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G.W. Schulz
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Blog Entries by G.W. Schulz

License Plate Databases Aid Authorities In Stopping Crime, Worry Civil Libertarians

19 Comments | Posted January 12, 2012 | 01/12/12 12:59 PM ET

Story comes courtesy of Cailfornia Watch.

By G.W. Schulz

Capitalizing on one of the fastest-growing trends in law enforcement, a private California-based company has compiled a database bulging with more than 550 million license-plate records on both innocent and criminal drivers that can be searched...

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Big Apple Bonanza: $24M in Homeland Grants for NYPD Overtime

Posted February 24, 2011 | 02/24/11 06:45 PM ET

New York City plans to use an eye-popping $24.3 million this year in federal homeland security grants just for paying overtime to its police department, money that's generally set aside by Congress to help states battle terrorist threats and prepare for disasters. The multimillion-dollar line item is buried in local...

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'For Official Use Only' Intel Memo Directs Police to Pipe Down on Facebook

Posted February 23, 2011 | 02/23/11 01:56 PM ET

In February of 2009, Gary Waters went to court in Brooklyn, accused of possessing a loaded 9mm handgun and bundle of ammo while on parole for burglary. It looked like a simple case. But Waters escaped the charge. Why?

The NYPD officer named Vaughan Ettienne who arrested Waters had a...

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When Can Cops Gain Access to My Private Info on Facebook?

Posted January 27, 2011 | 01/27/11 10:39 PM ET

It's often done in secret. Law enforcement investigators seek access to private user information stored by websites, routinely imposing a gag order that prohibits the Internet company from telling anyone about the demand.

Don't you at least have a right to know the rules governing such quiet disclosures? When...

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SBInet Is Dead, But Don't Expect an End to Costly Border Surveillance

Posted January 21, 2011 | 01/21/11 12:25 PM ET

After months of inaction and hundreds of millions in taxpayer money handed over to defense giant Boeing Co., federal officials have chosen to give up on a troubled border surveillance initiative known as the "virtual fence," or SBInet.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano pulled $50 million in...

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Is WikiLeaks Driving Bank of America to Seize Ugly Web Domains?

Posted January 20, 2011 | 01/20/11 02:28 PM ET

A little-known company that specializes in protecting the public image and product identity of Fortune 500 companies is quietly buying up hundreds of domain names that could be used to host online criticism of the mammoth financial services outfit Bank of America.

Tools like Whois.net allow the public to...

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'Big Sister' Continues Push for Suspicious Activity Program

Posted January 6, 2011 | 01/06/11 08:17 PM ET

Urging everyday Americans to report suspicious activity they believe could be linked to terrorism remains a leading priority for Barack Obama's homeland security secretary, Janet Napolitano. Bridge workers, shopping retailers, hoteliers, garbage collectors, patrol officers and your next-door neighbor have all been encouraged to notify authorities if they...

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Arms and Secrecy: What You Don't Know About the WikiLeaks Fallout

Posted December 16, 2010 | 12/16/10 01:46 PM ET

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Hundreds of mines, mortar rounds and rocket-propelled grenades discovered in 2008 by the Iraqi National Police and U.S. troops. Image courtesy Army Spc. Daniel Herrera

No one deals more weapons to the rest of the world than we do. During...

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Pat-down Protesters Tangled With the TSA Online

Posted November 29, 2010 | 11/29/10 06:15 PM ET

2010-11-29-tsablogscreen2.JPGTransportation security officials insist they came out ahead from a Thanksgiving holiday that at one time looked like it might turn the nation's airports into endless misery. The organizers of National Opt-Out Day encouraged travelers to resist controversial body scanners by opting...

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Is Your Boss Spying Off the Clock?

Posted November 11, 2010 | 11/11/10 03:42 PM ET

Remember that hazy trip to Cabo San Lucas with old friends a few years ago? Those margaritas were huge. You just had to post photos of them on Facebook, along with a few other Kodak moments. Then you mostly forgot about them.

Even if you don't recall all of the...

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With Border Surveillance in Trouble, a New Defense Contractor Lines Up

Posted October 26, 2010 | 10/26/10 12:58 PM ET

At a mid-October conference in Dallas that drew thousands of security industry professionals and government officials, defense mega-contractor Raytheon Co. unveiled its latest pricey product for keeping the nation safe, a bid to remotely detect would-be border crossers before they enter the country illegally.

Command-and-control centers staffed by border...

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Bureaucrats Can't Resist Celebrity Snooping in Government Databases

Posted October 14, 2010 | 10/14/10 03:54 PM ET

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Image: Transportation Security Administration

One is characterized by extraordinary wealth, endless adoration and a certain place in history. The other endures grinding repetition, virtual anonymity and paychecks that seem to graduate at the slowest pace humanly possible over a period of decades.

...
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Frank Rizzo and Pennsylvania's 56-year Legacy of Police Spying

Posted October 5, 2010 | 10/05/10 11:21 AM ET

Students of Pennsylvania history thought something sounded familiar when they learned Sept. 14 that the state's Office of Homeland Security was paying a private contractor thousands of dollars to compile "intelligence" on dangerous elements, including environmentalists, gay and lesbian organizations and even a nonprofit tied to...

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Firm Packed With Ex-Customs and Border Officials Lands Contract

Posted October 4, 2010 | 10/04/10 08:25 PM ET

The U.S. Border Patrol's announcement that it was seeking to hire a contractor for "strategic consulting" services first raised eyebrows when it appeared back in July on a site that advertises business opportunities with federal agencies. Even industry publications that typically cater to contractors were skeptical -- Government...

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Database of Suspicious Activity Going Live With Little Attention

Posted October 4, 2010 | 10/04/10 08:05 PM ET

Federal officials are closer to establishing what amounts to a nationwide database of so-called "suspicious activity reports" that describe possible evidence of terrorist attack planning. Reports will be submitted not just by state and local police and agencies within the Department of Homeland Security, but also by private...

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Airports Aren't the Only Place to Find Companies Selling X-Ray Scanners

Posted September 10, 2010 | 09/10/10 04:11 PM ET

While debate continues in the United States over whether whole-body imagers now being used at airports to detect weapons violate privacy rights and even create potential health risks, manufacturers of the technology are opening deeper opportunities for themselves elsewhere that could make the controversial machines an even bigger part of...

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Coast Guard Resources for Protecting the Environment Fell in Recent Years

Posted September 2, 2010 | 09/02/10 03:44 PM ET

The Coast Guard since 2005 has dedicated fewer and fewer resources to environmental protection, one of its myriad responsibilities that includes preventing oil spills like the BP catastrophe now making history in the Gulf of Mexico.

A new report from the Department of Homeland Security's watchdog inspector...

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How Did Spiced Rum Became a Homeland Security Threat in the Caribbean?

Posted August 20, 2010 | 08/20/10 08:08 PM ET

Virtually everything today is in one way or another a potential danger to U.S. national security. There are foreign terrorists, of course. Beyond that authorities cite drug cartels, downturns in the economy, espionage, street gangs, counterfeit goods, right-wing militias, left-wing environmentalists and the multiple personalities of Mother Nature.

Beautiful Caribbean...

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