Archive for February, 2011

Long Beach Tells Teens To Pick Up Saggy Pants

Long Beach Tells Teens To Pick Up Saggy Pants

Call for ‘respect’ during Black History Month

February 3, 2011 12:17 PM

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(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

LONG BEACH (CBS) — City leaders want young people in Long Beach to do two things this February: pick ‘em up and keep ‘em up.

Bishop William Ervin along with Carson City Councilman Mike Gipson are calling on black children and teens to “pull up their pants on their waist” as a sign of respect during Black History Month.

KNX 1070′s Ron Kilgore reports their message to young men who wear their pants down around their knees is simple: “You can have the swag without the sag”.

Listen to the full report

Community leaders say the plan is not just for cultural purposes, but may have legal benefits as well: sagging pants are often used for profiling purposes by law enforcement agencies.

Feds ‘Pinged’ Sprint GPS Data 8 Million Times Over a Year

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Sprint Nextel provided law enforcement agencies with customer location data more than 8 million times between September 2008 and October 2009, according to a company manager who disclosed the statistic at a non-public interception and wiretapping conference in October.

The manager also revealed the existence of a previously undisclosed web portal that Sprint provides law enforcement to conduct automated “pings” to track users. Through the website, authorized agents can type in a mobile phone number and obtain global positioning system (GPS) coordinates of the phone.

The revelations, uncovered by blogger and privacy activist Christopher Soghoian, have spawned questions about the number of Sprint customers who have been under surveillance, as well as the legal process agents followed to obtain such data.

But a Sprint Nextel spokesman said that Soghoian, who recorded the Sprint manager’s statements at the closed conference, misunderstood what the figure represents. The number of customers whose GPS data was provided to local, state and federal law enforcement agencies was much less than 8 million, as was the total number of individual requests for data.

The spokesman wouldn’t disclose how many of Sprint’s 48 million customers had their GPS data shared, or indicate the number of unique surveillance requests from law enforcement. But he said that a single surveillance order against a lone target could generate thousands of GPS “pings” to the cell phone, as the police track the subject’s movements over the course of days or weeks. That, Sprint claims, is the source of the 8 million figure: it’s the cumulative number of times Sprint cell phones covertly reported their location to law enforcement over the year.

The spokesman also said that law enforcement agents have to obtain a court order for the data, except in special emergency circumstances.

The information about the data requests and portal comes from Paul Taylor, manager of Sprint’s Electronic Surveillance Team. He made the revelations at the Intelligent Support Systems (ISS) conference, a surveillance industry gathering for law enforcement and intelligence agencies and the companies that provide them with the technologies and capabilities to conduct surveillance.

The conference is closed to press, but Soghoian, who is a graduate student at Indiana University, obtained entry and recorded a couple of panel sessions, which he posted on his blog (see below). In one of the recordings, Taylor is heard saying that the automated web system was rolled out a year ago and that in 13 months it had processed more than 8 million requests for GPS data from law enforcement.

“We turned it on the web interface for law enforcement about one year ago last month, and we just passed 8 million requests,” Taylor is heard saying. “So there is no way on earth my team could have handled 8 million requests from law enforcement, just for GPS alone. So the tool has just really caught on fire with law enforcement. They also love that it is extremely inexpensive to operate and easy.”

Soghoian concluded on his blog that the quote provided proof that “location requests easily outnumber wiretaps, and … likely outnumber all other forms of surveillance request too.”

He cites a telecom attorney named Al Gidari who claimed at a talk last year that each of the major wireless carriers received about 100 requests a week for customer-location data. At 100 requests a week for each of the top four wireless carriers, the total should be around 20,000 requests a year.

“I now have proof that he significantly underestimated the number of requests by several orders of magnitude,” Soghoian writes.

But Sprint spokesman John Taylor (who is not related to Paul Taylor) says Soghoian had “grossly misrepresented” the 8 million figure, which doesn’t refer to unique requests or to individual customers, but to the total number of “pings” made on every number for the duration of a law enforcement request.

“The figure represents the number of individual pings for specific location information, made to the Sprint network as part of a series of law enforcement investigations and public safety assistance requests during the past year,” said spokesman Taylor. “It’s critical to note that a single case or investigation may generate thousands of individual pings to the network as the law enforcement or public safety agency attempts to track or locate an individual.”

There are four circumstances under which law enforcement agents can use the Sprint website and obtain GPS data: 1) under the authority of a court order; 2) to track the location of a customer who has made a 911 call; 3) in an emergency situation, such as tracking someone lost in the wilderness or trying to locate an abducted child or hostage; 4) with a customer’s consent.

In the case of court orders, Taylor said agents are required to provide Sprint with the order, after which the company provisions the law enforcement account to allow an agency to track the targeted phone number. Court orders cover a 60-day period, and agents can do automated pings to obtain real-time GPS data every three minutes throughout that 60-day period. Taylor says this accounts for the 8 million figure.

“If you can access the info every three minutes over 60 days, that adds up pretty quickly,” he told Threat Level.

He added that the GPS data includes only latitude and longitude and the date and time of the ping.

