Sunday, March 31, 2019

Are the RCMP Spying On You?

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The RCMP is watching you - Project Wide Awake
Published on Mar 30, 2019

Police Body Cameras in Canada : Caught on Camera - the fifth estate
The Fifth Estate
Published on Nov 4, 2016
‘Project Wide Awake’: How the RCMP Watches You on Social Media
Exclusive: How police are using new software to expand surveillance of citizens’ activities.
By Bryan Carney
25 Mar 2019
The RCMP is now proactively using software that allows officers to identify and monitor activity on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social platforms by entering keywords. Photo: Shutterstock.
The RCMP has been quietly running an operation monitoring individuals’ Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media activity for at least two years, The Tyee has learned.

The existence of Project Wide Awake has never been reported.

And The Tyee investigation revealed that the RCMP has moved from a “reactive” approach — analyzing specific social media accounts as part of a criminal investigation — to a “proactive approach,” which the RCMP said aims to “help detect and prevent a crime before it occurs.”

That involves ongoing wide-scale monitoring of individuals’ social media use and could pose a threat to Canadians’ privacy and charter rights, say experts.

In February 2018 the RCMP began using software provided by Carahsoft, which supplies governments, including intelligence and defence agencies. The contractor is located just west of Washington, D.C. in an area described by the Washington Post as “Top Secret America.”

The developer of the software, Salesforce, boasts of the power of its Social Studio monitoring application on its website.

“Ever wished you could be a fly on the wall in the homes of consumers? That’s kind of what social media monitoring is,” the company claims.

The Tyee learned of the monitoring after obtaining a non-public June 2017 letter from Gilles Michaud, RCMP deputy commissioner of federal policing, to the federal privacy commissioner.

Michaud assured the commissioner then that RCMP monitoring didn’t use “mass surveillance techniques or technologies” or “broad-based internet monitoring” nor “scenario-based targeting.”

The program was strictly “reactive,” as opposed to “proactive or predictive,” Michaud wrote in 2017, suggesting that social media history was then queried only in response to specific investigations.

But that’s no longer true, based on recent RCMP written responses to Tyee questions.

RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Tania Vaughan said since the 2017 letter the force has expanded its program and made a “shift towards a proactive and reactive approach” to “fully embrace the value of open source social media content.”

“The RCMP had used limited social media analysis in ongoing investigations,” Vaughan wrote. “Today, analysis of open source social media content can help proactively identify threats to public safety.”

“Police are learning that social media analysis can help proactively identify crimes in progress (the movements of rioters, for example) or planned criminality. Project Wide Awake has demonstrated to the RCMP the utility of social media analysis to investigate and prevent crime.”

Given a specific example by The Tyee — a demonstration — the RCMP elaborated on the distinction between proactive and reactive approaches.

“A reactive approach would be analyzing social media to solve a crime that occurred at the protest,” it said. “A proactive approach would be to analyze social media to see if there are any indications that predict a crime may occur at the protest and take steps to prevent it from happening, such as increasing police presence.”

The software lets police identify and monitor activity on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social platforms by entering keywords, Vaughan told The Tyee.

The tool does not allow access to private messages and is not a mass surveillance tool, the RCMP insisted.

But Chris Parsons, a researcher at Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School, says the operation could well involve mass surveillance of citizens and their public online comments and activities.

“The RCMP is stating that this is not a mass surveillance tool, but it’s not entirely apparent why it wouldn’t be,” he said.

The Tyee asked Vaughan to explain how the RCMP’s monitoring should not be considered surveillance as it claimed to the privacy commissioner.

“Surveillance implies close observation of a group or individual,” Vaughan said.

“The tool analyzes internet content for criminal behaviour and in particular public safety threats. Consider the analogy of a police patrol driving though a neighbourhood.”

The RCMP’s refusal to release its policies on the monitoring and the use of the information, or a privacy assessment it said it conducted prior to implementation, alarms Brenda McPhail, director of the Privacy, Technology & Surveillance Project at the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

“It is insufficient and unaccountable to say there is a policy governing the practice of social media surveillance without sharing its contents,” she said.

