Philadelphia Inquirer: The FBI used a Philly protester’s Etsy profile, LinkedIn, and other internet history to charge her with setting police cars ablaze

Philadelphia Inquirer: The FBI used a Philly protester’s Etsy profile, LinkedIn, and other internet history to charge her with setting police cars ablaze. “More than two weeks after that climactic May 30 moment, federal authorities say they’ve identified the arsonist as 33-year-old Philadelphia massage therapist Lore Elisabeth Blumenthal by following the intricate trail of bread crumbs she left through her social media history and online shopping patterns over the years. The path took agents from Instagram, where amateur photographers also captured shots of the masked arsonist, to an Etsy shop that sold the distinctive T-shirt the woman was wearing in the video. It led investigators to her LinkedIn page, to her profile on the fashion website Poshmark, and eventually to her doorstep in Germantown.”

FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin: Optimizing Facebook for Public Assistance in Investigations

FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin: Optimizing Facebook for Public Assistance in Investigations. “When communicating with the public directly through social media, agencies must choose their words carefully—as they would with traditional media—to respect the privacy rights of victims, witnesses, and subjects; avoid harming a case referred for prosecution; and deliver the desired message. To this end, the authors recently examined how departments can use social media most effectively and appropriately to procure the public’s help with investigations. They focused on the most commonly used site—Facebook.”

Motherboard: We Built a Database of Over 500 iPhones Cops Have Tried to Unlock

Motherboard: We Built a Database of Over 500 iPhones Cops Have Tried to Unlock. “One of the top level findings of Motherboard’s dataset is that many law enforcement agencies and officials can not reliably access data stored on iPhones. Whether that’s due to a device having too strong a passcode, the phone being damaged, an unlocking capability not being available at that specific point in time, or a particular agency not having access to advanced forensic technology itself, Motherboard found many cases where investigators were not able to extract data from iPhones, at least according to the search warrants.”

The Verge: Google location data turned a random biker into a burglary suspect

The Verge: Google location data turned a random biker into a burglary suspect. “A Florida man who used a fitness app to track his bike rides found himself a suspect in a burglary when police used a geofence warrant to collect data from nearby devices, an NBC News investigation finds. Zachary McCoy had never been in the home where the burglary occurred, but by leaving his location settings on for the RunKeeper app, he unwittingly provided information about his whereabouts to Google, which placed him at the scene of the crime.”

BuzzFeed News: A Court Tried To Force Ancestry.com To Open Up Its DNA Database To Police. The Company Said No.

BuzzFeed News: A Court Tried To Force Ancestry.com To Open Up Its DNA Database To Police. The Company Said No.. “Ancestry.com, the largest DNA testing company in the world, was served a search warrant to give police access to its database of some 16 million DNA profiles, but the company did not comply.”

BuzzFeed News: This DNA Testing Firm Said It Wanted To Bring Closure To Families Of Murder Victims. Then It Blocked A Rival From Using Its Database To Solve Crimes.

BuzzFeed News: This DNA Testing Firm Said It Wanted To Bring Closure To Families Of Murder Victims. Then It Blocked A Rival From Using Its Database To Solve Crimes.. “Since April 2018, when the method scored its first big success with the Golden State Killer case, dozens of alleged murderers or rapists have been identified by genetic genealogy…. The fact that cops were doing this in databases set up to allow people to research their family histories, initially without users being informed, has led to a tense debate over genetic privacy. The new emails, which BuzzFeed obtained as part of an ongoing FOIA lawsuit against the FBI, highlight another flashpoint: rivalries between companies working with cops to solve highly publicized cases.”

New York Times: Have a Search Warrant for Data? Google Wants You to Pay

New York Times: Have a Search Warrant for Data? Google Wants You to Pay. “Facing an increasing number of requests for its users’ information, Google began charging law enforcement and other government agencies this month for legal demands seeking data such as emails, location tracking information and search queries.”

The Register: To catch a thief, go to Google with a geofence warrant – and it will give you all the details

The Register: To catch a thief, go to Google with a geofence warrant – and it will give you all the details . “At 1030 on April 27, 2019, four unidentified individuals attempted to rob a Brinks armored truck parked outside of Michaels, an art supply and home decor store at the Point Loomis Shopping Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. To find out who they are, local authorities plan to ask Google.”

New York Times: Headless Body in Cave Is Identified as 1916 Ax Murder Suspect

New York Times: Headless Body in Cave Is Identified as 1916 Ax Murder Suspect. “Since 1979, the authorities in Idaho had been trying to identify a torso that had been stuffed in a burlap sack in a cave. Now, they have learned that the torso belongs to [Joseph Henry] Loveless. Given that the bootlegger appears to have died in 1916, his case is almost certainly the oldest to be cracked with forensic genealogy, a rapidly expanding forensic technique that uses individuals’ relatives in genealogy databases to identify human remains and crime scene DNA.”

Chicago Tribune: Jussie Smollett investigation: Judge orders Google to turn over a full year of the actor’s data as part of special prosecutor probe

Chicago Tribune: Jussie Smollett investigation: Judge orders Google to turn over a full year of the actor’s data as part of special prosecutor probe. “A Cook County judge has ordered Google to turn over Jussie Smollett’s emails, photos, location data and private messages for an entire year as part of the special prosecutor’s investigation into the purported attack on the actor.”

Trib Live: CMU researchers develop tool to pinpoint source of gunshots using smartphone videos

Trib Live: CMU researchers develop tool to pinpoint source of gunshots using smartphone videos. “A tool developed at Carnegie Mellon University to determine the location of gunshots correctly pinpointed where the shots came from in the 2017 mass shooting on the Las Vegas Strip, CMU researchers said.”

Phys .org: Here’s what police know about digital evidence

Phys .org: Here’s what police know about digital evidence. “In today’s criminal justice system, a Play Station and iPhone are just as important pieces of evidence as eyewitness accounts. Yet, there isn’t a strong understanding as to how police officers identify digital evidence—everything from a laptop to a smart television—in the field.”

The Verge: Genetic database that identified Golden State Killer acquired by crime scene DNA company

The Verge: Genetic database that identified Golden State Killer acquired by crime scene DNA company. “The crime scene DNA sequencing company Verogen announced yesterday that they’ve acquired the genomics database and website GEDmatch. The acquisition makes the relationship between the company and law enforcement explicit, but raises uncomfortable questions for users and experts about data privacy and the future direction of the platform.”

EurekAlert: Carnegie Mellon system locates shooters using smartphone video

EurekAlert: Carnegie Mellon system locates shooters using smartphone video. “Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have developed a system that can accurately locate a shooter based on video recordings from as few as three smartphones. When demonstrated using three video recordings from the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas that left 58 people dead and hundreds wounded, the system correctly estimated the shooter’s actual location — the north wing of the Mandalay Bay hotel.”

PBS NewsHour: Genetic genealogy can help solve cold cases. It can also accuse the wrong person.

PBS NewsHour: Genetic genealogy can help solve cold cases. It can also accuse the wrong person.. “From a law enforcement perspective, the case for using genetic genealogy is strong. But experts are also flagging concerns about what the method means for people’s legal and DNA privacy.” Deep dive, good reading.