Major iPhone Facetime Bug

Apple recently released a fix for the major iPhone Facetime bug that allowed others to eavesdrop on conversations—even if they never answered the call.

How Was the Bug Discovered?
The bug went viral about a week ago and was all over the news channels and social media. A 14-year-old boy, Grant Thompson, discovered the flaw while he was facetiming with a group of his friends.

Privacy Concerns for Law Enforcement
From a law enforcement perspective, this raises privacy and security concerns, because this glitch could have put many lives at risk. Can you imagine if a criminal or hacker used this feature to gain high-level remote access to the conversations of a police officer or staff member? And then used that information to get access to the Officer, their family members, or co-workers. It’s frightening reality and a wake up call for all of us.

Cyber-Criminals Spying on Devices
It is a scary thought to think of cyber-criminals spying on devices that belong to police officers or federal agents, capturing the audio and video of the Officer before they answer the phone. They could even capture the location of the Officer without their knowledge or even if they never answer the phone. If you haven’t already done so, the best thing to do is to quickly update your iPhone to avoid any future safety issues.

How to Update Your iPhone:
1) Open the settings on your iPhone
2) Tap General
3) Choose Software Update
4) Let your iPhone download and install the new software

Thank goodness the bug was caught, reported, and fixed! We wouldn’t want anyone listening in on our private conversations or putting our law enforcement officer’s safety at risk.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Privacy for Cops congratulates all the Federal employees on the ending of the record-long shutdown!

On January 12, 2019, it officially became the longest shutdown in government history with a record 35-day shutdown. According to the Associated Press, some 800,000 federal workers have had to work without pay or have been kept from doing their jobs as Trump and congressional Democrats were locked in an impasse over the billions of dollars that Trump has demanded to build a border wall.

The impact of a government shutdown on public safety can be enormous
1. Federal Agents
Required to report to work and risk their lives without pay, federal agents such as FBI, TIGTA, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents are authorized and required to conduct official business during a government shutdown.

2. Travel Delays and Airline Safety
Some of the nation’s busies airports had TSA agents not reporting to work and calling in sick. Although they were required to report to work, they were not being paid so many of them refused to cooperate. These types of excessive absences pose a major security issue.

3. National Parks Closed
No oversight, so littering and destruction become an issue

During the shutdown, all federal employees who are believed to be “nonessential” are furloughed without pay. Essential personnel can include:

• Federal Agents, such as FBI, TIGTA, U.S. Marshals, and DEA
• Active Duty Military
• Doctors and Nurses Working in Federal Hospitals
• Air Traffic Controllers
• TSA Officers
• Meat and Poultry Inspectors
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention members
• IRS Personnel
• Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms field offices
• National Park Rangers

A government shutdown causes low morale for those who are still required to report to work and affects many different departments. Let’s hope the government stays open so that families no longer have to suffer the financial burden so many have had to bear.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

School Resource Officers

It’s a sad fact that in our nation virtually every school from elementary all the way through college must now have at least one SRO (School Resource Officer) on duty at all times. These SROs are on-duty police officers who like any other have sworn to serve and protect. In most states, they are not employed by the school or the school board. Yet it seems that despite this fact an SRO with the Warren, OH police department was escorted from the elementary school in which he was working.

The Reason
It seems that after warning the Principal of the school numerous warnings for parking in a marked handicap space, the SRO (an LEO with the Warren, OH PD) issued the Principal a citation. Following this, the principal of the school ordered the school’s business manager and head of security to escort the LEO from the campus.

According to Michael Currington, Warren PD union representative, the officer did, in fact, issue the principal several warnings. Keep in mind that marked handicap spaces no matter where are covered under ADA laws, including on school property. Thus, no matter how you look at it, the law states that a citation will be issued, and the vehicle towed if the owner is not present in most states. Citations do vary from one state to the next, ranging from around $250 to as much as $1,000 or more.

