Cell phone recording of police is ok – says Washington D.C. police chief, Cathy Lanier

We’ve written a number of stories about police officers interfering with citizens who are trying to record the actions of police in public places. In some cases, cops have arrested citizens for making recordings in public. In others, they’ve seized cell phones and deleted the recordings.

The courts and the Obama administration have both said that these activities violate the Constitution. And at least one police department has gotten the message loud and clear.

In a new legal directive first noticed by DCist, Washington DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier explains the constitutional rights of DC citizens and gives her officers detailed instructions for respecting them. She addresses a number of scenarios that have led to controversy in recent years.

“A bystander has the same right to take photographs or make recordings as a member of the media,” Chief Lanier writes. The First Amendment protects the right to record the activities of police officers, not only in public places such as parks and sidewalks, but also in “an individual’s home or business, common areas of public and private facilities and buildings, and any other public or private facility at which the individual has a legal right to be present.”

 

Keep reading: ars technica – DC police chief announces shockingly reasonable cell camera policy

 

Continue reading Cell phone recording of police is ok – says Washington D.C. police chief, Cathy Lanier

Teddy Bears are banned in Belarus – so democracy activists fly them in

On Thursday, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko confirmed that a small aircraft piloted by democracy activists had violated Belarusian airspace in July when it crossed over from Lithuania. The aircraft was carrying a cargo of teddy bears, which parachuted into the Belarusian capital, Minsk, on July 4.

Lukashenko was peeved at his military commanders and air traffic control had failed to stop the plane’s raid into Belarus. Government officials have been trying to sort out how the activists planned the attack and why national security operatives failed to stop the small planes raid into controlled air space.

The plane was piloted by the cofounder of a Swedish ad agency on behalf of Charter 97, a Belarussian democracy advocacy group. The group has since organized other teddy bear assaults, including staging of teddy bears in front of the Belarusian Embassy in London-which caused embassy officials to call the police– to protest Lukashenko’s repression. Protestors have adopted the teddy bears as a symbol of resistance against Lukashenko.

 

Source: Foreign Policy – Teddy bear aerial assault over Belarus confirmed

 

 

Continue reading Teddy Bears are banned in Belarus – so democracy activists fly them in

Professors fight crime with math – using data to predict crime ‘hot spots’

I love this story on ‘predictive policing’. Researchers use data to predict “hot spots” for crime and then send it over to the police. The cops on the beat patrol those areas more often and crime drops.

Math for the win.

The best way to fight crime is to keep it from happening in the first place. And while they don’t wield guns or carry badges, three UCLA faculty members are helping the Los Angeles Police Department do just that.

The scholars bring cold, hard science to predicting where certain crimes are most likely to be committed, a practice that, until now, relied largely on cops’ experience and intuition. In development for six years, the “predictive policing” software helps cops identify potential crime hotspots and stop illegal activity before it takes place.

The program generates color-coded "heat maps" that indicate the "highest probability areas for where crime will occur that day," says math professor Martin Short.

In its initial test, the software did a great job of befuddling bad guys. During one five-week period last fall, police recorded about 100 fewer burglaries and motor vehicle thefts than they had during the same timeframe in 2010.

At the heart of the work is the premise that certain crimes—home invasion, burglary and grand theft auto are prime examples—are more likely to occur in rapid succession and close proximity to one another, which Anthropology Professor Jeffrey Brantingham calls a “self-exciting process.”

via – UCLA Magazine

 

Congress orders FAA to integrate drones into the U.S. aviation system

As the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration prepares to let civilian unmanned aircraft operate in domestic airspace, universities including Embry-Riddle have created majors in flying and building drones. Enrollment is accelerating as students look for new opportunities in an aviation job market pummeled by airline bankruptcies.

The drone industry, estimated worldwide at $5.9 billion annually, will expand to $11.3 billion by 2021.

During the past 10 years, drones have become a vital military tool in Iraq and Afghanistan, creating a platform to attack terrorists without risking pilots’ lives and giving ground troops a chance to see their opponents from the air.

Congress passed bills in December and February that ordered the FAA to create six test sites for flying unmanned aircraft alongside regular planes. The agency must also complete a plan for integrating unmanned flights into the aviation system by Sept. 30, 2015.

Unmanned aircraft could be used for photography, police surveillance and monitoring pipelines and power lines. U.S. Customs and Border Protection has special permission to use drones.

more at – Bloomberg

 

Here are a selection of drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), used by the military. I suspect the first to be employed privately will be the helicopters for police surveillance.

A BQM-74E aerial drone is launched from the guided-missile frigate USS Thach (FFG 43) during a live-fire exercise.
Global Hawk Drone.
First flown in 2002, the Boeing X-45A was the first modern UAV designed specifically for combat strike missions. The stealthy, swept-wing jet has fully retractable landing gear and a composite, fiber-reinforced epoxy skin. Its fuselage houses two internal weapons bays.
The U.S. Navy's Fire Scout Vertical Takeoff and Landing Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (VTUAV) launches into its flight test program.
A Shadow Unmanned Aerial Vehicle is being attended to by three soldiers at Forward Operating Base Fenty, Jalalabad Airfield, Afghanistan.
A Northrop Grumman RQ-8B Fire Scout Vertical Take-Off and Landing Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (VTUAV) System.

 

// Photos – An Honorable German, Rennett Stowe, Cliff1066, Marion Doss, US Army Africa, & Marion Doss

// Thx to Kosso K

The new W hotel in Paris – brings in the invisible crime-scene art of Zevs

If you’re a fan of W hotels then the new W Paris Opéra is going to delight you.

Among the many artists brought in to remodel the 1870s Haussmann era building was French artist Zevs, known for his style of “exploring not what is seen, but what is left to the imagination.”

For the Suite 112 installation, Zevs worked with invisible ink that he created in a laboratory in New York City, mimicking the special red pigment used by police at crime scenes. “This red reminds you of the blood of a crime scene, but it’s also the most visible color, so I like the extreme aspect between the invisibility of the ink and the extreme visibility of the color,” he says.

We caught up with the artist at the opening night party, where a man dressed as a CSI expert shone a UV light slowly over the walls to reveal patterned Louis Vuitton wallpaper with Zevs’ signature dripping logos. “With the idea to place logos into a crime scene, I think simply the idea is to continue to investigate the territory of this fashion victim project I did last year,” he says, referring to a Sao Paolo Fashion Week event in which a naked model was “murdered” by a Louis Vuitton logo and Zevs outlined her body on the street in chalk.

via Cool Hunting

Crime Lineup from the 1930's – Los Angeles Police Department (photo)

May 9, 1936: Suspects line up during a Los Angeles Police Department “show-up,” now known as a lineup, as victims or witnesses try to identify alleged crime perpetrators.

via LA Times 130th Anniversary

Crime Lineup from the 1930’s – Los Angeles Police Department (photo)

May 9, 1936: Suspects line up during a Los Angeles Police Department “show-up,” now known as a lineup, as victims or witnesses try to identify alleged crime perpetrators.

via LA Times 130th Anniversary