Any policy governing Project Wide Awake should be transparent to ensure that rights are being respected and that nobody is being targeted based on race, ethnic origin, religion or political activity like charter-protected dissent, McPhail added.

Parsons agreed.

“As citizens we have a right to know how exactly and when exactly and under what conditions the state is intruding into our private lives,” he said. “The failure to express that only damages public safety in Canada insofar as it breeds distrust and mistrust in the kind of activities undertaken by the government.”

MacPhail said the RCMP’s argument that it only searches and monitors public posts doesn’t reduce the threats to privacy and individual rights.

“There is both a qualitative and quantitative difference between someone seeing one post in the course of browsing a social media feed, as regular users do, and potentially having the totality of our communications over time collected and analyzed by the state,” she said.

“That difference matters, and we should be having a serious public debate about the degree to which this kind of inherently invasive action is either necessary or proportionate.”

The RCMP maintains that “a search warrant would not be required to use this off-the-shelf tool, which queries and analyses publicly accessible information, where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy, such as public Twitter or Facebook posts.”

But Citizen Lab’s Parsons says the law is not that clear cut.

“There is a position taken that this is public information and does not constitute private information, and that is an inaccurate assessment of the way that Canadian law assess public and private in this country as far as I’m concerned,” he said.

In the U.S. the barriers to the state’s use of that kind information is “incredibly low,” Parsons said. As a result government surveillance of social media is common.

But Canada is different, and just because information is public doesn’t mean the individuals give up any rights to privacy, he says.

“I can have a communication with you publicly on Twitter. We can go back and forth. Even though anyone can watch what we’re doing, for the purposes of the government I still retain a privacy interest in what is going on.”

The government has to be able to demonstrate a specific interest in monitoring that particular communication, he says.

“That doesn’t mean they have to get a warrant,” Parsons says. “But there does have to be an assertion that collecting this semi-public information is an appropriate activity.”

It’s important to know how they are monitoring. Searches based on hashtags, location or keywords could provide a lot of contextual information on individuals, he added.

The RCMP statement says the surveillance software is used for “preventing cascading incidents,” “identifying threats against government officials,” “responding to man-made or natural disasters and humanitarian relief efforts” and “identifying new emerging trends and officer safety issues.”

“Identifying new and emerging trends and officer safety issues — does that mean they’re watching two people and those two people are responsible for all of the trends and all of the officer safety issues in Canada, or is it a much broader lens? I strongly suspect it will be the latter,” Parsons says.

The RCMP said the software lets it analyze a variety of public social media platforms in real time during a major event, which can provide key information that is easy to miss, Vaughan said.

Vaughan gave an example of shootings on Parliament Hill in 2014, where social media users reported a possible second gunman. The reports caused police to attend the area and declare to media the report was false, she said.

In general, the safety issues include threats of bodily harm to police, gang activity, the prevalence of weapons in a community or development of weapons, said Vaughan.  [Tyee]
'Predictive policing': Law enforcement revolution or just new spin on old biases? Depends who you ask
LAPD is trying to predict crime through data analysis, and not everyone is happy about it
Sylvia Thomson · CBC News
Posted: Sep 24, 2018
Los Angeles Police Department Sergeant Dave Rich says it's not unheard of for police to 'roll right into a robbery in progress' when driving through areas marked on the LAPD's daily predictive policing map. (Sylvia Thomson/CBC)
In a city with a long history of law-enforcement friction, activists and the Los Angeles Police Department are squaring off again. The latest crime-fighting controversy isn't over issues like police brutality, corruption or gangs — it's all about data.

And the ways police are using it. 

Activists at a public meeting with the Los Angeles Police Commission this summer held up signs reading: "Data Driven Evidence Based Policing = Pseudoscience," and "Crime Data is Racist." It's an example of how the community has been put on edge by the LAPD's use of an elaborate data collection centre, a shadowy data analysis firm called Palantir, and predictive algorithms to try to get a jump on crime.

