Honolulu Police Used a Robot Dog to Patrol a Homeless Encampment

Todd Feathers at Vice.com:

Despite widespread public outrage at police departments’ use of Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot, law enforcement agencies continue to look for ways to experiment with the headless, quadrupedal machine.

One of the more creative examples comes from Honolulu, where police spent more than $150,000 in COVID-19 relief funding to purchase a Spot robot to take body temperatures, disinfect, and patrol the city’s homeless quarantine encampment. 

Not mentioned in this article — did the robot dog actually accomplish anything? Did it actually reduce crime or improve health?

DOJ Charges Criminal ‘Influencers’ Who Worked for FBI’s Honeypot Phone Company — Joseph Cox at Vice

The FBI set up a company to build phones that ran a messaging app called Anom, used to eavesdrop on criminals, and now it’s arresting people who worked for the company.

“The defendants, some of which are international fugitives, include people in Turkey, Australia, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Spain, Colombia, and Thailand. The DOJ is charging them under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, a law traditionally used to target mafia bosses, but which the DOJ has recently used to prosecute encrypted phone companies that deliberately sold devices to criminals.”

There’s a whole underground tech industry out there, with tech support and “influencers” — well-known crime figures with reputations for knowledge and expertise in hardened encryption devices.

“‘Distributors’ provide technical support for customers, send money back up to the parent company, and manage ‘agents,’ who in turn are on the ground meeting and engaging with customers of the phones. These staff all remained anonymous even to one another in order to try and evade law enforcement, the document reads.

We’ve seen something like this before, with ransomware organizations that run help desks to support technically unsophisticated victims. Supposedly the help desk operators are friendly and helpful.

How was your weekend? Qanon had a good time

The Qanon “For God and Country: Patriot Roundup” conference in Dallas this weekend had former US Army General and National Security Advisor Michael Flynn calling for a military coup, and Roger Stone social media advisor Jason Sullivan called for Hillary Clinton to be hanged. Tickets started at $500.

David Gilbert reports on Vice: QAnon’s Wildest Moments From Their Massively Disturbing Conference

The event was held at the Omni Hotel, which is owned by the city. Honored speakers included Rep. Louie Gohmert and the chairman of the Texas GOP, Allen West.

Former Trump attorney Sidney Powell predicted that Trump will be reinstated as President.

Security was provided by the 1st Amendment Praetorians, a group of ex-US military personnel, with pugs. Robert Patrick Lewis, an ex-Green Beret, is an organizer of the group.