Part of the problem may be in the way accessible parking space violations tend to be treated as pretty low on the priority totem. Perhaps the Principal felt that as the “head” of the school they were “above” the law or that because they had no one at the school in need of a marked spot, it didn’t matter. The reality is that Warren PD Officer Adam Chinchic was doing his job as prescribed under numerous federal and state laws designed specifically to protect the handicap.

Instead of being recognized for his diligence in protecting the disabled and enforcing the laws, the Chinchic instead had to endure the embarrassment of being “escorted” from the campus like a common criminal. To make matters worse (if that’s possible), Office Chinchic had to miss a lunch date with one of the little girls at the school.

Who’s in the Right Here?
When you get right down to it, all law enforcement officers are sworn to uphold the law period. No one is above the law, not the officer, not the principal, no one. It is apparent that the officer went above and beyond his duty by taking the time to issue a number of warnings before issuing the citation.

At issue, the idea that a school principal feels first that he has the authority to order a law enforcement officer from a public school, second that business manager and head of security went along with it, and third that the same principal feels that he has the authority to park in an accessible parking space.

The other issue here is that our educators are supposed to be teaching our children to respect the law. However, when a school principal tries to set himself above the law, it shows our children that it is okay to break the law. The story needs to be followed to see whether or not the Chinchic’s commanders will back him up and whether or not the principal will be made to pay the citation.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New Laws to Protect Police K-9 Units

Until recently it seemed as though few took much notice when a K-9 officer was killed in the line of duty beyond his handler and those in the department he served in. Yet, police dogs go through rigorous training that takes months to complete; they are completely bonded to their human officers and often become a part of that officer’s family.

Saving Lives without Fear
The job of a police dog is not an easy one, they are often the first one in the line of fire and put themselves unafraid into some of the most dangerous positions imaginable. Positions that a human officer either can’t get into, such as in a crawlspace or cannot reach in time to make a difference.

In many instances, the police dog saves the day by taking out the perpetrator before they can harm the officer or anyone else. Bottom line, in many cases the presence of a K-9 can defuse a situation long before it escalates to the point of violence and the potential for someone ends up getting killed.

But What Happens if the K-9 Is Injured or Killed?
Herein lies the problem, far too many people still see dogs as nothing more than animals that deserve little to no respect. To see this, all you have to do is look at the number of abandoned and abused dogs at the shelters across the nation. So, when a K-9 officer is injured or killed in the line of duty, the penalties in most states have been minor at best.

But the deaths and injuries to K-9 officers are a fact of life, for example in California 2017, ten K-9 officers were killed in the line of duty. At the moment, injuring or killing a K-9 officer in most states in a misdemeanor that typically results in a fine and a few years in prison. Seems like nothing more than a slap on the wrist for killing what is in all essence a police officer, yet this is exactly where things are at across the country.

Cranking Up the Penalties
In California, Fresno Assemblyman and former Mayor of Fresno Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) is one of the co-sponsors of the “Police Dog Protection Act of 2018.” The bill aims to raise the crime of injuring or killing a K-9 officer from a misdemeanor much like a parking ticket to a felony. The same thing is happening in Florida where a bill is being introduced that would raise the punishment for killing a police dog to a felony that carries a 5-7-year stint in prison.

These are just two states’ attempts to elevate the crime of killing a K-9 officer to felony level. Connecticut has a bill going through the Senate that will impose a fine of up to $10,000 and ten years in prison. Even the feds are getting involved with new laws being considered on a federal level. It’s long past time that K-9 officers received the recognition they deserve and that those who would do them harm receive the punishment they deserve.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

No Texting While Driving Tickets

No matter where you turn, it seems as though you see more newspaper and magazine ads, TV commercials, and more that texting and driving is simply, well, a stupid thing to do. Most of the pictures depict horrendous motor vehicle accidents, which if you are lucky you have yet to have to deal with.

