failed to comply with the minimum standards of the federal Real ID system by not mandating these so-called enhanced licenses, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The state contends that it has complied because it makes enhanced licenses available to those who want them.

At an undetermined date next year, the federal government is expected to require that state driver’s licenses meet minimum security standards to board even domestic flights and cruises under the Real ID Act passed by Congress in 2005 based on a recommendation by the 9/11 Commission.

New Yorkers will then have to hold an “enhanced driver’s license” embedded with passport-type data. Without an enhanced license or enhanced nondriver’s ID, travelers will need a passport, passport card, permanent residency card, birth certificate or one of a few other acceptable pieces of identification, in addition to their standard driver’s license, to fly, go on a cruise or to enter most federal buildings. A passport card is a wallet-size card that can be used to enter the United States from Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean by land or sea, but not by air.

We carry our passports regardless, given our history of unexpected international travel, but with NYS’s non-compliance with the Real ID, it just makes sense.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.


8 Ways That You Can Be Legally Tracked

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“But don’t they have to have probable cause to search my email or get my Facebook records?”  I can’t tell you how many phone calls we’ve received with that question  – and as we tell each caller, “We are not attorneys, judges or the court or the police department. But, uh, what happened?” (Who doesn’t want to hear a good story??)

(Anyhow, for the purpose of this article,  “they” means law enforcement.)

Here are the situations and the applicable laws:

1. Phone Records: Calls you have made and received

How they get it

Wiretapping is illegal without a judge’s warrant, however, police only require a subpoena from a court to obtain your phone scrolls (outgoing and incoming calls).

A warrant requires showing probable cause, a subpoena needs only to be relevant to an investigation, a much lesser standard of evidence.

Applicable law: 

Smith v. Maryland, a Supreme Court ruling in 1979, which found that the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure doesn’t apply to a list of phone numbers.

2.  Location: Your phone is a tracking device

How they get it

Cell towers.

Applicable Law: 

The federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act (EPCA) cited by the police for these records dictates that the data must contain “specific and articulable facts” related to an investigation – again, that lesser standard of evidence.

3.  IP Addresses: Which computers you use

How they get it

Email providers such as Google, Yahoo, MS, etc.  amass tremendous amounts of data about our digital journeys. A warrant is needed to access some emails (see below), but not for the IP addresses of the computers used to log into your mail account or surf the Web. According to the ACLU, those records are kept for at least a year.

Applicable law:

U.S. v. Forrester, is a case involving two men trying to set up a drug lab in California.  Prosecutors successfully argued that tracking IP addresses was no different than installing a tracking device to a phone to track each number dialed by a given phone (which is legal).   Police only need a court to sign off on a subpoena certifying that the data they’re after is relevant to an investigation — the same standard as required for cell phone records.

4. Emails

How they get it

Prior to Sen, Leahy’s bill introduced earlier this year, only recent email required a warrant; email aged over 180 days required only a court subpoena related to an investigation.

Applicable Law

Once again, the ECPA comes into play.  The Leahy bill would require a warrant to get all emails regardless of age.

5. Email drafts: drafts are different

How they get it

Communicating through draft emails, à la David Petreaus and Paula Broadwell, seems sneaky. But drafts are actually easier for investigators to get than recently sent emails because the law treats them differently.

Applicable Law:

The ECPA distinguishes between communications — emails, texts, etc. — and stored electronic data. Draft emails fall into the latter, which get less protection under the law. Authorities needs only a subpoena for them. The Leahy bill would change that by requiring a warrant to obtain them.

6. Text messages: As with emails, so with texts

How they get it

Investigators need only a subpoena, not a warrant, to get text messages more than 180 days old from a cell provider — the same standard as emails.

Applicable Law: 

Currently being challenged in several states otherwise, the ECPA applies.

7. Cloud data: documents, photos, and other stuff stored online

How they get it

Authorities typically need only a subpoena to get data from Google Drive, Dropbox, SkyDrive, and other services that allow users to store data on their servers (aka, cloud storage).  EXCEPT: If that data is shared. (see below).

Applicable Law:

The ECPA defines cloud data the same way it does draft emails – as storage – making a warrant unnecessary. However, shared files, such as a collaboration through Google Docs is considered “communication” so a warrant is required.

8. Social media: Too new to tell

How they get it

Read your social network’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. (Stop laughing.) When it comes to sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, the social networks’ privacy policies outline how cooperative they are in handing over users’ data to law enforcement. Facebook states it requires a judge’s warrant to disclose a user’s “messages, photos, videos, wall posts, and location information.” But it will supply basic information, such as a user’s email address or the user’s IP addresses under a subpoena.

Applicable Law:

Too soon to tell but we’re know that a Manhattan Criminal Court judge upheld a prosecutor’s subpoena for information from Twitter regarding an Occupy Wall Street arrest on the Brooklyn Bridge in 2011, marking the first time a judge allowed prosecutors to use a subpoena rather than a warrant to get the information.

