GPS Trackers Are a Form of Search and Seizure, as per the Supreme Court

5 Dec

GPS tracking has become so advanced and so affordable that just about anyone with a few hundred dollars can keep a watchful eye on someone if they want to badly enough. Even local and federal law enforcement agencies are getting in on the action, regularly using sophisticated GPS trackers to monitor unsuspecting targets as they go about their days. According to the U.S. Supreme Court, however, this may be a “bridge too far,” so to speak — a recent ruling indicated that GPS trackers are a form of search and seizure, and using one without following the proper procedures could be a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

The Supreme Court

In the case of Torrey Dale Grady v. North Carolina, the Supreme Court essentially took a bold step toward updating the Fourth Amendment to take into consideration the advanced technology now on display in government agencies around the country. Though the case itself was returned to the North Carolina high court, the Supreme Court did take the opportunity to unanimously rule on the GPS tracking technology itself. Simply put, they indicated that if a law enforcement or other government official places a GPS tracker on someone’s person, in their car or on any other personal item they have, it counts as a search — end of story.

A senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an advocacy group keeping a watchful eye on the technology that watches citizens each day, was very pleased with the decision. Asked about the case, Jennifer Lynch said, “It doesn’t matter what the context is, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s a car or a person. Putting that tracking device on a car or a person is a search.”

The case itself is actually extremely interesting because GPS tracking was not done without Torrey Dale Grady’s knowledge. In 2013, Grady was ordered by a judge in North Carolina to wear a GPS monitor at all times so that authorities could keep a watchful eye on him. He challenged this decision, taking his situation all the way to the Supreme Court, under the basis that the tracking device absolutely qualified as an unreasonable search.

GPS Tracking in Action

Despite this ruling, GPS tracking as a concept isn’t going anywhere. Many sophisticated devices offer real-time tracking over the internet for $120 or less, making them perfect for both law enforcement professionals and concerned private citizens. The STI_GL300 Real-Time GPS tracker, for example, is billed as a perfect solution for tracking everything from people to vehicles to equipment and more. It allows the person doing the tracking to not only access the GPS information from anywhere using a tablet or phone, but it also supports automated phone and email alerts so no movement is missed.

The XT-2000 OBD Real-Time GPS Vehicle Tracker is another example, which is designed to plug effortlessly into nearly any modern car. It also allows for real-time tracking over an internet connection and supports automatic alerts and more.

It’s important to note that the Supreme Court ruling does NOT mean that GPS tracking is somehow bad or that it doesn’t bring with it a wide range of different benefits that can’t be ignored. Businesses who are concerned with things like employee theft or even operational inefficiencies regularly use GPS tracking as a form of asset management, for example. There is also a wide range of different (totally legitimate) reasons why home users would need this technology.

All the Supreme Court has done is taking a small but significant step toward protecting the Fourth Amendment rights of an entire generation who will grow up surrounded by this type of technology on a daily basis. As the Constitution is a document that was always meant to be updated as time goes on and as contexts change, this is very much a good thing and should be celebrated.


Top 10 Shocking Dash Camera Videos in the United States Involving Law Enforcement with Commentary

1 Dec

If you think that there will NEVER be a situation where a dash cam might come in handy, you might want to think again. The roads in the United States are dangerous, but it isn’t always just other motorists you have to concern yourself with. Watch these top ten shocking dash camera videos involving law enforcement and then reconsider whether or not you run out and purchase one of the devices to call your own.

  1. The Great New Jersey Chase of 2015

Marvel at this police dash camera footage from New Jersey, as officers are led on a wild chase that spans not one, not two, but THREE major highways in the area!

  1. You Never Can Be Too Careful

Police see horrific and shocking car crashes every day, as this compilation of police dash cam crashes goes a long way towards proving. Watch as cars hit trains, trucks, SUVs and almost the cops themselves!

  1. Lubbock County, Texas

They say that everything is bigger in Texas. Judging by this YouTube video, everything is longer, too – at least as far as their police chases are concerned. This one clocks in at just over 20 minutes!