Recently in Salt River, AZ, Officer Clayton Townsend, a member of the Salt River Police Department was killed by a distracted driver who was too busy texting their cellphone to pay attention to where she was going.
According to the reports, Officer was conducting a routine traffic stop on a Tuesday evening, having pulled a vehicle over on the northbound side of Loop 101 close to McDowell Rd. The officer was standing by the driver’s door as is the norm. Suddenly a black passenger vehicle entered the breakdown lane, striking the vehicle Townsend had pulled over before hitting the officer, causing severe head injuries.

The officer was transported to the hospital but later succumbed to his injuries later that evening. According to 40-year Jerry Sanstead, the driver of the black vehicle, he was texting when he lost control of his vehicle and after crossing two lanes of traffic, struck and killed the officer. Despite the efforts to stop people from texting while driving and causing more accidents like this one, these types of accidents have become all too familiar.

The National News
The death of Officer Townsend made national news and is just one more reason for supporting continued action towards legislation in all 50 states making it a crime to be on your cellphone texting while driving. Arizona is currently one of only three states that do not have laws in place banning texting while driving.

Let’s take a look at this for a moment if you live in Arizona, Montana, or Missouri (only applies to drivers under 21), your risks of being hit by a driver texting while you are conducting a traffic stop than in any other state. In this day and age, it’s hard to imagine any state not taking this step to protect not only their law enforcement officers but everyone else who happens to be out on the roads.

It gets worse. How could it get any worse you ask? How many of you men and women in blue spend time texting while driving? Admit it; you probably justify it by saying your texting is job-related. But, no matter how you look at it, you are just another one of those “idiots” you should be pulling over.

The only way we are ever going to stop accidents like the one that took officer Townsend’s life, leaving behind a wife and ten-month son is to do our jobs and keep working to put an end to senseless loss of life like this, is to pull over when you have to text and keep writing those tickets. If you live in one of the three states without texting and driving laws, you should work with others to get this changed. The life you save could be yours!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fentanyl Abuse Crisis Is Getting Worse

For those of you who are not familiar with Fentanyl, it’s a synthetic opioid that is intended to be used as an acute pain reliever in place of morphine. The big difference is that it is typically listed as being between 50 and 100 times more powerful. How powerful, a single grain of Fentanyl the size of a grain of sand is enough to give a person a heroin-like high. Two grains this size is enough to kill a healthy adult.

When used in a hospital setting, the dose is administered via a patch over 48 to 72 hours. On the street, this crystalline powder is typically mixed with other drugs such as ecstasy to achieve specific results. The extreme potency of this drug is what Fentanyl abusers seek out and what makes it so dangerous. Over 49,000 people died of Fentanyl overdose in the U.S. in 2017, and the epidemic is only getting worse.

How Did the Fentanyl Crisis Start?
One of the largest reasons behind the Fentanyl crisis is the fact that this drug is so cheap to manufacture. Add to this the fact that the vast majority of it comes from China in small shipments that are virtually impossible to catch on their way through customs. At current prices, one-kilo of Fentanyl sells on the black market for approximately $20,000, but by the time it hits the streets, that same kilo is worth $20 million.

Another major source is the number of physicians who have been over-prescribing pain medications for decades. Many gave patients open-ended refills that led to significant abuse and a thriving market for leftover medications and duplicate prescriptions. Then there is the government who still seems to be sitting on their hindquarters instead of coming up with a successful plan to open more treatment centers and safe injection sites rather than clogging up the prison system, which does no good whatsoever.

The Challenges Law Enforcement Faces with Fentanyl Abuse
First and foremost, due to the methods used by importers, customs agents have a tough time detecting the shipments due to the vast quantities of shipments coming into the U.S. from China. With prison overcrowding already pushing prisons past the point at which their seams are bursting, ineffective sentencing laws have done very little to discourage the black market.