"We're trying to get better about where to put scarce police resources to prevent crime from happening in the first place," says Deputy Chief Sean Malinowski, who was at the meeting to defend the use of data analytics to help guide policing activity.

"Implicit bias is something the LAPD has been struggling with," counters Jamie Garcia, of the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, a tiny community group which monitors the LAPD.

"The data they're using is the data that's collected by law enforcement," Garcia adds, saying that as a result it's inherently flawed.
Jamie Garcia, with the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, is skeptical about police claims that predictive policing reduces bias. 'It's trying to convince communities that by using data, by driving algorithms and risk assessments with data, that somehow policing is becoming more effective, efficient and fair.' (Sylvia Thomson/CBC)
Los Angeles isn't the only place where concerns are flaring over how citizens' data is collected and used by law-enforcement authorities.

Police forces across the U.S. are increasingly adopting the same approach as the LAPD: employing sophisticated algorithms to predict crime in the hope they can prevent it. Chicago, New York City and Philadelphia use similar predictive programs and face similar questions from the communities they are policing, and even legal challenges over where the information is coming from and how police are using it.

Canadian police forces are very aware of what their U.S. counterparts are doing, but they are wary of jumping in with both feet due to concerns over civil liberties issues.

Thinking inside the box

Sergeant Dave Rich checks a printout of a map of Los Angeles that has problem areas marked in red boxes. He tucks the paper under his car's visor, throws his "black and white" into gear and pulls out of the Los Angeles Police Department's Rampart Division headquarters, heading for one of the red boxes on Sunset Boulevard.

Instead of an old-fashioned LAPD crime analyst creating that map and the red boxes, it's a computer algorithm which has identified the problem areas on the map — or predicted future problem areas, to be precise.
The LAPD's PredPol predictive policing system highlights areas of the city each day where it predicts crime is most likely to occur, and it directs police patrols to give those areas of Los Angeles special attention. (Sylvia Thomson/CBC)
The sophisticated program is called PredPol, short for predictive policing, and it's used to varying degrees by 50 police forces across the United States. The genesis of the program came from a collaboration between LAPD deputy chief Sean Malinowski and Canadian Jeff Brantingham, an anthropology professor at UCLA.

"Driving through areas that have been identified as problematic, sometimes you just get flagged down," Rich says. "You can roll right into a robbery in progress."

The LAPD's PredPol software program produces updated, predictive property crime maps at 1:30 a.m. each day, which are handed out to officers on the morning shift. The maps are updated later in the day for subsequent shifts.

PredPol uses several years of crime reports to predict where police patrols should concentrate their efforts.
A map generated by PredPol software, short for predictive policing, forecasting where crimes are likely to occur. Updated maps are printed daily for each shift of patrol officers at the Lost Angeles Police Department. (LAPD)
"This area across the street from us right here has been identified as a problem," Rich says, driving through the 1300 block of Wilshire Blvd near the downtown core's MacArthur Park.

"The officers are encouraged to spend their available time here doing proactive policing, as well as just being a visible deterrent to crime," says Rich, as he drives into the area indicated by one of the map's boxes. The cruiser's movements are monitored remotely.

"It will also be documented that we passed through this area for X-amount of time, and that will also get uploaded into the system. So they [the LAPD] can identify specifically how much time was actually spent within this particular box."

Sarah Brayne, a Canadian sociologist, spent two years inside the LAPD studying its use of predictive policing. She says the LAPD has been using predictive policing since 2012, and crunching data on a wide range of activities — from "where to allocate your resources, where to put your cars, where to put your personnel, to helping investigators solve a crime. And even for some risk management, like tracking police themselves, for performance reviews and different accountability reasons."
'In this instance I think Canada, being a little bit behind, we might be able to learn some of the best practices and worst and avoid those,' says Canadian sociologist Sarah Brayne. 'And so I think Canada being behind the U.S. could be a good thing, because we can see to a certain extent what works and what is problematic.' (Sylvia Thomson/CBC)
Still, data-driven systems are something relatively new to LAPD culture, Captain Jeff Nolte says.