  1. The Kansas Chase

Police chases aren’t always like you see in the movies – sometimes they don’t touch highways at all. Sometimes they take place in residential neighborhoods, as terrifying as that may be. Such was the case with this pursuit that took place in May of 2016 in a small town in Kansas.

  1. The Fast and The Furious

This is one dash cam video that really has it all. Not only do you get the immediate aftermath of a bank robbery, but you also get a 100+ mile per hour high-speed chase that rockets through Kenosha and Racine counties in Wisconsin. This is one that you’re just going to have to see to believe.

  1. The Shootout

If police cruisers weren’t equipped with dash cameras, we wouldn’t have this shocking footage of a Chicago PD shootout with a carjacking suspect. Let this serve as a lesson to all would-be carjackers everywhere – the Chicago police department doesn’t take things like this lying down.

  1. Take to the Skies

So many people talk about how law enforcement cruisers have dash cameras, it’s easy to forget that other types of vehicles have them, too. Police helicopters ALSO have “dash” cameras in the United States, as evidenced by this incredible footage of some local law enforcement officers taking down a suspect on the side of the road.

  1. Raw Video

Many people don’t realize that when police dash cam footage shows up on the news, it’s often heavily edited. Police dash cams record all day long so that they can be ready when those few moments of action really do take place. Such is the case with this raw video of a police chase that ended in spectacular fashion in Jackson, Mississippi. Be sure to stick around for the shocking conclusion – it’s one that you won’t want to miss.

  1. Miami Police Shootout

Many times, police dash cam footage actually can look like something that you would see in the latest Hollywood action blockbuster – which is something that this police dash cam footage of a Miami police shootout goes a long way towards underlining.

  1. A Crash At the Border (Patrol Van)

Finally, we have this brief encounter between a United States border patrol van and another vehicle, caught on camera for everyone to see. This is one border patrol van driver who probably didn’t expect to find himself in this type of situation when he woke up that morning, that’s for sure! Just wait until you see what happens at the very end – you’ll want to watch it again and again!


How Do Jewelry Companies Transport Their Jewels?

28 Nov

Many people don’t realize that when it comes to jewelry companies, one of the biggest costs that businesses face have nothing to do with producing the items themselves – instead, it’s the massive cost associated with safely and securely getting them into the hands of customers all over the world. Transportation costs are massive, particularly when you consider the value of the items being transported. To this end, jewelry companies have successfully leveraged modern technology in a variety of ways to help make sure not only that everything goes smoothly, but to also make sure that the cost of their goods versus the cost to transport still allows them to remain competitive.

Transporting Jewels: A Logistical Enterprise

There is an entire industry devoted to helping jewelry companies transport their jewels as safely, as securely and as cost-effectively as possible. Point2Point Global Security Inc., for example, offers a wide range of different services including:


  • Off-duty police officers to watch shipments wherever they go.
  • Secured transport, both on the ground and in the air, to make sure that no items are tampered with or stolen in transit.
  • Armed delivery of products to private residences, as well as armed escort for sales people who may be traveling with expensive merchandise.

Transporting jewels is quite different from a normal retail shipment process. Things go a great deal deeper than just moving merchandise from a factory to a retail environment and into the hands of customers. An almost unprecedented level of visibility is necessary at every step of the way. Nearly every jewelry item passes through an incredible number of hands before it arrives in a store – from dealers to grading institutes to wholesalers and polishers and beyond. Losing track of something at any one of those points could create a nightmare of liability for everyone before and after.

Think about the last time you went to a jewelry showcase at something like a hotel or other public event – there are systems in place that are constantly informing businesses where those items are, how they got there, how long they’ve stayed and so much more.

The Power of Modern Technology

To that end, jewelry companies use a wide range of state-of-the-art tools to help keep a watchful eye over their products, especially in transit. GPS-equipped security vehicles are constantly visible via an Internet connection. But this involves a lot more than just being able to log into a website and see exactly where a truck is, although that itself is very important.