With the number of suppliers steadily increasing, finding a new source and setting up business has never been easier. Making it almost impossible for Law Enforcement Officers to stay on top of the growing number of dealers. Merely handling Fentanyl can be dangerous as the many officers who have been hospitalized because of it. To make matters worse, an officer never knows when they will encounter the drug or under what circumstances.

Is There a Solution to the Fentanyl Crisis?
The key to solving the Fentanyl crisis lies in education. Law Enforcement Officers need to be taught more about community policing and harm reduction. At the same time, making sure officers have access to Naloxone in their drug testing kits is a good step in the right direction.

But, it takes long-term efforts like cutting back on the number of prescriptions written for these drugs, increasing the number of prescription fraud investigations, and increased funding for safe injection sites, and addiction counseling are all long-term strategies for reducing the Fentanyl crisis.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Closed for Christmas and New Years!

In order to give our staff time to spend with their families during the holiday season, Privacy for Cops will be closed December 25, 2018 and January 1, 2019.

Support Options Limited

Beginning December 24, 2018 to January 2, 2019, support options will be limited. We appreciate your patience during this time. Happy Holidays!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Do You Know What to Do If You Are Caught in a Data Breach?

In the past several years there have been massive data breaches in which the personal information of millions of Americans has been accessed by hackers from around the world. To make matter worse, we only hear about the significant data breaches, small ones happen every day, but no one reports those. The big question is, “Do you know what to do in the event your personal data becomes part of a data breach?”

What you need to do to protect yourself is all a matter of what type of personal information was accessed during the breach. If the breach occurred at a banking institute, federal law requires everyone affected be notified of the breach and what information was stolen. In the event of the breach occurring at a major company, only 46 states have laws requiring them to notify you.

Fake Notices
It is not uncommon for a number of “phishing” scams to pop up immediately following the announcement of a data breach. Never click on links in emails, even if they look real. Always visit the company’s website and follow the instructions listed there if any.

Your Passwords
If the breach included accessing your passwords (or for that matter even if it didn’t,” now is the perfect time to change all your passwords, even those that may not have been directly affected just to be on the safe side.

Watch Your Email
Keep a close eye on your email inbox. If you get emails requesting you divulge personal information or click on a link. Delete these immediately. If you receive a suspicious email from a company you are used to dealing with, call them for verification.

Your Credit Cards
If the loss includes your credit card information, be sure to contact your credit card companies and ask for new cards to be sent to you with new numbers. Some lenders will do this automatically, but it is up to you to protect yourself. Also, worth noting, is that since it was just the number that was stolen, under the Fair Credit Billing Act, you are not responsible for any authorized purchases.

Your Debit Cards
Under the same act, you are not liable for any purchases made with your debit card following the theft, providing you report the loss within 60 days. At the same time go ahead and have your bank cancel the cards and issue you new ones. Talk to your bank about using a verbal password to access your account to keep thieves out.

Your Social Security Number
More damage can be done by identity thieves with your social security number than anything else. You only have to contact one of the three major credit reporting agencies to have them put an alert on your account. By law, they have to tell the other two. The alert will be seen by lenders who know to take extra precautions and steps to ensure it is really you they are dealing with.

These are the most important steps you can take to protect yourself should your information be part of a data breach. Be proactive by keeping an eye on your credit report. You are entitled to one free printed copy from each of the three major credit reporting agencies each year. Some credit cards like Discovery now let you check your FICO score any time you want, others like Credit Karma let you see what’s on your report at any time.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Portable Fingerprint Scanners

For law enforcement officers, trying to identify suspects on the street can be challenging. It is far too easy for a person to give a false name and other forms of misinformation. While out on the street, officers lack the same access to resources they can use to help identify the person. This forces officers to rely on nothing more than a driver’s license or state issued ID may or may not be reliable.

Many Reasons to Need ID
There is any number of reasons why an officer might need to be able to positively identify a person on the street. Perhaps there was an incident nearby or a terrorist alert, or any one of many other criminal activities. Of course, officers all start with the same method of identification. They ask a number of standard questions such as name, address, and so forth as a means to identify them. At the same time, it gives the officer time to assess the person and how far they need to go with the identification process.