"Algorithms don't sound that sexy, right?" says Nolte. "LAPD has a culture of some of the movies you see — of great detectives using intuition to solve crime and do all these things that people think are sexy. Then here comes PredPol and other data-driven systems."

It has been a challenge to get all the officers to buy in.

"On a lot of my ride-alongs I would ask the cops to define an algorithm, and very few people can define or explain what an algorithm is," Brayne says. "So they say things like, 'Oh, it's just witchcraft.'"

But does it work?

"It's too early to say if it does lead to more effective policing," says Brayne.

"But I think it has the potential to, yes, because there is the efficiency aspect of it. From where you are allocating resources to where crime is occurring, as opposed to your biased perceptions of where it is occurring."

Pinpointing suspects

At Rampart headquarters, Captain Nolte is one of those who has bought in. There are still no hard stats available, but anecdotally he says that whenever he can deploy officers to cover off the boxes outlined on the daily maps, property crime in the community is reduced.

Nolte stresses that PredPol doesn't pump out information about individual suspects, it's just a location-based type of predictive policing.

"It's focusing on a geographic area. PredPol has no information on suspects."

He adds that the system, "is no different than the police radios telling us where to go," emphasizing that, "It's not telling us what to do."
Los Angeles Police Department Captain Jeff Nolte says predictive policing systems are 'no different than the police radios telling us where to go,' but critics question the kind of data that's fuelling the predictions. (Sylvia Thomson/CBC)
But PredPol is just one of the police systems that community watchdogs like Garcia are concerned about.

The Rampart division of the LAPD uses another program to pinpoint individuals who are at risk of committing crimes in the future. This is known as person-based predictive policing.

Critics call it profiling.
The program is called Los Angeles Strategic 
Extraction and Restoration (LASER). At the moment it generates a list of approximately 20 "chronic offenders" that is updated monthly. 

LAPD documents show how LASER gives people specific scores, which increase with each police encounter. 

LAPD Rampart Division Chronic Offender List

CBC is not responsible for 3rd party content
You get five points if you are a gang member. Five points if you are on parole or probation. Five point for arrests with a handgun. And one point for every "quality" police contact in the past two years, which includes what the LAPD calls "Field Interviews."

In Canada, field interviews are called "carding," referring to the cards police use to record information about the people they have stopped — even when there are no grounds to think they've committed an offence.
On the chronic offender bulletin there are names, addresses, scores ranging from six to 28, dates of birth and gang affiliations (Crazy Riders, Wanderers, 18th Street, and so on).

The police try to track down the people on the bulletin and hand-deliver an "At Risk Behaviour" letter to each one — if they can find them.

The letter is signed by the Chief of Police and Captain Nolte. It says the recipient has a "propensity to engage in at-risk behaviour" and that the purpose of the letter "is to encourage you to refrain from this behaviour in the future."

"Law enforcement respects you and and knows you have the ability to make choices. We want you to make the choices that are right, legal and moral," it adds.

The letter encourages the recipients to reach out to a list of local service providers, such as Home Boy, which offers "hope, training and support to formerly gang-involved and previously incarcerated men and women" in Los Angeles.

Officers are given instructions to contact the offenders on the list every month "to check their status" and to remind them to use the community services. They are also encouraged to door-knock on adjacent residences to "spark interest and gather info."

LAPD letter to Chronic Offenders
CBC is not responsible for 3rd party content

'Pretty frightening'

Some community groups are concerned about the kind of data going into the algorithms, and how it's gathered. Jamie Garcia at the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition calls predictive analytics "pretty frightening."

