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(Associated Press via CBC)

The Alibi App, another reason for police to assume they’re always being recorded

It’s called the “Alibi App”, the developer calls it a “DVR for your life”.

The Alibi smartphone app promises to be ‘a DVR for your life.’ It records audio, video and location around the clock to provide proof of what happened whenever necessary. (Associated Press via CBC)[/caption]It’s the ultimate in “set it and forget it”, once started the alibi app always has the last hour of one’s life.

The obvious problems with U.S. wiretapping laws notwithstanding, the implications for police are significant:

  • You won’t necessarily see it recording as it runs in the background
  • You may not see anyone turn anything on
  • Constantly records last hour of video, audio and location
  • The user can save the video and the file is hidden on his phone

In a recorded program on CBC in Canada, the developer says it doesn’t record phone calls (there are other apps that do that).

Click here for the full article from CBC.

A Tweet-a-thon for Crime Stoppers, Dec 5th


On June 27, 2014 the third #PolTwt was held by LAws Communications and ConnectedCops.net. Waterloo Regional Crime Stoppers, in spite of not being a police agency, registered to participate in the online event because they felt they had valuable information to contribute to the conversation. It was during the course of this event that @WaterlooCrime noticed the participation of two other Crime Stoppers organizations in the event; Crime Stoppers USA (@USACrimeStop) and the Canadian Association of Crime Stoppers (@CanStopCrime) were also joining the conversation. Waterloo Regional Crime Stoppers asked the question, why not hold a global Crime Stoppers tweet-a-thon? Jeanean Thomas of Waterloo Regional Crime Stoppers contacted Lauri Stevens of LAws Communications and not long after #CStwt was born.

The global Crime Stoppers Tweet-a-thon will be held on December 5, 2014 beginning at 8:00am and lasting for 24 hours in each timezone. The event is modeled after the global Police Tweet-a-thon and will take place via Twitter using the hashtag #CStwt.. The first global Police Tweet-a-thon happened in March of 2013 connecting police officers and law enforcement agencies around the world with the communities and citizens they serve. #CStwt aims to emulate the success of #PolTwt by developing and fostering online relationships between Crime Stoppers and the community, in addition to education the public about Crime Stoppers.

There are several ways to participate in #CStwt. Crime Stoppers programs at local, county/regional, provincial/state & national or international levels may choose any of the following options

  1. Tweet all current/historical unsolved cases & appeals for information
  2. Tweet about a specific topic eg. Missing persons, Homicides, Trafficking
  3. Tweet about procedural and operational aspects of Crime Stoppers to educate the public

Programs wishing to participate are asked to visit poltwt.net to register. Only Twitter accounts should be registered. Participants must use the hashtag #CStwt in every tweet during the 24 Hour period. Participants may register their program accounts and/or individual accounts. There is no limit to the number of accounts that can be registered. Use the button the the left to register accounts representing individual accounts; use the button on the right to register Crime Stoppers program/agency accounts.

In order to appear on the official #CStwt map, a physical address must be provided.

LAwS Communications announces police social media investigations presenters at #SMILEcon

SMILElogoSocial Media Investigations for police is a hot issue. The SMILE Conference has been addressing this topic with the foremost experts in the field since April of 2010 with the inaugural #SMILEcon. The 11th SMILE Conference is coming up once again with the Phoenix Police Department as host. The stellar speaker lineup is falling into place, the third day featuring all investigations presentations.

For more information or to register, go to the SMILE Conference website. The early bird rate of $499 is in effect until Feb 28th.

At the SMILE Conference we focus on three areas. They are:

  • Day 1: Strategy/Implementation
  • Day 2: Events Managements
  • Day 3: Investigations

Bootcamp: Hands on training in Social Media Investigations at 7:30 a.m!
palmercroppedWe offer an early morning hands-on bonus session with LAwS Academy Instructor Detective Sergeant Sam Palmer. Early risers will get an hour and 15 minutes of expert training in using free tools to conduct investigations on the Internet. Detective Sergeant Palmer teaches a two-day course for LAwS Communications’ LAwS Academy anywhere it’s requested.