The log of data that GPS and other asset protection devices create also helps keep transportation as secure as possible. If an item goes missing, business representatives can see its entire history up to that point. If a truck stopped when it wasn’t supposed to, they can see exactly where that happened. They can see exactly how long the truck was “off route.” They can see precisely who was driving that truck, who they were interacting with and more.

The biggest benefit is that by investing in the security of their jewels, they’re able to make sure items get where they’re supposed to as inexpensively as possible. However, taking complete control over the supply chain also brings with it the equally important benefit of a stronger reputation. Every company responsible for a piece of jewelry at some point during its lifecycle should absolutely embrace these types of tracking methods, as if a problem DOES occur they have concrete, actionable and analytical proof that they weren’t responsible. This only strengthens their reputation in an industry where this is maybe the most important quality of a business moving forward.


How Governments Use Private Spy Firms to Get Important Info

23 Nov

If you want to overhaul your landscaping or put a new deck on the back of your home, what do you do? You find a contractor who can do what you need and you hire them on the spot. According to the New York Times, governments from around the world may be operating under the same basic mentality. Only they’re not dealing with contractors who can install a new hardwood kitchen floor – they’re working with groups who can spy on technology owners without their knowledge.

The NSO Group

One such company is the NSO Group, a surveillance firm based out of Israel that has been making waves across the world for the last six years. According to one report, spying on up to 10 iPhone owners without their knowledge doesn’t require backdoor Senate hearings, public debates or wiretaps at all. It turns out it can cost any government in the world as little as $650,000, plus a modest $500,000 setup fee. Naturally, prices go up as the number of people you’re trying to monitor increases.

With an arsenal of high-tech surveillance tools that read like something out of a James Bond novel, the NSO Group claims that it can capture EVERYTHING on a smartphone or computer without the owner’s knowledge. This includes sounds, messages, keystrokes, location information and beyond.

Think about the last intimate text message that you sent. Now, think about how terrifying that it is that someone might be reading it without your knowledge.

Perhaps the most frightening thing of all is that we wouldn’t even know the NSO Group existed had they not recently made a series of high-profile mistakes. In August of 2016, security researchers discovered a strain of spyware belonging to NSO Group on the iPhone of a UAE-based human rights activist. After doing some digging, they also found a similar strain on the smartphone of a journalist who had been covering corruption in the Mexican government.

In both cases, it isn’t exactly difficult to discern where those spying requests happen to come from.

Exploiting Technology

NSO Group and similar organizations like it usually gain access to a user’s smartphone through good, old-fashioned user error. According to the New York Times, one of the most common approaches takes the form of a phishing scam. Malicious links are sent to a user, usually in the form of an email, that the user then opens on their smartphone. Once the link has been opened, spyware downloads automatically – turning over every last digital activity to prying eyes.

These types of private spy firms also often make use of security flaws in the Android and iOS operating system to gain access to devices. While Apple, in particular, regularly issues bug fixes to prevent this type of thing from happening, no OS is perfect – something that private spy firms seem hellbent on proving as time goes on.

A Brave New World

The NSO Group is just one of many, many examples of companies out there that act as private spy firms who can get important information out of electronic devices on behalf of world governments. With the right malware installed on a device, a smartphone can essentially become a GPS-enabled secret recording device – tracking your every move and reporting what you’re doing to interested parties.

Naturally, many of these companies are less than forthcoming regarding who they’re doing business with and how many people they’re spying on.

As smartphones, tablets and similar types of technology become increasingly essential parts of our daily lives, it’s clear that privacy, in general, is a situation that will get much worse before it gets better moving forward.


How to Prevent Retail Theft – Shrinkage

21 Nov

Regardless of the type of business you run or even the industry you’re operating in, all retail establishments have at least one thing in common: theft is one of the biggest concerns they face on a daily basis. Also commonly called shrinkage, theft is perhaps THE largest single cost that stores share. According to the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention, roughly 1 out of ever 11 people in the United States is a shoplifter – which works out to be about 27 million people. Retail theft, be it internal or external, overburdens both the police and the court system, increases costs of doing business AND keeps important items out of the hands of paying customers where they belong.