"It's basically policing as it has always been," she said. "It's trying to convince communities that by using data, by driving algorithms and risk assessments with data, that somehow policing is becoming more effective, efficient and fair. I think that is really problematic, because it is trying to mask policing how it has always been, which is impacting the black and brown communities."

Nolte counters that, saying the suspect-pool only reflects the community.

"With PredPol or LASER, these are all data that has been reported by the victims and witnesses. It's nothing we are creating and pushing out. But I do understand that how we use it and how we execute it is critical."
Michel Moore, the new Los Angeles police chief, has publicly acknowledged that the data used by the LAPD predictive policing systems is imperfect. (Sylvia Thomson/CBC)
Sarah Brayne sees police data collection only growing over the next five to 10 years, while concerns mount and the law protecting citizens' rights and privacy scrambles to catch up.

"All of the new surveillance technologies — the tools that can collect data on all of us, not just people with police contact — that technology is moving so much faster than the laws and regulations. And as such, it is part of this legal and regulatory wild west," Brayne says.

For a city like Los Angeles, at the forefront of using data to fight crime, it likely means more situations such as the public Police Commission meeting this summer, where activists are pitted against police.

At that meeting, Michel Moore, the new Los Angeles police chief, acknowledged that the data was imperfect and supported an inspector general review. But in the meantime, systems like PredPol and LASER are in daily use.

"We've seen that here in Los Angeles, that when that trust is violated you see civil unrest," Nolte says.

"We have learned from our past. You know, we're not perfect, but we're definitely a lot better than we were."

- With files from Kim Brunhuber and Matthew Braga
RCMP used cellphone tracking technology unlawfully 6 times, says privacy watchdog
Force failed to obtain a warrant before using the device
Kristen Everson · CBC News
Posted: Sep 14, 2017
IMSI catchers can intercept the unique ID number associated with your phone, the International Mobile Subscriber Identity, which can then be used to track your phone. Canada's privacy commissioner says the RCMP used the devices unlawfully six times. (CBC News)
The RCMP used cellphone-tracking technology in a way that was "not lawful" six times, Canada's privacy commissioner said in a report released Thursday.

Mobile device identifiers (MDI) — also referred to as IMSI catchers — work by mimicking a cellphone tower to interact with nearby phones and read the unique ID associated with the phone's International Mobile Subscriber Identity, or IMSI. That number can then be used to track the phone, and sometimes to intercept text messages or calls.

Between 2011 and 2016 the RCMP used IMSI catchers in 125 criminal investigations, 29 of which were in support of other Canadian law enforcement agencies, the report from Daniel Therrien's office found.

In the majority of cases, the RCMP obtained a warrant to use their IMSI catchers. In 13 cases, no warrant was obtained. Seven of those were what the RCMP call "exigent circumstances" — cases requiring the police to act quickly in order to "prevent the loss of life or grievous bodily harm." 
The remaining six cases took place during a time when the RCMP was operating under the notion that no warrant was required — between March and June 2015.

The force made the decision to stop obtaining warrants to use the device after receiving guidance from the National Wiretap Expert Committee (NWEC), which provides legal advice to law enforcement and prosecutors.

In June 2015, the RCMP once again began requiring its officers to obtain a warrant before using the device. ​

Therrien's office launched an investigation into the RCMP's use of IMSI catchers in early 2016, after receiving a complaint from OpenMedia, a group that advocates for a surveillance-free internet.

The group wanted to know whether the RCMP was using the devices to collect tracking data, monitor large groups of people and intercept voice and text communications. It also wanted clarity around whether a warrant was required to use IMSI catchers, and under what circumstances.

More transparency

Up until last spring, the RCMP was cagey about admitting its use of IMSI catchers. In April, a months-long CBC News/Radio-Canada investigation 
revealed that someone was using IMSI catchers in the area around Parliament Hill. At the time, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said Canadian agencies were not involved and that the RCMP and CSIS were investigating. That investigation is ongoing.
Laura Tribe, executive director of OpenMedia, applauds the privacy commissioner's report, which comes after her group filed a complaint in March 2016 about the RCMP's use of IMSI catchers. (CBC )
After the CBC News/Radio-Canada report, the 
RCMP held a technical briefing for a select group of reporters about IMSI catchers and how the force uses them.