The upcoming SMILE Conference in Phoenix will provide the best of the best social media investigations. Here’s the lineup:

Session One: Gangland Social Media – How Social Media Fuels Gang Violence & How Law Enforcement Can Be Pro-active.
Detective Officer Mike Cermignano, Philadelphia Police
CermignanoGangland turf wars – once openly waged on the streets in the communities we serve – have adapted to ever-changing technology, exploding onto an all-new battlefield: the social media universe. Yet while battles between rival gangs are now being fought on a virtual front, there are still very real-life consequences being felt on the street. Philadelphia Police Officer Mike Cermignano will discuss how social media fuels gang-violence, how Cops in the City of Brotherly Love are using social media as part of a pro-active approach to prevent violence on the front lines before it begins, and the emerging threat to law enforcement arising from social media.This session will not be

Session Two: Tracking the Taliband
Detective Daniel Gerard, Cincinnati Police
Gerard Capt SqThe “Taliband” criminal gang was initially identified as one of sixty-two active criminal groups/gangs within Cincinnati. This particular criminal group, based in the “Northside” community, invoked intensive law enforcement scrutiny when one of its members, was murdered by a rival gang. A six-month investigation was initiated and resulted in the identification of over 100 Taliband gang members, a 95-count indictment for criminal activity, 71 arrests of gang members and their associates, 15 gang members charged with “Participating in a Criminal Gang” (a second degree felony), and several gang members facing federal charges that carry life imprisonment terms. Over 50 undercover narcotics buys of crack cocaine, powder cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and marijuana were executed, and 22 firearms (including fully automatic assault weapons) were purchased or recovered. This investigation was the largest criminal gang investigation and prosecution in the history of the CPD and Hamilton County, Ohio. The Taliband investigation led to a 40% reduction in violent crime in the Northside neighborhood. This session will not be broadcast live.

Session Three: Unmask the Movement: Using social media to assess the risks of subversive organizations
Detective Chris Adamczyk, Mesa Police
AdamczykImagine standing at the 50 yard line of a massive stadium teaming with thousands of fans cheering their side to victory. Your task is to find the 10 people in the stadium who’ve planned the next stage of their violent insurrection, all online. How do you find them? Are they a threat? “Unmask the Movement” is an up close review designed to provide you with a basic understanding of the skill set needed to exploit social media and open sources to locate threats, and assess the risk they pose. The course will touch on common symbols and iconography, language clues, and a continuum of violence used to measure risk. The template discussed in this course has been applied to street gangs, syndicates, criminal activists, and terror organizations. It is the first step you need to expertly maneuver the dark side of social media. This session will not be broadcast live.

Session Four: Homicides in a Virtual Crime Scene: The Toronto Web-cam Case
Frank Skubic, Detective Sergeant, Toronto Police
FrankSkubicAn early morning video chat between a university exchange student in Toronto and her boyfriend in China was interrupted by a housemate with nefarious intentions: sexual assault and murder. After helplessly witnessing the streaming horror unfold upon his computer screen from half way around the world, her boyfriend turned to social media in a desperate attempt to summon help for her which, unfortunately, came too late. Toronto Police didn’t just have a virtually live-streamed murder on their hands. They also had a case that involved geographically and culturally diverse witnesses, and a modern day mainstream media intent on harvesting social media for clues, the reporting of which, at times, interfered and compromised the progress of the murder investigation. Detective Sergeant Frank Skubic was the lead investigator on the case. As a homicide investigator already well-versed in social media and murder, he and his team maneuvered their way through this sensational case that garnered international attention and have since arrested, prosecuted and convicted the perpetrator of First Degree Murder.

For full bios on all the speakers go to the SMILE Conference website.

Law Enforcement to Monitor Crowdsourced Intel with Mobile Safety App at Boston Marathon

Citizens urged to support Boston Marathon safety by downloading VizSAFE mobile app to instantly share photos and videos with first responders







Boston, MA USA – April 15, 2014 – VizSAFE, the only universal mobile crowdsourcing safety app and community website, today announced it will be monitored by law enforcement during the 118th Boston Marathon. VizSAFE, like other social media, is free and empowers the “crowd” to capture photos or videos of anything that impacts the well-being of the athletes, family, fans and spectators at the Marathon.

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