From Anthony Pignataro's 12-14-18 OC Weekly article entitled "Orange County Sheriff Wants More Surveillance Software from Mysterious Spy Contractor":
tend to think of militarized law enforcement as cops fielding assault
rifles or riding the streets in armored trucks. But sophisticated
surveillance computer systems also blur the lines between the military
and police agencies. Increasingly, local law enforcement–like the Orange
County Sheriff’s Department–is equipping itself with surveillance
hardware and software once found only in the secretive world of the
National Security Agency or Defense Intelligence Agency to spy on
suspected drug dealers, gang members, and whoever else is deemed a
threat [emphasis added--RG].
At its Dec. 18, 2018 meeting, the Orange County Board of Supervisors will vote on a $163,000 sole-source contract with
Nebraska-based Pen-link to install and support the company’s Lincoln
surveillance system at the Sheriff’s Department wiretap room. The new
software, which will intercept and store data traveling over landlines,
is for the Sheriff’s Regional Narcotics Suppression Program (RNSP).
works to target, investigate and prosecute subjects involved in large
scale narcotics trafficking and money laundering,” states a county staff report on the contract. “Seized illegal proceeds are returned to participating local agencies in the way of civil asset forfeiture.”
to the staff report, RNSP already has Pen-link software running in
their “wiretap room.” This software “provides for the collection,
storage and analysis of telephone and internet communications for
investigative purposes,” according to the staff report. But now that
software is apparently outdated.
a court order, RNSP may wiretap phone lines and internet communication
for investigative purposes in support of narcotics trafficking and money
laundering cases,” states the staff report. “With the advent of new
technologies, the current equipment and software is dated. The purchase
order contract for the one-time purchase and installation of wire
intercept equipment will increase the system’s capacity for internet
intercept of information.”
insistence here that such surveillance would only take place after a
“court order” would normally be reassuring, if we were talking about an
agency that wasn’t beset by the scandals that have marred the OC
Sheriff’s Department over the last decade. It also doesn’t explain what
investigators will do with any information about people not accused of
committing crimes or under investigation that such surveillance will
inevitably scoop up [emphasis added--RG].
To read the rest of Pignataro's article, click HERE.