Fascinating article about two psychologists who are studying interrogation techniques.
Now, two British researchers are quietly revolutionising the study and practice of interrogation. Earlier this year, in a meeting room at the University of Liverpool, I watched a video of the Diola interview alongside Laurence Alison, the university’s chair of forensic psychology, and Emily Alison, a professional counsellor. My permission to view the tape was negotiated with the counter-terrorist police, who are understandably wary of allowing outsiders access to such material. Details of the interview have been changed to protect the identity of the officers involved, though the quotes are verbatim.
The Alisons, husband and wife, have done something no scholars of interrogation have been able to do before. Working in close cooperation with the police, who allowed them access to more than 1,000 hours of tapes, they have observed and analysed hundreds of real-world interviews with terrorists suspected of serious crimes. No researcher in the world has ever laid hands on such a haul of data before. Based on this research, they have constructed the world’s first empirically grounded and comprehensive model of interrogation tactics.
The Alisons’ findings are changing the way law enforcement and security agencies approach the delicate and vital task of gathering human intelligence. “I get very little, if any, pushback from practitioners when I present the Alisons’ work,” said Kleinman, who now teaches interrogation tactics to military and police officers. “Even those who don’t have a clue about the scientific method, it just resonates with them.” The Alisons have done more than strengthen the hand of advocates of non-coercive interviewing: they have provided an unprecedentedly authoritative account of what works and what does not, rooted in a profound understanding of human relations. That they have been able to do so is testament to a joint preoccupation with police interviews that stretches back more than 20 years.
Posted on October 26, 2017 at 5:09 AM •
The US Supreme Court is deciding a case that will establish whether the police need a warrant to access cell phone location data. This week I signed on to an amicus brief from a wide array of security technologists outlining the technical arguments as why the answer should be yes. Susan Landau summarized our arguments.
A bunch of tech companies also submitted a brief.
Posted on August 17, 2017 at 6:12 AM •
It’s hard to tell how much of this story is real and how much is aspirational, but it really is only a matter of time:
About the size of a child’s electric toy car, the driverless vehicles will patrol different areas of the city to boost security and hunt for unusual activity, all the while scanning crowds for potential persons of interest to police and known criminals.
Posted on July 5, 2017 at 12:48 PM •
In the first of what will undoubtedly be a large number of battles between companies that make IoT devices and the police, Amazon is refusing to comply with a warrant demanding data on what its Echo device heard at a crime scene.
The particulars of the case are weird. Amazon’s Echo does not constantly record; it only listens for its name. So it’s unclear that there is any evidence to be turned over. But this general issue isn’t going away. We are all under ubiquitous surveillance, but it is surveillance by the companies that control the Internet-connected devices in our lives. The rules by which police and intelligence agencies get access to that data will come under increasing pressure for change.
Related: A newscaster discussed Amazon’s Echo on the news, causing devices in the same room as tuned-in televisions to order unwanted products. This year, the same technology is coming to LG appliances such as refrigerators.
Posted on January 11, 2017 at 6:22 AM •
The Intercept has published a 120-page catalog of spy gear from the British defense company Cobham. This is equipment available to police forces. The catalog was leaked by someone inside the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Posted on September 6, 2016 at 6:31 AM •
In this article, detailing the Australian and then worldwide investigation of a particularly heinous child-abuse ring, there are a lot of details of the pedophile security practices and the police investigative techniques. The abusers had a detailed manual on how to scrub metadata and avoid detection, but not everyone was perfect. The police used information from a single camera to narrow down the suspects. They also tracked a particular phrase one person used to find him.
This story shows an increasing sophistication of the police using small technical clues combined with standard detective work to investigate crimes on the Internet. A highly painful read, but interesting nonetheless.
Posted on August 24, 2016 at 9:30 AM •
Khan was arrested in mid-July 2015. Undercover police officers posing as company managers arrived at his workplace and asked to check his driver and work records, according to the source. When they disputed where he was on a particular day, he got out his iPhone and showed them the record of his work.
The undercover officers asked to see his iPhone and Khan handed it over. After that, he was arrested. British police had 30 seconds to change the password settings to keep the phone open.
Reminds me about how the FBI arrested Ross William Ulbricht:
The agents had tailed him, waiting for the 29-year-old to open his computer and enter his passwords before swooping in.
That also works.
And, yes, I understand that none of this would have worked with the already dead Syed Farook and his iPhone.
Posted on April 7, 2016 at 6:39 AM •
This is just awful.
Their troll — or trolls, as the case may be — have harassed Paul and Amy in nearly every way imaginable. Bomb threats have been made under their names. Police cars and fire trucks have arrived at their house in the middle of the night to respond to fake hostage calls. Their email and social media accounts have been hacked, and used to bring ruin to their social lives. They’ve lost jobs, friends, and relationships. They’ve developed chronic anxiety and other psychological problems. More than once, they described their lives as having been “ruined” by their mystery tormenter.
We need to figure out how to identify perpetrators like this without destroying Internet privacy in the process.
EDITED TO ADD: One of the important points is the international nature of many of these cases. Even once the attackers are identified, the existing legal system isn’t adequate for shutting them down.
Posted on January 27, 2016 at 6:20 AM •
Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.