View Full Version : Organised Crime and new technology (merged thread)

03-04-2011, 05:12 PM
The Tennessean, 4 Mar 11: Metro Nashville police use GPS to track gang members (http://www.tennessean.com/article/20110304/NEWS03/103040324/Metro-Nashville-police-use-GPS-track-gang-members-)

...Police and the Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole announced a pilot program on Thursday that will track 10 convicted gang members to keep them out of "exclusion zones," areas their respective gangs have been known to frequent. Gang members found in those zones could face more jail time...

...Members from a variety of gangs were chosen because they were deemed likely to continue to cause problems, with previous convictions on charges ranging from assault and weapons violations to selling cocaine. Among the gang members identified by police now being monitored by GPS units are members of the Gangster Disciples, the Vice Lords, the Bloods and the Crips....
Interested to see how the results, and the inevitable legal challenges, will work out.

03-04-2011, 07:49 PM
Interested to see how the results, and the inevitable legal challenges, will work out.

IMO GPS want do much to stop the Bangers, they will just use cell phones from inside their defined areas and do remote control gang banging. There may be some good intelligence collected if it is shared with the Police and not just kept inside the Probation department. GPS is a fantastic tool for LE but I don't think it is really going to do much for them in this case. On other types of crimes and criminals it has been used very successfully and still has a long ways to go as far as it's true potential.

The court/legal issues are of course an unknown wild card.

03-04-2011, 09:40 PM
...There may be some good intelligence collected if it is shared with the Police and not just kept inside the Probation department. GPS is a fantastic tool for LE but I don't think it is really going to do much for them in this case....
The GTF I worked with included a couple of guys from Probation - but the real intel potential was never explored or exploited, beyond selecting individuals for random parole searches. The parole searches themselves offered opportunities, but they were carried out clumsily with no intel collection conducted beyond the obvious aspects of parole violation. In this case, GPS provides an additional layer, and could provide some very interesting data for analysis. But I agree with you - unless the analysts and investigators in Nashville are really doing something seriously different, and they've broken through the traditional turf barriers, the additional info won't provide a substantial advantage beyond the deterrent value on the individual tagged.

03-29-2011, 04:31 PM
Our probation office just started this program with several of their higher profile / greater likelihood of re-offending clients. While we (gang unit) aren't holding our collective breath, we're optimistic in a couple areas.

- Where are these guys actually bedding down at night. Too often, when they have a post-conviction 4th Am waiver, they give a bogus address. There, they keep a pair of shoes & a single set of clothes. While we show up to search, enforce the probation or parole terms it is clear they are running yet another game on the system.
Hopefully, this will allow us to better ID were they are sleeping, meeting, storing items. Again, we're not holding our breath.
Some entities may have sufficient resources to run long term surveillance and determine their true addresses, not everyone does.

- Once they realize the capabilities / limitations of the systems, they will begin trying to beat it. When they do that, they'll end up sky lining themselves in other ways.

These are tools, how viable they are remains to be seen. As with any other parole/probation issue, how willing the judge is to actually enforce the conditions is paramount.

03-29-2011, 05:44 PM
Erik,if you can keep us updated and let us know how well it is or isn't working.

04-03-2011, 08:24 AM
Will certainly try.

04-21-2011, 03:52 PM
This is interesting. Also heard that the Michigan State Police have a device they use in traffic stops where they ask people for their cell phones and download the data.....without a warrant:eek:


04-21-2011, 08:59 PM
Sounds like Lester Freamon is a recent hire in music city.

04-21-2011, 09:07 PM
Funny how some (not all) civil libertarians have one standard for criminal accuseds - innocent until proven guilty; and another for cops - guilty until proven innocent. Why I quit the ACLU a very long time ago - with quite a few others.

Anyway, here is a relatively restrained piece on the issues, U.S. Police Begin Warrantless Phone Data Grabs, ACLU Fights Back (http://www.dailytech.com/US+Police+Begin+Warrantless+Phone+Data+Grabs+ACLU+ Fights+Back/article21443.htm). But then there is this, Michigan: Police Search Cell Phones During Traffic Stops (http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/34/3458.asp) (the headline asserting a fact that is not established).