Therrien said in his report that he is now satisfied the force is in compliance with all of Canada's laws when using mobile device identifiers.

The report said the devices the RCMP uses "are not capable of intercepting private communications" like calls or text messages. The report also said any third-party information collected by the RCMP is being properly secured and destroyed at the end of any court proceedings.

Therrien did praise the RCMP for the access it granted his office during his investigation, but warned the RCMP to "continue to make efforts toward openness and accountability in terms of the technologies it employs in its law enforcement activities."

OpenMedia's executive director is happy with Therrien's report and said the force must continue to heed the privacy commissioner's call for transparency.
"To make sure that when the RCMP is using these devices and implementing new policies that they're really clear and forthcoming with the public from the start — as opposed to having to go through these really long investigative processes to get this information out," Laura Tribe said.

In a statement, RCMP acting deputy commissioner for specialized policing services Joe Oliver said, "The RCMP is committed to finding ways to strike a balance between public transparency on the use of the technology and, at the same time, protecting this important tool for public safety and law enforcement purposes."

How IMSI catchers are used

The report also offers a glimpse into how the RCMP use the IMSI catchers. The force has 10 devices, and first used one in 2005.

The RCMP will set the device up in at least three different locations to collect data. After gathering the IMSI numbers in the areas, the data is filtered to see which numbers were found in the same locations as the suspect or suspects. In order to connect an IMSI number with a suspect, another warrant is required ordering a telecom provider to give authorities the name, address and phone number connected to the IMSI number.

The RCMP use the technology in a variety of investigations including those relating to national security, organized crime and during kidnappings.
Glenn Greenwald: The NSA's 'collect it all' mission
The NSA's 'collect it all' mission: gather everything we can
Glenn Greenwald
May 2, 2014
Debating the surveillance state requires that one first be clear about what it is and, more importantly, what it is not. Nobody opposes targeted surveillance: meaning invading the communications of individuals credibly believed to be plotting terrorist attacks or other threats to legitimate national security.

[np_storybar title=”Michael Hayden: Defending democracy in cyberspace”link= 
Snowden is big news. The relentless exposure of secrets, fed to us at regular intervals by (now awarding-winning) journalists, has both captivated and outraged.

I’m outraged, of course, because I believe the public revelation of these kinds of things makes us less safe. I’m also concerned that a lot of the story has been distorted, some because of its sheer complexity, some because of an tendency to rush any story like this to the darkest corner of the room.

But let’s put those two concerns aside. For the moment, at least, let’s just accept without objection that legitimate secrets are now public knowledge and that discerning readers can slice through any errors or hyperbole to a core of truth about what their intelligence services are doing on their behalf.

But that has almost nothing to do with the actual surveillance state created, in the dark, by the U.S. and its four English-speaking surveillance allies (the U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand). This actual surveillance system is expressed by the National Security Agency’s (NSA) own slogan which appears repeatedly throughout its own documents: collect it all.

That is an apt phrase. It describes exactly what the NSA’s objective is: to eliminate privacy worldwide by collecting and storing all electronic communications that take place between all human beings on the planet. It is devoted to sweeping up every email, every telephone call, every Google search, every browsing activity, and every online transaction in which people engage. That is not hyperbole: the NSA’s own documents leave no doubt that this is exactly its mission.

It is, in sum, the most invasive and sweeping system of suspicionless surveillance ever built. It is designed to ensure that the communications of everyone — not terrorists, not violent criminals, not arms dealers, but everyone — is subject to being read, listened to and otherwise monitored by unseen, unchecked officials of the national security state.

“Terrorism” is the pretext, not the cause or justification, of this sprawling system. Indeed, over the past 12 years, the U.S. has left no doubt that it yells “the terrorists” as a means of scaring populations into submitting to whatever it wants to do, no matter how radical and destructive.

