We begin with a positive development, via CNN:
Ferguson police chief resigns, says it’s ‘hard pill to swallow’
Embattled Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson resigned Wednesday, a week after a scathing Justice Department report slammed his department. Jackson and the city “have agreed to a mutual separation,” Ferguson officials announced.
“It’s a really hard pill to swallow,” Jackson said in a text message responding to CNN’s request for comment. He also confirmed his resignation in a letter to Ferguson’s mayor.
“It is with profound sadness that I am announcing I am stepping down from my position as chief of police for the city of Ferguson, Missouri,” Jackson said, adding that serving the city as police chief “has been an honor and a privilege.”
From BuzzFeed News, young-uns quick on the trigger:
Younger Police Officers Are More Likely To Shoot People Than Older Ones
Research shows that younger officers are more likely to be involved in shootings, even though age is rarely mentioned as a factor in the aftermath. “It’s a dirty little secret that we’re hiring police officers too young,” a veteran Boston officer said.
The age of an officer is perhaps the least-discussed factor in a fatal encounter with police, and the maturity of an officer rarely comes up in news conferences after an incident. Age wasn’t mentioned in the Justice Department’s deep, 86-page analysis of Brown’s fatal shooting released last week.
Yet research shows that younger officers are more likely to be involved in shootings, and that the risk of shootings declines as officers age. That may be because younger officers are more likely to be working on the street than behind a desk, according to researchers, but it could also be that younger officers are predisposed to react with deadly force.
Unions for the Ferguson Police Department, New York City Police Department, and Cleveland Police Department did not respond to requests for comment.
What’s a little snooping between friends?, via the Guardian:
Australian spy officer was sent to New Zealand to lead new surveillance unit
- New revelations also show NZ’s spy agency, GCSB, had access to NSA program to hack phones and computers of targets in the Asia-Pacific
Australia’s defence intelligence agency sent an officer to work with New Zealand’s spy agency to help them develop their cyber capabilities and lead a new operational unit, new documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden reveal.
On Wednesday the New Zealand Herald and the Intercept published new revelations about the role of New Zealand’s spy agency, the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) which disclose new details about its role gathering intelligence from Vietnam, China, India, Pakistan, Japan, South Pacific nations and other countries.
The disclosures also reveal that the GCSB had access to an NSA program codenamed WARRIORPRIDE used to access phones and computers that “can collect against an Asean target”. A March 2013 report describes New Zealand working towards improving its cyber capabilities to improve detection, discovery of new tools and disruption of the source of intrusions.
From the Verge, flying high to get the downlow:
The CIA helped develop planes that scrape cell phone data
The US may be using cellphone-sniffing planes to find suspects across the world, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal. In November, the Journal revealed the US Marshal’s secret program to locate specific fugitive through airplane equipped to mimic cell towers. Flying over an urban area, the planes can pinpoint the location of a single number amid a million or more phones. The new report shows the technology first originated with the CIA, which guided the initial deployment of the planes by the Marshal Service. Furthermore, Journal sources say continues to be used to locate intelligence targets overseas.
If true, the report unveils a powerful weapon in US intelligence efforts abroad, but also reveals a troubling trend of foreign intelligence tools used for domestic law enforcement purposes. The plane-mounted cellphone detector is a potentially ingenious tool for intelligence gathering, but it seems to have moved from CIA intelligence work to domestic fugitive tracking with little to no oversight, a troubling reminder of how easily tools designed for the War on Terror can be put to domestic ends. Electronic privacy advocates have already raised doubt about the practice. “There’s a lot of privacy concerns in something this widespread, and those concerns only increase if we have an intelligence agency coordinating with them,” the EFF’s Andrew Crocker told the Journal.
Norse cops busted for doing what American cops — and spooks — do routinely, via TheLocal.no:
Norway police broke law with fake base stations
Norway’s Police Security Service (PST) persistently violated the law as it established a network of fake mobile phone base stations across Oslo last year, Norway’s Aftenposten has revealed.
According to the paper, police and PST deliberately ignored a requirement that they should inform the country’s telecoms authority before setting up ‘IMSI catchers’, which mimic mobile base stations, allowing their operators to intercept and eavesdrop on mobile phone calls made nearby.
The newspaper last December identified a series of “fake base stations” outside Norway’s parliament, outside its government headquarters, and outside the residence of the prime minister, using a German CryptoPhone 500 to identify them.
It now appears that many, if not all of the devices, were set up by Norway’s own security services.
From Agence France-Presse, a Dutch metadata and email collection defeat:
Dutch court nixes data storage law, says privacy breached
A Dutch court on Wednesday struck down a law requiring telecoms and Internet service providers to store their clients’ private phone and email data, saying it breached European privacy rules.
“The judge ruled that data retention is necessary and effective to combat serious crime. Dutch legislation however infringes on the individual’s right to privacy and the protection of personal data,” the Hague district court said.