Bottom Line: Assume that everything you write can and will, if necessary, be read by law enforcement so don’t do whatever it is that you haven’t done.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe and stop typing your life online.

Anatomy of an IP Conversion and Investigation.



Stealing is stealing.  The reason we react so strongly to someone arrogantly and without permission replicating our actions, thoughts, bodies of work, etc. is because of the way we are hard wired to respond to personal theft – the fight or flight instinct kicks in.  For the purpose of self-preservation alone this reaction occurs.  The innate biophysical response to theft is the same whether the item(s) stolen are tangible hard items or concepts.  


“Someone stole my wallet.”  It is your wallet. You own it and its contents.  From an investigator’s standpoint, the ownership is usually clear and then a criminal investigation follows.

“He stole my project.”  But the theft of a concept or idea involves an entirely different scenario.  (I am not a lawyer and none of my comments in this article are meant to be in any way construed as legal advice.  I do, however, have substantial experience in investigating intellectual property thefts.  We’ve worked with major entertainment companies to identify unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials,  individuals unlawfully copying proprietary coding to former gym partners claiming ownership of a work out technique.)

First, let’s look at how intellectual property is stolen via the two below methods.

I.  Intellectual property theft

Intellectual property is any innovation, commercial or artistic; any new method or formula with economic value; or any unique name, symbol, or logo that is used commercially. Intellectual property is protected by patents on inventions; trademarks on branded devices; copyrights on music, videos, patterns, and other forms of expression; and state and federal laws. The crime of stealing intellectual occurs when someone intentionally copies someone else’s ideas or product. The other person or company—the victim—has done all the work, but the thief reaps all of the profits.  From the National Crime Prevention Bureau

II.  Conversion

n. a civil wrong (tort) in which one converts another’s property to his/her own use, which is a fancy way of saying “steals.” Conversion includes treating another’s goods as one’s own, holding onto such property which accidentally comes into the convertor’s (taker’s) hands, or purposely giving the impression the assets belong to him/her. This gives the true owner the right to sue for his/her own property or the value and loss of use of it, as well as going to law enforcement authorities since conversion usually includes the crime of theft.  From law.com.

Intellectual property theft investigations and conversion investigations are similar but researching the latter requires the detective to think like the convertor; ok, the thief.


How a conversion thief thinks:

“I like what John is doing.  I have a similar – but better – idea but his is already working.  How do I cut through the years it took him to put this all together and get MY show on stage?”

Let’s further break down the thought process:

  1. The thief notes that John is ahead of him in terms of viability.  (The concept is already successful for John so it works and, why recreate the wheel or put in the hard effort?)
  2. The thief’s mindset defaults to his concepts being better than John’s, therefore, he is entitled to “build” on John’s body of work.  He sees himself as the grand master.
  3. The thief already thinks of the “new” or “reimagined” product/concept as his.

The convertor then has three options in accessing and transforming John’s materials to make them his own:

  1. To outright copy John’s work;
  2. If the thief is already involved in the project, he will then distance John from his property by modifying the original concept.
  3. Draw John in under the guise of being part of the overall bigger, better production; extract the unique concepts or techniques that John has worked on for many years and eventually overshadow him until the thief has his own property built from John’s labor and that of others.

From an investigator’s perspective in determining how and when the conversion occurred, we draw the timeline:

  • How did the victim and thief meet? (Were they simply mutually in the same physical space, were they introduced – if so, by whom? Was it a casual, circumstantial introduction or intentional connection? If the latter, why?)
  • What did the victim possess that the thief wanted? (Define the concept.)
  • How was the victim drawn in? (Partnership offered? Alleging a shared goal?)
  • How was the victim eventually (and inevitably) removed or marginalized from the production?

The logical questions asked within that timeline will always yield the answers to how and when a property was stolen.

Personality traits of a conversion thief:

  • Narcissistic
  • Surrounds himself with credentialled people, (borrowed credibility)
  • Usually very socially adept
  • Charming, congenial
  • Sees himself as smarter than everyone else

Guard your intellectual property as best possible by having your property trademarked, copyrighted, registered, patented, etc.,  and avail yourself of solid legal advice.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.






College Romance or Victim of a Campus Predator?

college kids

(Originally published on March 17, 2014; updated on September 8, 2015.)

Update: Reporting Year: 2014

According to the CDC:

• In a nationally representative survey of adults,
37.4% of female rape victims were first raped
between ages 18-24.

• In a study of undergraduate women, 19%
experienced attempted or completed sexual
assault since entering college.

As students and parents prepare for the new college semester,  we find it necessary to give a heads up to students and their parents regarding the relatively old (but newly reformatted) threat that has always existed for those taking their first steps into the real world of living away from home, on or near campus; that of campus sexual assault.

In the past several years, we’ve experienced a sharp rise in cases involving a very target-specific type of sexual and emotional abuser; one who focuses his attention on college students.  The campus predator.

