A federal judge in Las Vegas has ruled that FBI agents went too far when they shut off Internet service to a Las Vegas hotel room last summer, then posed as repairmen so they could get a peek into the room without a search warrant.

In an elaborate, “Ocean’s Eleven”-like ruse, FBI agents went undercover at a Las Vegas casino to catch members of an alleged sports betting ring operating out of a high-roller suite. New video released of the July sting inside Caesars Palace was recorded from the lapel of one of the agents after he gained access to the villas. But how he collected evidence isn’t sitting well with lawyers of the suspects — one of whom is 50-year-old Malaysian millionaire and gambling guru Paul Phua.

The FBI, working on a tip, cut off Internet access to Phua’s room. Agents later posed as computer repairmen called in to fix the blackout. Once inside, the agents glanced at the suspects’ computers in the room, claiming they saw evidence of illegal betting. “I got the URL for the site they were wagering on,” one of the agents says in the video, which was obtained by NBC News. After coming back with a search warrant, the FBI arrested Phua and his son, accusing them and six others of taking millions of dollars in bets on the World Cup.

More at NBC.

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TSA uniform

The Intercept reports that the TSA, who is supposed to be looking after our transportation systems, has moved into theme parks looking for terrorists.

Yes, the Transportation Security Administration’s embattled $900 million behavior detection program, called Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques, or SPOT, is not just used at airports. It’s also used at theme parks.

TSA has trained security teams from SeaWorld, Disney World and Busch Gardens to use the same checklist of behavior indicators, which includes “wearing a disguise,” “whistling,” “exaggerated yawning” and “excessive laughter,” according to interviews and documents obtained by The Intercept.

In March, The Intercept published the now widely ridiculed 92-item checklist of behavior indicators used by TSA’s behavior detection officers at airports around the country. The SPOT program, now referred to by TSA as the Behavior Detection Analysis program, has been the subject of several audits and reviews by oversight agencies and congressional committees, which have criticized the program’s methodology and scientific basis.

The SPOT program has never been effective, no matter what name they want to call it. The GAO said it didn’t work in 2011. The DHS Inspector General said it was useless and ineffective in 2013. It has failed to identify any terrorists and has been under scrutiny since its inception having failed to ever improve.

“They have plainclothes people at SeaWorld and Disney doing the same behavior detection, looking for the same indicators we look for at the airport,” a source told The Intercept.

Apparently, just stepping inside a Disney theme park makes you a terrorist. If you go there, don’t have fun. Anything you say or do will probably put you on a list somewhere.

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The beauty of hackers, says cybersecurity expert Keren Elazari, is that they force us to evolve and improve. Yes, some hackers are bad guys, but many are working to fight government corruption and advocate for our rights. By exposing vulnerabilities, they push the Internet to become stronger and healthier, wielding their power to create a better world.


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Police traffic stops are in the news again, tragically, sparking a new round of discussion on whether and how to outfit police with cameras and other technology.

For several years now, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s CyLab Biometrics Center have been testing an iris recognition system that can be used to identify subjects at a range of up to 40 feet.


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“[A big event] doesn’t trigger privacy concerns,” she says. “What does trigger privacy concerns is the City of Boston installing a network of cameras — some in residential neighborhoods — that enable law enforcement to track individual people from the moment that we leave our homes in the morning until the moment we return at night, seeing basically everywhere we went and everything that we did.”

Boston Police won’t say how many cameras are already in the city’s network, or how many new ones are going up for the marathon. But some of them will stay online afterward.

More at NPR.

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