Science and Technology News

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Former IT Administrator Found Guilty of Federal Charges for Hacking into Computers of His Former Employer in Irvine


          LOS ANGELES – An Arizona man has been convicted of federal computer intrusion charges for deleting electronic files after hacking into computer systems operated by an Irvine-based company where he used to work.

          Nikishna Polequaptewa, 36, of Phoenix, was found guilty Tuesday afternoon by a federal jury. Following a five-day trial, the jury convicted Polequaptewa of one count of unauthorized impairment of a protected computer and causing over $50,000 in loss.

          Beginning in April 2014, Polequaptewa worked at Blue Stone Strategy Group, which provided consulting services to Native American tribal governments throughout the United States. In addition to his consulting responsibilities, Polequaptewa led information technology and marketing at Blue Stone.

          In November 2014, Polequaptewa was relieved of IT and marketing duties after he began falling behind on work. Following this change in responsibilities, Polequaptewa was assigned to a consulting project in Florida for the Seminole Tribe. While on that project, Polequaptewa deleted Blue Stone’s website and marketing materials that the company had developed over eight years.

          Polequaptewa resigned in Florida and continued to delete Blue Stone files, including client information, Blue Stone work product, and the company’s backup files held by a third-party. Polequaptewa’s final deletion was done by sending a “wipe” command to a Blue Stone desktop computer in Irvine.

          In court documents, prosecutors described Polequaptewa’s actions as “a coordinated campaign to delete information and data.” Polequaptewa’s deletions cost Blue Stone over $50,000 to assess the damage and respond to the offense.

          During the time of the criminal conduct in 2014, Polequaptewa lived in Garden Grove.

          As a result the guilty verdict, Polequaptewa faces a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison when he is sentenced on February 25, 2019 by United States District Judge Cormac J. Carney.

          The investigation into Polequaptewa was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Broward County Sheriff’s Office in Florida and the Irvine Police Department provided assistance.

          This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Vibhav Mittal and Bradley E. Marrett of the Santa Ana Branch Office.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Criminal Justice Technology in the News


Law Enforcement News

Tactical Medicine Helps Local Law Enforcement Save Lives in Critical Situations
EastIdahoNews.com, (10/30/2018), Rett Nelson
Eighteen members of five law enforcement agencies were certified in tactical medicine during recent training in St. Anthony, Idaho. Tactical medicine gives officers the skills to administer immediate care to victims in critical situations. During a simulated active shooter situation, officers placed tourniquets on the injured and dragged them out of the building to safety while they waited for EMS responders. The course also teaches officers how to save their own lives in the event of injury.
Link to Article


Northern Virginia Police Have New App for Reporting Suspicious Activity
Fairfax News, (10/31/2018/, Ed Tobias
Law enforcement agencies in Northern Virginia have launched iWatchNOVA, an Internet portal that allows people to use their smart phones to alert officers to activities that might indicate criminal activity. Users can provide details and upload photos, and the Northern Virginia Regional Intelligence Center then collects, evaluates, analyzes and distributes the information to 18 jurisdictions in Northern Virginia.
Link to Article


App Alerts Police Who Encounter People With Disabilities
KARE, (10/31/2018), Danny Spewak
Twenty-six public safety departments in Minnesota now use the Vitals smartphone app, which alerts first responders when they come within 80 feet of a person with a disability such as autism, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. The app allows family members to create profiles for their relatives, who then wear electronic beacons to inform police of their presence. A profile can include basic personal details, potential deescalation tactics, possible triggers and emergency contact numbers.
Link to Article


Ala. County Police Now Equipped With Naloxone to Help Fight Opioid Crisis
EMS1, (11/01/2018), Carol Robinson
Jefferson County sheriff's deputies recently began carrying naloxone, an intranasal medication used to counteract the effects of an opioid overdose. In 2017, Jefferson County had 202 deaths due to overdoses of heroin and fentanyl. In one month, deputies saved three lives, the sheriff says.
Link to Article


Taunton Leaders Hope New Software Will Improve School Security
WPRI, (11/02/2018), Sarah Doiron and Julianne Lima
Taunton, Mass., will use federal grant money to purchase software to allow police to access school buildings' interior surveillance systems. The city's mayor said he hopes to have the software up and running in the next few months.
Link to Article


Wichita Police Commit to Send Rape-kit Backlog of Nearly 1,700 for DNA Testing
The Wichita Eagle, (11/02/2018), Chance Swaim
The Wichita Police Department will submit all sexual assault kits to a forensic lab for testing, including a backlog of nearly 1,700 tests dating back to 2002, according to police. Results from the tests are coming back from the lab on a rolling basis, and all kits will be submitted by the end of the year.
Link to Article