The automated system was set up so that law enforcement agents wouldn’t have to contact Sprint’s electronic surveillance team each time they wanted to ping a phone number throughout the 60 days of a court order. Agents still have to obtain a subpoena to get historic call detail records, such as phone numbers called, the date, time and duration of calls and the cell site and sector from which the calls were made.

Episode #30 – CopTalk Podcast

Ask a Cop?,

Reader Questions:

Texting and not paying attention….

Oakland, CA – Criminals following home shoppers and being robbed in the privacy of their home.

How do we determine you are speeding?

Ask a Cop? Working Radar at night…

Subject: Running Radar

Is it legal for the police to run radar on a 4 lane highway (2 lanes north & 2 lanes south) after dark without having any lights of any kind on? I have seen the local city police and sheriff doing this in northern West Virginia.

Our Reply:


You asked a simple question (thank you) and it can be answered in 3 words… “yes it’s legal”.

Just as with motorist who don’t slow down at night – neither does traffic enforcement and it’s probably safe to say those officers sitting in the dark working radar have probably gotten a lot of intoxicated drivers off the highway just from working traffic enforcement. Those officers you see are more than likely using laser devices which are much more accurate than traditional radar units. The number of lanes on a highway running in either direction is not a factor. The lasers are extremely accurate and have a very long range. Our advice? Stay within 10 mph of the posted speed limit and that will usually keep you out of traffic court!

Stay safe – and thanks for your question

Jim Lambert

Ask A Cop? The dreaded wall….

I was just wondering if there is a better technique to getting over the six foot wall? I got over all three , but missed my time by three seconds. How can I speed my time up so that i get over all three walls in under 15 seconds. i have been running, is there anything else. please help if possible.

practice practice…. running is one thing
practice on the wall just as much as you run.
My bet is you’ll see improvement in a weeks time!

Ask a Cop? – In a place after dark…

Subject: In a place that is closed after dark

Myself and three of my friends were sitting on a boat dock when a police officer pulled up and asked us what we were doing and we were just sitting there they searched us and nothing was found but he said that he was not sure if he was going to cite us. Then he drove away can we still be fined.

Our Reply:

When a group of people  are sitting, standing or loitering in an area that is closed or otherwise not a common public area, it draws a cops attention and they usually will stop to see what you are doing. I don’t know the circumstances but something made the cop decide to contact you and search you. If nothing illegal was found, the only thing I can think of that you could be cited for would be curfew (if you are under 18 and were out late at night) or trespassing if it was private property. If he left without having you sign a citation, I don’t see how he can decide to cite you later. If someone receives a citation, they have to sign it and be given a copy showing the violation and the court date. Sounds like he was trying to scare you into leaving.
Ask a Cop? – Possession

Sent: Thursday, April 23, 2009 9:05 PM
Subject: Possession

I have somewhat of a strange question I guess.  Well I lent my brother awhile ago my ATV and trailer to use.  Well time went on I moved really didn’t have a place to put it so wasn’t worried about it.  Well now he is trying to sell them.  Friend of mine found a flyer at local hardware store.  I have all titles and registrations I live in Michigan.  What should I do.  I don’t really want him to get arrested I guess but I do want my stuff back before it is sold to a third party and gone forever.  What can I do.  He changed his number so don’t know how to reach him.  I know where he lives and when I go there no-one answers the door.


First thing I’d do is leave a note on your brother’s door telling him to call you regarding the property. If you get no response, I’d call the local police department and ask for a “Civil Standby” while you get your property back. Officers would meet you at the property and stand by while you retrieve the property. You didn’t mention how long it has been in your brother’s possession but as long as you have the titles in your name you should be able to get them back. If your brother got duplicate titles in his name, then it will be a little more tricky and you might end up on Judge Judy to solve the matter….

Call the police department in the jurisdiction where your brother lives and explain the situation. I’m sure if you explain that you lent your brother the property, have the titles in your name, and now want the property back because he is trying to sell it, they should be able to help you. There is a chance they may tell you it’s a “civil” matter and refer you to the courts if it’s been a long time. In that case, you could file a small claims suit against your brother for the either the property or the value of the property. Hope this helps.

Always be aware of your personal safety above all else.

Contra Costa County Drug Czar goes to jail

Driver uses iPhone app to impersonate cop

There are several applications that mimic police lights, which can be seen in the videos below the story

Chicago Sun-Times

VALPARAISO, Ind. — Using your phone to try to play cop? Evidently there’s an app for that.

That’s what Northwest Indiana police discovered after a woman reported a suspicious car trying to pull her over Saturday night. She told police a black Pontiac GTO with flashing blue and red lights at the top of its windshield tailgated her and seemed to try to pull her over about 10:40 p.m.

But she suspected the driver really wasn’t a police officer, so she kept driving and called 911.

When police caught up with the car they found no flashing lights, but a passenger handed over a cell phone, belonging to driver Fabio Bindel, 30, of Valparaiso, and it had an application designed to imitate a police car’s emergency lights. Bindel was arrested for impersonating a public official and drunken driving.

In closing:


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