“Terrorism” was the phrase used to justify the American torture regime, the due-process-free imprisonment of people at Guantanamo, the aggressive invasion and subsequent destruction of Iraq, kidnapping people through “renditions,” and a whole slew of other extremist and previously unthinkable assertions of force carried out in secret. And now it is the fear-mongering slogan hauled out to justify why a small set of governments should be collecting and monitoring the communications of everyone who uses the Internet or a telephone.

It should be no surprise, then, that even numerous independent tribunals of the U.S. government itself have concluded that claims of “terrorism” do not remotely justify the surveillance programs. Within the last four months, a federal court, a body of experts appointed by U.S. President Barack Obama to help reform the NSA, two senators from Obama’s own party who serve on the Intelligence Committee, and the President’s long-standing Privacy and Civil Liberties Board have all vehemently rejected the assertion that these NSA programs are helpful in stopping terrorists plots. Both the court and Board concluded the programs are illegal — even Obama himself now says they must stop.

The revelations enabled by Edward Snowden over the past 10 months — by themselves — leave no doubt that “terrorism” is a tactic used to justify this system, not its actual purpose. Those documents have exposed systematic, highly invasive surveillance of the communications within oil companies and energy minstries in Brazil, Western banking systems, and even the  democratically elected leaders of America’s closet allies.
This is the stuff of which science-fiction writers from many decades ago — Orwell and Huxley — urgently warned
But most of all, the Snowden documents have revealed the actual target of this system: entire populations of innocent, law-abiding people who have done nothing wrong, and who should not have their private communications and other acts collected and stored by distant governments operating in secret. They even include the spying government’s own citizens, en masse, who now know that the vast bulk of this system is devoted to sweeping up and storing massive amounts of their own private activities.

This is the stuff of which science-fiction writers from many decades ago — Orwell and Huxley — urgently warned. Indeed, this system of ubiquitous surveillance — exploiting the promise of the internet to render all electronic communications and activities susceptible to state monitoring — exceeds what they were able to envision even as their grimmest scenarios.

National Post

Glenn Greenwald is an investigative journalist and columnist for First Look Media. Formerly a constitutional and civil rights lawyer, his latest book, to be released later this month, is No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State.
Fbi, Isis, and Alarm: MTS 3G
 4:16 PM
 KInbox (36)
 I've disconnected my home alarm
 system and de-registered from the
 Neighbourhood Watch.
 I've got two Pakistani flags raised
 in the front yard, one at each
 corner, and the black flag of ISIS in
 the centre.
 The RCMP, CSIS, the FBI, CIA, MI5,
 MI6, NSA, and other agencies are
 all watching the house 24/7.
 I've never felt safer and I'm saving
 $49.95 a month.
big brother has a warm cuddle
Cops watched porn, skipped work instead of investigating missing women: Officer
Suzanne Fournier (Postmedia News)
Published: November 22, 2011
Updated: November 23, 2011
RCMP Cpl. Catherine Galliford, the former calm, professional voice and face of the Missing Women Task Force, said Tuesday she knows her evidence will be "explosive" when she appears at the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry.
RCMP Cpl. Catherine Galliford, the former calm, professional voice and face of the Missing Women Task Force, said Tuesday she knows her evidence will be "explosive" when she appears at the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry. Photo by Bill Keay

VANCOUVER — RCMP Cpl. Catherine Galliford, the former calm, professional voice and face of the Missing Women Task Force, said Tuesday she knows her evidence will be "explosive" when she appears at the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry.

Galliford, 44, is slated to testify at the inquiry in January, but says she won't be testifying for the RCMP, but rather on behalf of the victims.

In an interview, and in a 115-page statement given to the RCMP, Galliford said top Mounties had "enough evidence for a search warrant" of serial killer Robert Pickton's farm in 1999. From 1999 to 2002, 14 women were brutally murdered by Pickton, a fact that haunts Galliford.

