Monday News Roundup: stop & frisk gets slammed, fusion centers get slammed, DHS wants cute drones

On the East Coast, in New York, the NYTimes editorial page editorializes in Stop and Frisk, Part 3 that it’s a good thing Davis vs. City of New York, one of three related stop-and-frisk cases, has been given the green light to move forward in federal court.  The poncey New York Review of Books lays out The Problem of the New York Police.  Eliot Spitzer, former New York Gov makes the case on Slate that All Police Interrogations Should be Tape Recorded

On the West Coast, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck made a splash last week when he announced a policy for Los Angeles to Cease Transferring Some Immigrants to ICE. Meanwhile, upstate in Sacramento, Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the Trust Act, prompting the LA Times to opine that the Trust Act was Flawed, but so is Secure Communities.  On the same day, In Move That Stunned Advocates, Jerry Brown Vetoes Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights, while approving Driver’s Licenses for Young Undocumented Immigrants.

In D.C., the U.S. Supreme Court is back in session, with oral arguments for Moncrieffe v. Holder set for this Wednesday. Question before the court: is possession of two joints worth of marijuana an “aggravated felony” that subjects Adrian Moncrieffe – who came to the U.S. legally at the age of three – to mandatory deportation? Best summary of the case by Kevin Johnson at ImmigrationProf Blog.

Laura Poitras, filmmaker and perpetual target of the TSA/CIA, is officially a genius. Glenn Greenwald had a great article in on the U.S. Filmmaker Repeatedly Detained at Border for her films critical of American war in Iraq and the War of Terror.

Not yet a genius, but working up to it, filmmaker Eugene Jarecki’s documentary on the war on drugs opens in limited release in New York City. Lovingly and very well produced segment on The House I Live In aired yesterday on NPR’s Bob Edwards show.

It’s bipartisanly official: Fusion Centers have turned out to be a total flop. That’s the conclusion of what the NYTimes called a scathing two-year bipartisan investigation by the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Almost ten years of throwing about $1 billion (maybe: one chapter in the report is titled “DHS Does Not Know How Much It Has Spent to Support Fusion Centers”) at state and local fusion centers have that produced no useful information to support counterterrorism efforts. In fact, says the report’s section VI(G), “Fusion Centers May Have Hindered, Not Aided, Federal Counterterrorism Efforts.”  After reading the report, Foreign Policy’s National Security Blog asks What if we can’t catch terrorists in America because there aren’t any? protests that Big Brother Invades Our Classrooms.

The Identity Project’s Papers Please! was at the Brennan Center’s discussion on Government Surveillance of Travelers last week and is happy to share this powerpoint, and additional, wonky links.

NPR asks Predicting The Future: Fantasy Or A Good Algorithm?  Asking “will it work?” rather than “should we be doing this?” Hint: the company has “two very important financial backers: the CIA’s investment arm, In-Q-Tel, and Google Ventures.” Older:Researchers study new ways to forecast critical societal events.

FBI Launches $1 Billion Face Recognition Project and New Scientist magazine explains the science behind Next Generation Identification. The article refers to this National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Report on the Evaluation of 2D Still-Image Face Recognition Algorithms from August 2011 for the stat that “the best algorithms can pick someone out in a pool of 1.6 million mugshots 92 per cent of the time” when the mugshot is taken in good light.

Finally, get out your small drones – the race is on. The federal solicitation is out for DHS To Test Spy Drones For “Public Safety” Applications. No longer worried that drones will “freak out the public,” Homeland Security Learns to Love Small Spy Drones.  Small is beautiful, both because of lower cost and because people are less freaked out by small drones than big ones. Remember the good old days, when Danger Room was reporting that Even DHS Is Freaked Out by Spy Drones Over America?That was way back in 2011.

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