Leak Shows Crime Prediction Software Targets Black and Latino Neighborhoods

Here’s some news from the beginning of the month that I missed. Gizmodo and The Markup analyzed PredPol, a crime prediction software used in the U.S.

Residents of neighborhoods where PredPol suggested few patrols tended to be Whiter and more middle- to upper-income. Many of these areas went years without a single crime prediction.

By contrast, neighborhoods the software targeted for increased patrols were more likely to be home to Blacks, Latinos, and families that would qualify for the federal free and reduced lunch program.

Qualcomm's New Snapdragon Chip Aims to Defeat Cops and Robbers

A report from PCMag today discusses Qualcomm’s latest chip, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. It has anti-spoofing technology to protect against Stingrays.

Spoof cell sites can now be run on small, widely available boxes that pass bad data and phishing messages, Qualcomm said at its Snapdragon Summit today. Otherwise known as “Stingrays,” these faux cells can be run by criminals, law enforcement, or security agencies to collect your personal data without your permission.

Police Called on Parents Who Built an Open Source School App

Parents in Stockholm built an open source version of a school app that didn’t work properly. The school called the cops on them.

The work started at the end of November 2020, just days after Stockholm’s Board of Education was hit with a 4 million SEK GDPR fine for “serious shortcomings” in the Skolplattform. Integritetsskyddsmyndigheten, Sweden’s data regulator, had found serious flaws in the platform that had exposed the data of hundreds of thousands of parents, children, and teachers. In some cases, people’s personal information could be accessed from Google searches.

'ShadowDragon' Helps Michigan State Police Surveil its Citizens

An investigation on Thursday shows how Michigan State Police use software called ShadowDragon to collect online data. This helps them identify “persons of interest.”

By providing powerful searches of more than 120 different online platforms and a decade’s worth of archives, the company claims to speed up profiling work from months to minutes. ShadowDragon even claims its software can automatically adjust its monitoring and help predict violence and unrest. Michigan police acquired the software through a contract with another obscure online policing company named Kaseware for an “MSP Enterprise Criminal Intelligence System.”

Ukraine Authorities Seize Unencrypted Windscribe VPN Servers

VPN provider Windscribe said its servers were not encrypted, enabling authorities to create decoy servers and snoop on web traffic.

The Ontario, Canada-based company said earlier this month that two servers hosted in Ukraine were seized as part of an investigation into activity that had occurred a year earlier. The servers, which ran the OpenVPN virtual private network software, were also configured to use a setting that was deprecated in 2018 after security research revealed vulnerabilities that could allow adversaries to decrypt data.

Oh come on, VPN servers that weren’t encrypted?