June 07, 2013
Electronic Tracking And Speedy Fugitive Capture

Susan Landau, author of Surveillance or Security?: The Risks Posed by New Wiretapping Technologies, told a New Yorker writer that electronic surveillance tools have slashed the time needed to capture fugitives.

. In fact, Landau told me, metadata and other new surveillance tools have helped cut the average amount of time it takes the U.S. Marshals to capture a fugitive from forty-two days to two.

Phone records are, btw, a form of metadata.

42 days to 2 days seems hard to believe. Though if fugitives rely on friends to stay free the ability to look back at, say, every phone call a person has made or received and to know instantly who those calls were to would make places to watch a lot easier to identify. Also, if a person has used affinity cards of grocery store chains and liquor store chains their past movements would be much easier to track. Ditto if a history of their cell phone cell tower uses could be reconstructed.

Anyone know what are the most important pieces of an electronic profile for tracking a fugitive? What do they do on the run? Ue their own cell phones? Do messaging on Facebook?

Share |      Randall Parker, 2013 June 07 07:55 PM 

Bernardz said at June 8, 2013 9:12 AM:

Quite a few get caught because they or their friends use facebook.

DdR said at June 11, 2013 6:49 AM:

It's easy to be on the lam for a longtime: stock up on $10,000s of gift cards, which are untraceable. Same for phone cards, with which you use a payphone. Email accounts from which you send an encrpyted email to another account, both of which are terminated within 15 minutes (this takes coordination, but can easily be done). Open up a bank account in another person's name, but you have power-of-attorney over the account.

The police have more technology at their disposal to find and implicate a criminal. However, there's more technology at a citizen's disposal to evade law enforcement's dragnet. The thing is, most criminals are dumb and present-time oriented, thus they don't plan on how to evade the law. What else would explain some moron holding up a liquor store for $200, when it could mean years behind bars?

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