Redondo Beach Police Create Pedestrian and Cyclist Safety Program With $120,000 in Grants
The Beach Reporter, (11/02/2018), Kirsten Farmer
Redondo Beach police will use $120,000 in grant funds for a pedestrian and cyclist safety program. The program will include classroom presentations and community events covering traffic rules, rights and responsibilities.
Link to Article


Datacasting Helps First Responders Defuse Potential School Shooting in Drill
Emergency Management, (11/02/2018), Jim McKay
The Adams County, Ind., school district recently partnered with first responders to test the viability of datacasting in response to a simulated active shooter scenario on campus. The encrypted video, blueprints and other data helped first responders neutralize the shooter and locate and clear a suspicious package. The simulation was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate.
Link to Article

 
Corrections News

Report: Record Number of Adults in State Prisons
The Journal Times, (11/01/2018), Todd Richmond for the Associated Press
Wisconsin's prisons held a record number of adults in 2017 and the population will continue to grow over the next two years, according to a report from the Wisconsin Policy Forum. The report said 23,687 adults were incarcerated in state prisons last year, up 2.3 percent from 2016.
Link to Article


Lt. Governor Announces New Program to Reduce Incarceration, Recidivism in Delaware
WXDE, (10/31/2018), Rob Petree
Delaware has a new program to reduce inmate recidivism. A federal grant to The Way Home, Inc., which connects former inmates with resources to prevent future incarceration, will allow it to work with the National Reentry Resource Centers. Inmates will receive six months of support prior to release, and up to 12 months of support services after their release from prison.
Link to Article


1 in 55 U.S. Adults Is on Probation or Parole
The Pew Charitable Trusts, (10/31/2018), Jake Horowitz
This article notes issues in probation and parole in the United States, progress made in addressing those problems and actions needed for further improvement.
Link to Article


To Lower Prison Health Care Costs, Maryland is Trying Something New: Serving Healthier Food
The Baltimore Sun, (11/05/2018), Meredith Cohn
The warden of the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women in Jessup, Md., has been changing the menu in an effort to improve inmate health. Warden Margaret M. Chippendale worked with a dietitian to revise the menu and cut about 1,000 calories a day from inmate meals. The prison has replaced white bread with wheat, added fish, fresh fruits and vegetables, cottage cheese and yogurt, and serves drinks with less sugar.
Link to Article


Spice and Cell Phones: Florida's Prisons See New Wave of Contraband
Tampa Bay Times, (11/06/2018), Dan Sullivan
This article discusses the problem of contraband such as cellphones and K2, a synthetic form of marijuana, in Florida's prison system. Between 2017 and 2018, authorities confiscated more than 9,000 cellphones and about 79 pounds of synthetic marijuana.
Link to Article


Getting Out the Vote From the County Jail
The Atlantic, (11/04/2018), Margaret Barthel
This article examines rights of some jail inmates to vote and confusion surrounding the issue. The process for voting in jails varies widely, from state to state and county to county.
Link to Article


Weighing Access and Fairness, Hillsborough Sheriff's Office Limits Online Jail Records
Tampa Bay Times, (11/06/2018), Tony Marrero
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office in Florida has decided to make online booking information available only for 90 days after an inmate leaves the jail. Previously, information was available online going back to the mid-1990s. Sheriff Chad Chronister said the change is based on fairness and the goal was to "strike a balance between the immediate need to determine who is currently in our jail and the need to protect an individual's dignity." Historical booking information is still available through public records requests.
Link to Article


Probation Department to Monitor High-Risk DUI Offenders
Edhat, (11/05/2018)
The Santa Barbara County Probation Department will use a $132,510 grant to ensure that high-risk, felony and repeat DUI offenders are complying with court orders. The grant provides funding for a Deputy Probation Officer assigned to monitor drivers on supervised probation who have a felony or multiple misdemeanor DUI convictions. The officer will conduct unannounced home searches and random alcohol and drug testing, and special monitoring to ensure compliance with court-ordered DUI education and treatment programs.
Link to Article

New Just Science Season: Forensic Advancement


The National Institute of Justice's Forensic Technology Center of Excellence has a Just Science podcast series on Forensic Advancement. The series will focus on areas that challenge forensic leadership within the community. A majority of these interviews were recorded at the 2018 ASCLD Annual Symposium in Atlanta, Ga. This season will include episodes covering performance tools, ASCLD efforts in rapid DNA, return on investment for DNA databases, witness testimony, millennial personnel and laboratory public relations. In episode one, Just Science interviews John Collins, an instructor and consultant from Critical Victories, and Jay Henry, the laboratory director at the Utah Department of Public Safety. They discuss how crime labs can create environments that are more appealing to the younger generation of professionals and the challenges directors are facing with retention. For more information, go to https://forensiccoe.org/js7-e1/.