Unlike your garden variety slime of sexual offenders, the campus predator is not focused on seeking multiple sexual assault victims.  Instead, he  selects one from “the herd” of students whom he has studied and has decided that this “special one” has the resources to enable his lifestyle.   

Physically, he is older (mid to late 20s, early 30s), often poorly educated (but presents with a broad, if not in-depth- knowledge base), with a low income, emotionally stunted in adolescence, sexually promiscuous and with no tangible future plans other than to live through his potential victim’s resources. (In other words, her family’s assets.)

Personality-wise, the campus predator is a narcissist, supports delusions of grandeur and possesses a sense of entitlement.  He strives to appear well-educated, uses his family (parents, siblings…) as props to give the appearance of having a normal family life and disguises his true predatory goals as ambition.

His actions are planned; a grooming process.  He often does things to “set up” a potential victim to determine his ability to manipulate her. Grooming behavior is designed  to try to get the potential victim interested in the predator and to gauge the potential victim’s responses to his  advances, which become increasingly sexual and sexually deviant in nature.   Grooming is part of a process that predators undertake to manipulate and then isolate their targets.   This process can involve  threats, emotional abuse, coercive acts to determine the victim’s “loyalty” and will almost always involve alcohol and drugs – with or without the victim’s knowledge and or permission. The four F’s of a campus predator  are Friendship, Fantasy, Fear, and Force.

How to spot a campus predator: (for parents):

1. Your child is suddenly in a new relationship that appears to be advancing too quickly. (He’s generally more sexually sophisticated and this often gives the young college student a false read of being in love.  Biochemically, a strong physical attraction does engage but it is one-sided.  The predator is, after all, incapable of a true relationship, given his halted emotional growth.)

2. He rapidly and methodically befriends your daughter’s friends.  (He is trying to control her information sources.)  He will then proceed to analyze each for weaknesses (drug use, sexual orientation, ego issues…) and systemically lop off those friends he cannot manipulate.  The weaker-willed friends he will draw into compromising situations.

3. He tries to ingratiate himself to the parents.   He will try to learn everything he can about the potential victim’s family, appearing to be interested but actually looking for the “family secrets”.  If rejected by the parents/family, he initiates a divide and conquer effort; in essence pitting the child v. the parent (already engaged in a natural struggle for separation and formation of a separate new adult) and places himself in the position of being “the only one who understands” her.

4. New as  your college student child may be to alcohol and drug intake, he will ensure that those dis-inhibitors gain entry into your child’s chemistry.  While under the influence (and possibly even blanked from the young victim’s memory), he will have her engage in sexual activity that he records.  (Possibly future extortive efforts.)

5. Given that he has no ability to plan a true future, he pushes the relationship to exclusivity and towards engagement/marriage in a very rapid time frame; generally within a matter of months.

6. If all else fails to “secure the deal”, he will attempt to impregnate his perceived conquest, who, by now, is basically afraid or so committed to this dangerous relationship that this plan may be with her active planning, to ensure the parent’s capitulation.

How to spot a campus predator (for university managers and security):

1. He is generally an older male.  He usually attempts to make himself look younger (very clean-shaven, wearing youthful clothing, his speech includes the most current slang/colloquial usage…)

2. Frequents college bars.

3. Is often noted buying drinks for college students.

4. Seems to be the “go-to” guy for students experimenting with adult entertainment or drugs.

5. Employ common sense.  If every weekend, an older non-student is hanging out at the college bars and there is considerable activity occurring around him (hard-drinking, many visits outside or to the rest rooms to sell/buy drugs – two or three guys going to the men’s room together are not going there in an attempt to quietly discuss the first round NFL draft picks), observe and investigate.

Finally for the most vulnerable, the actual young college students themselves:

1. Be it one friend or an entire sorority that has your back, don’t allow yourself to become separated on a consistent basis from them by an “outsider”.   Do not allow yourself to be isolated from family and friends.

2. Keep the lines of communication with your parents or other trusted older adults open.  They’ve experienced more than you have and often, the advice given  (and that’s all it is, you will eventually have to make your own decisions) is simply something you may not have thought of as it’s not part of your frame of reference.

3. If it’s too good to be true… you know the rest.  There is no rush to be married or have children at 18 or 22.  Stay focused on your life goals and achieving them in a reasonable time frame.

We as a society need to work as a whole to ensure the safety of all of its members, particularly those that are perfect fodder for conscience-challenged predators.   If your child, friend, sibling… exhibits new, alarming behavior, check her most recent influences. The campus predator will usually stand out, red flags flapping like a wind-sock in a tornado.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

Happy Labor Day!

Make sure you grab these final days of summer;  BBQ, go picnicking, enjoy the beach, etc.!! And have a safe and happy Labor Day!!


labor day


We’ll be back to our regular publishing schedule tomorrow with our thoughts on the Ashley Madison customer information breach.  Aside from the potential embarrassment (not so much perhaps from being on the email list but from their sexual preferences), has AM violated federal consumer protection laws?  In tomorrow’s Beacon Bulletin.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.

As always, stay safe.

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