Saturday, December 29, 2018

Pen-Link's LINCOLN Surveillance System

From Anthony Pignataro's 12-14-18 OC Weekly article entitled "Orange County Sheriff Wants More Surveillance Software from Mysterious Spy Contractor":

We 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).

“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.”

According 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 But now that software is apparently outdated.

“With 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.”

The 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.

No comments:

Post a Comment