This seems the most balanced article I found on a quick search, Michigan State Police responds to ACLU’s data extraction claims (http://www.thetechherald.com/article.php/201116/7094/Michigan-State-Police-responds-to-ACLU-s-data-extraction-claims) (Security, by Steve Ragan - Apr 21 2011).

Brochure for Questioned Device (http://www.cellebrite.com/images/stories/brochures/UFED%20Physical%20Pro%20Brochure%20%20ENGLISH.pdf)

ACLU Letter (http://www.aclumich.org/sites/default/files/CellebriteLettertoMSP.pdf)

MSP Statement (http://www.michigan.gov/msp/0,1607,7-123-1586-254783--,00.html)

BTW: Under Michigan law, review of FOIA is liberal. If you want, you can be in front of Circuit Judge within 2-1/2 weeks - no need to wait 2-1/2 years. So, a fair inference is that the MI ACLU does not see success in a FOIA lawsuit. Thus, its recourse has been to create a media "situation" - lots of that sort of thing happening.



07-10-2011, 11:36 PM
Back to the GPS issue ... we have had a couple of very beneficial outcomes from using these devices. Kind of nice given that there are not a bunch of them to employ.

02-22-2012, 03:33 PM
Prof David Last told the Telegraph that criminals stealing valuable loads from lorries now routinely jammed GPS trackers on board, and were also easily able to render mobile networks useless as well.

He added that if expensive cars were stolen and then smuggled onto ferries, jammers used to block their GPS trackers could pose a serious danger to shipping as well. “Shipping is also under a real and present danger,” he said.


The "GNSS Vulnerability 2012: Present Danger, Future Threats" conference will be held today at the National Physical Laboratory in England. There, the results of a recent study will show that the use of GPS jammers in the UK is on the rise — mostly due to drivers who are looking to obfuscate the movement of their vehicles. In a test conducted by the "Sentinel project," 20 roadside monitors placed near roadsides over the course of six months detected dozens of jammers on vehicles, with one location detecting 60 such incidences.

The concern, now familiar to anybody who has followed the LightSquared saga, is that interfering with GPS can do worse things than allowing a trucker to skip paying toll fees. GPS jamming is cheap and easy, and if taken to an extreme could inadvertently cause a ship to go off course. Beyond simple jamming, another issue researchers' collective radar is GPS spoofing, which is a bit more difficult but has the potential to wreak more havoc. A GPS spoofer could possibly manipulate stock trades, which are timed off the GPS clocks, though luckily no actual cases have been reported.

See also

02-22-2012, 04:16 PM
My understanding is that this only became an issue for police funded research when vehicles started to be fitted with GPS enabled tracker systems and as one would expect the systems were being disabled.

I've also listened to presentations on the use of cellphones in jails, since most UK jails are in non-urban areas; one would think using jammers would happen. No.

I expect there is an alternative view on the pro's & cons of GPS jamming.

The BBC's report:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-17119768

02-23-2012, 02:17 AM
I think the Russian GLONASS system has global coverage now. Don’t know if the devices used by criminals will jam that or not.

02-26-2012, 12:04 PM
More a comment on GPS use in the USA:
The Supreme Court’s recent ruling overturning the warrantless use of GPS tracking devices has caused a “sea change” inside the U.S. Justice Department, according to FBI General Counsel Andrew Weissmann.

Mr. Weissmann, speaking at a University of San Francisco conference called “Big Brother in the 21st Century” on Friday, said that the court ruling prompted the FBI to turn off about 3,000 GPS tracking devices that were in use.


12-30-2012, 04:00 PM
In view of the following post with an Australian article I have reviewed the threads on organised crime and the use of new technology. Accordingly I have merged '(UK) Organised crime ‘routinely jamming GPS’ with 'GPS and Gangs'.

The thread title was amended to 'Organised Crime and new technology'.

12-30-2012, 04:14 PM
An interesting, if predictable article from Australia:
Organised crime groups, drug dealers and bikies are increasingly leap-frogging the NSW Crime Commission and other law-enforcement agencies by simply using BlackBerry mobile phones and devices with special encryption technology that cannot be bugged or traced by police


I say predictable as in the UK officialdom has cited similar problems, for organised crime, CT and more in an effort to change the law on LE and intelligence access to communications data. A partial blogsite's viewpoint:http://www.bigbrotherwatch.org.uk/home/2012/12/committee-says-no-to-draft-communications-data-bill.html#more-4970