Luckily, modern technology can be used to mitigate these risks as much as possible. If you’re a retail store owner or employee and you’re looking for new and inventive ways to prevent shrinkage, there are a few key things to keep in mind.

Know What You’re Up Against

The most important thing to understand when it comes to preventing retail theft is that you’re not just looking for external threats – internal shrink is a very real concern, too. According to LPM Insider, employee and internal theft amounted to an incredible 34.5% of all shrinkage in 2014. This means that if you’re only trying to stop outsiders from coming in and stealing items when they’re already on the floor, you’re still leaving yourself incredibly vulnerable by ignoring such an important problem.

In terms of external theft, you can employ a number of techniques to help cut down on the issue as much as possible. In addition to security cameras, remember that your employees themselves are and will always be your first line of defense. They need to be properly educated and continually trained against what to look for in terms of shoplifters. Someone who tries to avoid the attention of employees, someone wearing a large coat on a 90 degree day in the summer and others are all telltale signs.

Remember: be proactive, not reactive. Your job isn’t to catch shoplifters – your job is to prevent shoplifters from trying to steal in the first place. If you suspect that you may have a shoplifter on your hands, many times tasking an employee to follow that person around and talk to them under the guise of being helpful (“Can I help you find something today? Can I make a personalized product recommendation? How are you doing?”) will yield better results than a fleet of security cameras.

The Devices You Should Use

If your employees themselves are where the majority of your shrink is coming from, on the other hand, technology can be your guide. Hidden cameras placed in an environment like a warehouse can be a great way to supplement any visible security cameras you DO have.

Let’s say that there are three overhead security cameras in a warehouse that are visible to all employees. After a few weeks, most employees will know what those cameras can see and what they can’t – creating certain blind spots in coverage just waiting to be taken advantage of. A 720p HD Wi-Fi IP Light Bulb Camera focused on one of those blind spots, however, is a great way to give an internal thief a false sense of security.

Likewise, nobody would bat an eye about the inclusion of a clock radio in a warehouse environment – but if that radio is the Aetos 200 Mini Clock Radio with Night Vision, suddenly your merchandise isn’t nearly as vulnerable as a would-be thief might think it is. Not only can you keep items from leaving your business, but you can identify the culprits and fire them immediately.


Nobody ever wants to think that their life may not be as private as they

16 Nov

Nobody ever wants to think that their life may not be as private as they’d previously assumed, but thanks to modern technology this is one concern that is very real and very important. Surveillance devices are only getting smaller, more discrete, more powerful and more affordable. If someone wants to put a bug in your home or in your office to keep an eye on you in your most private of moments, it’s never been easier to do so at any point in human history.

Luckily, technology can ALSO help make sure this type of activity isn’t going on in the first place. If you think your home or office is bugged, there are a number of things you’ll want to keep in mind.

Look for the Signs

If you really do think that you’re being spied on, start by looking for some of the most obvious signs. Look for new additions to a room in your home or office, for example, that either you didn’t put there or have no business being there. Remember that a “nanny cam” isn’t hidden exclusively in a teddy bear like the old cliche tells us – they can be in everything from a wall clock to the head of a pen to a pair of sunglasses.

Start by examining the items in a room and looking for signs of consumer-grade surveillance equipment. Also, think about where in a room you would have to place such an item to get valuable audio and video footage. If you’re worried about someone watching you at your desk, think about where a camera would have to go in the room to make that possible.

Putting Technology to Work For You

Luckily, if you DO find yourself in a situation where you think your home or office may be bugged, you can use the same type of technology that you fear to turn the tables on your would-be observer. The Lawmate RD-10 RF and Camera Detector, for example, is one of the most popular counter-surveillance units available on the market today. It’s a law enforcement grade RF detector that uses the same RF technology that many surveillance devices use to actually detect active monitoring in a particular area.