She says she will testify that both RCMP and Vancouver Police Department officers, even after the Missing Women Task Force was formed in 2001, engaged in sexual liaisons and harassment, watched porn and left work early "to go drinking and partying."

"The saddest part of this is that the women who were killed were the most vulnerable people in our society, other than children," she said.

"I will not be testifying on behalf of the RCMP at the inquiry," she said, saying her first concern is for people whose loved ones didn't have to die.

"Tell the families," said Galliford, her voice breaking, in an interview with the Vancouver Province on Tuesday. "I've got their back."

Her statement to the RCMP contains serious allegations that have not been proven.

Galliford, who has been off work for four years with post-traumatic stress disorder, is agoraphobic and reluctant to leave home, but is taking Veterans Affairs' medical aid, and is "finally healing" and plans to go to law school.

She said she was constantly sexually harassed and bullied by some RCMP officers, although she emphasizes that she also worked with "many fine police officers, both men and women, who cared deeply about missing women."

Galliford agrees with the conclusions of Peel, Ont., regional police Chief Jennifer Evans, who has reported to the inquiry that top RCMP and Vancouver police officers on the missing women case displayed "a lack of leadership and commitment."

When very junior RCMP Const. Nathan Wells finally obtained a firearms search warrant on Feb. 5, 2002, for the Pickton farm, Galliford said, she confronted a top RCMP officer, telling him, "You've known this since 1999."

The officer, who is also slated to testify, ignored her, she said.

"He is a misogynist, which is probably why he blew off the missing women investigation," said Galliford, noting he got rid of other female officers.

One of the women he "bumped out" had developed a "brilliant protocol" to identify the women's remains through DNA obtained from Pap smears, she said.

RCMP responded to the claims on Wednesday saying they had "received" Galliford's statement.

"The statement contains a number of allegations of member misconduct that are of serious concern to the RCMP," Supt. Ray Bernoties said in the statement.

"The RCMP has initiated a review of these allegations and will take appropriate action to address them. It would be inappropriate for us to comment on anything relating to the ongoing Missing Women Commission of Inquiry."

Perhaps the most chilling thing that happened to her, Galliford said, came after the gruesome details had begun to emerge about how Pickton butchered women and scattered their remains at his Port Coquitlam, B.C., farm or dumped them at a Vancouver rendering plant, West Coast Reduction.

A group of RCMP personnel were, she said, constantly "making jokes about sex toys," laughing and giving each other "fist bumps."

The officers, Galliford alleged, wanted to tell her about "their fantasy."

"They wanted to see Willie Pickton escape from prison, track me down and strip me naked, string me up on a meat hook and gut me like a pig," said Galliford, who also recounted the episode in her formal statement to RCMP.

Galliford said one officer did not join in and also was horrified. "He just looked at me, like, 'Holy crap.' He didn't last, either."

Galliford said she does not want to publicly name the officers to avoid legal repercussions and to help focus on the needs of the victims' families to finally achieve justice.

Lilliane Beaudoin, whose sister, Dianne Rock, was confined, beaten and raped twice at the Pickton farm before Pickton finally murdered her in October 2001, predicts Galliford "is going to blow this inquiry wide open."

"My sister would be alive today, along with 13 other women, if the RCMP and (Vancouver police) cared enough about women going missing from the Downtown Eastside," said a visibly upset Beaudoin as she read Galliford's report late Tuesday.

"The real story of why the police let Pickton keep killing our sisters and daughters, when they had evidence about him almost murdering a sex worker at his farm back in 1997, is going to come out, for sure. We are waiting."

At least 18 women were killed by Pickton after 1998. Vancouver police Deputy Chief Doug LePard has told the inquiry that by then police had "solid, corroborating" eyewitness and informant evidence that Pickton was killing women.

The inquiry is looking into how police failed to stop Pickton from abducting women from 1997 until 2002, when Coquitlam, B.C., RCMP finally arrested Pickton.

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