Tag: investigating

08
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

Google Shared Search Data With Feds Investigating R. Kelly Victim Intimidation Case

Topline

Google disclosed the IP addresses of anyone who searched for an arson victim’s address to the federal agents, which investigators used to pinpoint the device used by the alleged perpetrator, according to court documents unsealed earlier in the week, highlighting another instance of Google submitting to a so-called “keyword warrant.”

Key Facts

Federal investigators used the data shared by Google to link Michael Williams— an associate of musician and accused sex offender R. Kelly —  who allegedly set fire to the car belonging to a witness in the Kelly case, according to snippets of the court filings shared by Detroit News reporter Robert Snell.

“Keyword warrants” are a type of reverse search warrant in which law enforcement seeks data regarding all individuals searching for specific phrases online, that can then be used to narrow down suspects.

Typical search warrants require probable cause and are often associated with a suspect or an address, keyword warrants however give up data on a large group of data based on the fact that they may have searched for specific phrases.

CNET reports that after investigators were able to tie Williams to the arson through the keyword warrant, they sent Google another warrant specifically seeking data from the suspect’s account, and found that he had searched for phrases including “where can i buy a .50 custom machine gun,” “witness intimidation” and “countries that don’t have extradition with the United States.”

Chief Critic

Evan Greer, the deputy director of the human rights group Fight for the Future, told Forbes, such warrants are “dragnet surveillance and it should be illegal. No one should be targeted by law enforcement

02
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

BISD, Facebook investigating social media threat against teacher

Beaumont ISD Police are investigating after a number of threats were sent to a teacher through anonymous Facebook accounts demanding them to “stop sending work.”

BISD spokesperson Hannah LeTulle confirmed that the district was investigating the matter, but did not provide additional details.

“The district takes any and all threats seriously and is doing so in this situation,” LeTulle said in a statement to The Enterprise, “The matter is under current investigation with the BISD Police Department.”

The messages were sent from at least three separate accounts with fake names including a character from the cartoon “Naruto,” and another with a phrase tied the hacking activist group Anonymous.


A Facebook spokesperson said the accounts have been deactivated for violating the social network’s policies prohibiting fake accounts, and that the company is investigating the matter.

None of the accounts had profile pictures or “about” information prior to their deactivation.

In one of the messages, which was reviewed by The Enterprise, a photo showing a cylindrical device covered in black tape being held by a hand with a silver chain on the wrist was sent to the teacher.

“Waiting at your door,” a message with the photo said.

The teacher confirmed to The Enterprise that the police were handling the situation, but also declined to provide any more details pending the results.

BISD and other area schools received a growing number of threats at the end of the last school year prior to the coronavirus shutdowns, prompting several districts to cancel school for a number of days. After two threats in one week in March, BISD Superintendent Shannon Allen called on parents to discuss with their children the consequences of making threats.

BISD has contracted with an artificial intelligence software company