“The law therefore contravenes the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,” the court said in a statement. Seven groups and organisations including privacy watchdog Privacy First and the Dutch Association of Journalists dragged the Dutch state to court last month over the issue.
From SecurityWeek, don’t phone it in:
Dropbox Android SDK Flaw Exposes Mobile Users to Attack: IBM
IBM researchers discovered a flaw in Dropbox’s Android SDK which can leave mobile users vulnerable to attack.
The issue was not in the Dropbox service or the mobile app itself, but rather in the company’s SDK that third-party developers include to let users easily connect to their Dropbox files, Michael Montecillo, director of security intelligence at IBM Security, told SecurityWeek.
The vulnerability (CVE-2014-8889) was present in the SDK versions 1.5.4 through 1.5.1.
From the Associated Press, Cold War 2.0 intensifies:
Ukraine’s neighbor Poland to test resilience to attack
Poland will hold an exercise this year to test its resilience to a “crisis” like the conflict in neighboring Ukraine, President Bronislaw Komorowski said Wednesday.
Komorowski spoke to reporters during an annual meeting of army commanders and the defense minister that examines Poland’s defense potential and outlines key security tasks.
He said the nation needs to raise its defense potential in the face of threats, including the armed conflict that involves Poland’s two neighbors, Russia and Ukraine.
More casualties in the Forth Estate, via Fox News Latino:
2 Journalists murdered in Guatemala
Two journalists, one who worked for the daily Prensa Libre and another employed by Radio Nuevo Mundo, were murdered in front of a government office building in Suchitepequez, a province in Guatemala, emergency services officials said.
Danilo Lopez and Federico Salazar were gunned down on Tuesday in the city of Mazatenango’s central park by two individuals riding a motorcycle.
Lopez, a reporter for Prensa Libre, was pronounced dead at the scene, while Salazar, who worked for Radio Nuevo Mundo, died at a hospital in the city.
From RT, the Hexagon at high alert:
France to keep 10,000 troops on streets as terror threat remains high
As the threat of attacks by Islamist extremists remains high in France, President Francois Hollande has decided to continue the deployment of 10,000 troops on the streets across the country.
“The threat of terrorist attack against our country remains high. The head of state has decided to maintain the level of the army on the national territory at 10,000 troops in support of security forces from the Interior Ministry,” Hollande’s office said in a statement after a meeting of senior ministers, AFP reported.
A total of 7,000 troops will be monitoring and protecting religious buildings that are “particularly threatened,” the statement added.
From TheLocal.it, ISIS insanity:
Italian police: ‘Isis flag’ was jacket in tree
Police called to investigate an alleged Isis flag hanging outside an apartment building in Italy made a surprise discovery, finding what they feared may be extremist propaganda was, in fact, a resident’s washing put out to dry.
Police were called to an apartment block in Porto Recanati, on Italy’s eastern coast, after locals raised the alarm that an Isis sympathizer may be within their midst.
The officers searched the building and questioned residents, but were unable to recover the mystery black cloth spotted hanging from a tree next to the apartment block.
On further investigation police discovered that the supposed propaganda tool was nothing more than a jacket, swept into the trees after being hung out to dry, Corriere della Sera reported on Wednesday.
From Agence France-Presse, Britain’s NSA goes all how-to:
UK spies write ‘how to catch a terrorist’ guide
Secrecy is a cornerstone of spycraft, but Britain’s GCHQ communications agency has gone public with a guide on how to catch a “terrorist” as the government calls for increased online snooping powers.
In an apparent effort to make the secret services more transparent, the five-step guide illustrated with the image of an old-school spy in a trenchcoat was published on the monitoring agency’s website.
Entitled “How does an analyst catch a terrorist?”, it takes readers through the ways in which GCHQ analysts identify a suspicious stranger spotted overseas.
Under the scenario, the guide says an MI6 source based overseas spots a leader of the Islamic State group handing a stranger a message containing information “that will cause carnage across London”.
After the jump, the Saudi/Swedish schism widens after a denunciation and an arms deal ended, on to the ISIS battlefront, first with another archaeological assault, ISIS on the brink of losing Tikrit while another city threatens to fall under ISIS guns, America’s top general voices concerns of events after an ISIS collapse, Washington frets over its own anti-Assad forces, hundreds of medics killed in the Syrian conflict, the UN’s plan to send Syrian refugees to northern Europe, and ISIS hacks Japanese websites while Anonymous down an ISIS social network, it’s on the the Boko Haram front and the claim of hundreds slain, France pledges more troops to the effort, and the U.S. backs a U.N. call for a regional anti-Boko Haram command, Indonesian fears of an ISIS insurgency and Indonesia threatens to flood Australia with refugees, Chinese island-building draws a Philippine demand, Japan mulls extending North Korean sanctions, the U.S. Marine commandant frets an Okinawan base relocation, and after Ringling Brothers retires its elephants, the Pentagon ponders using them as bomb detectors. . . Continue reading