The unit quickly scans a room for “bugs” that are broadcasting at frequencies from 20 MHz to 6 GHz, allowing it to sensitively and discreetly find the vast majority of “spy” devices sold today. It also allows users to instantly detect hidden spy cameras and includes digital and Wi-Fi signal detection and monitoring functionality.

Another area of your life that is particularly vulnerable to surveillance is also, unfortunately, one of the most important: your cell phone. Something like an iPhone is simultaneously the most technologically advanced device that a person owns – and the most intimate. If someone were able to successfully monitor the calls you make, they could potentially learn your deepest, darkest secrets – all without you realizing that something was wrong in the first place.

If you do believe that your cell phone activity may be monitored, a device like the VoiceKeeper FSM-U1 Cell Scrambler can help put a stop to this immediately. This professional-grade cell phone scrambler works with any cell phone and offers the highest grade encryption available on the market today for these devices. Designed specifically to prevent wiretapping, it uses the same encryption technology used by the government, the military and law enforcement to help keep your conversations as private as possible.

While the cell phone scrambler does require a separate unit for each person, it is particularly valuable if you’re worried about calls to certain individuals being monitored. If you want to make sure that nobody can ever listen in on calls between you and your spouse, the VoiceKeeper can help prevent that from happening.


Ways Companies Use Asset Tracking to Monitor Their Shipments

14 Nov

One of the many ways that technology has made the lives of business owners easier has to do with asset tracking and the monitoring of shipments. The process of preparing and shipping an item to a customer isn’t necessarily a difficult one, but it is one that involves a lot of steps. Every one of these steps represents a potential hazard or delay that could cause an organization’s investment to drop considerably.

Being able to access real-time, accurate GPS information about where a shipment is at any particular moment, however, goes a long way toward relieving these issues as quickly and as inexpensively as possible.

Asset Tracking Helps to Eliminate Gaps in Documentation

One of the many ways that companies use asset tracking to monitor their shipments has less to do with where the shipment eventually ends up and more to do with how it is prepared in the first place. Many businesses document every step of a shipment’s lifecycle – from the various stages of preparation to who is doing the preparation in the first place and more. The problem is that sometimes this documentation comes up short, leading to waste and costly delays in the process.

If you THINK that you don’t know where a particular item is because documentation is lacking, you might think that the problem is that the item in question is lost or stolen. This could wind up costing you time that you don’t have only to determine that everything was proceeding as it should – it was the documentation itself that was lacking.

If you had the ability to log into an interface on a smartphone or tablet and get a real-time update on that item’s location from anywhere, however, you’d be able to see the cause of the problem in seconds and could avoid those delays altogether. This would also uncover the fact that your organization had a documentation problem, something you could take steps to further correct by way of continuing education.

Accurate, Actionable Information

One of the biggest benefits of using asset tracking to monitor shipments, however, comes by way of the reams of analytical information that it can provide. Asset tracking gives businesses an almost unprecedented level of visibility into not only where their assets are going, but HOW they’re being utilized. This can be a great way to better monitor the actual needs of an organization, making certain adjustments to increase productivity and streamline efficiency along the way.

Even if you’re only talking about asset tracking in terms of physical location information, the data you’re given can still help uncover patterns that can shed insight on how to make your operation stronger. If you know where your shipments are at any given moment, you actually know a great deal more than that. You know how long they take to prepare. How long they take to get from “Point A” to “Point B” to “Point C” and beyond. You can see what might be causing unnecessary delays and, more importantly, what you need to do to cut down the amount of time required for this process as much as you can.

Improving Customer Service

Finally, many companies use asset tracking to monitor their shipments to unlock the most important benefit of all: the ability to provide a better service to their customers. If you have complete visibility over your shipments, including how long it took to get them to where they are and how long it will continue to take to get them where they’re going, you have the data you need to improve the way your information performs.

You know which resources you need to use to allocate for improved efficiency. You’re able to reduce unnecessary spending by eliminating superfluous steps in the process. You have better control over your shipments and related assets than ever before, allowing you to provide superior customer service AND increase your revenue at the same time.