There is, of course, no way in which to determine whether the person who is being questioned is presenting a false name and ID. It is far too easy for a criminal to produce a perfect facsimile of virtually any form of identification capable of fooling the average officer on the street. This makes the whole concept of using an ID card as a valid form of identification somewhat antiquated. Plus, you have the issue of those who for one reason or another are not carrying the ID with them.

Enter the Mobile Fingerprint Scanner
Mobile bio-metric equipment is nothing new; it has been in use in smartphones, tablets, and laptops for several years. In fact, the use of this technology has been an essential security feature in devices such as these and more.

These mobile devices look a lot like something that belongs on the Starship Enterprise, yet they offer today’s law enforcement officers a chance to obtain a more accurate positive ID for anyone they stop and question. These devices allow officers direct access to the national fingerprint database where millions of fingerprints are stored digitally.
While identifying a suspect in the field has always been a problem for law enforcement officers, with so many suspects willing to lie about who they are, those days might finally be coming to an end. The latest in mobile fingerprint scanning devices bring all of the benefits of being in the office, and all the equipment police officers have access to with them out into the field.

The net result is these devices make it far easier for officers to identify every person they stop accurately. More importantly, these devices make the entire process go far more quickly, reducing the amount of time it takes to positively ID the person and allowing the officer to release them or complete the arrest and get back to keeping their respective communities safe.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Should You Be Narrating Your Traffic Stops?

Although the practice of narrating traffic stops is not mandatory, only a small percentage of officers do so. Yet, you might be surprised at how much it can help others to see your thought process should your actions be called into question at a later date. Here’s a simple fact, there are going to be times in which a simple video recording is not going to be enough.

Exactly What Do We Mean by Narrating Your Traffic Stops?
Narrating traffic stops is a simple process in which you make use of both your in-vehicle video system and your body cam to record more than just your visible actions during a traffic stop. Instead, you add in useful commentary during to explain your actions, where and why you behaved in a certain manner.

This will provide you with more useful evidence should your actions be called into question as the narration can show your state of mind or reasoning behind making your decisions as to what steps you decide to take in a particular situation.

However, this does not mean that you need to keep a running commentary throughout the entire stop. This would, in fact, be “overkill” and might have a negative impact on the outcome of an inquiry rather than a positive one. So, as you can see, you must put some thought behind the narration of any traffic stop you make to ensure your video will have some evidentiary value.

Here are a few tips to help enhance the value of your recordings:

1. Tell Us What You Were Thinking
One of the most important things to keep in mind if you are going to narrate your video is to make sure you tell us what you are thinking before, during, and after the stop. Things like what you see that leads to initiate the stop in the first place. This type of thinking out loud can make a big difference should your actions be called into question.

2. Just the Facts
Be sure that during your narration, you stick to the facts. For example, you should not say, “Driver appears to be drunk” as this is nothing more than an opinion. Instead, you should state, “Vehicle is swerving all over the road,” this is a valid statement and is verifiable (thanks to the video recording). If you add too many statements of opinion to your recordings, you could be giving a sharp defense attorney the ability to claim that your recording is filled with unsubstantiated details and call for them to be inadmissible as evidence. Stick the facts, and you can’t go wrong.

3. Short and Sweet
Your narrations need to be kept short and sweet. You don’t need to be like the sportscasters who love to fill their commentary with “color” as a way to keep their listeners engaged. The only reason you should be adding commentary is to cover any area of the video that needs to be explained. For example, if you see a bulge in the person’s waistline, it could indicate they are carrying a weapon, your narrative should cover this. In turn, this will help explain the actions you take next. At the same time, don’t let the need to narrate distract you from what you are doing. It will take practice to master this skill, but it could make the difference in the successful outcome of an arrest and your being charged with misconduct.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment