Capitol Rioters ID’ed With Help From Dating Apps

Online dating apps and grassroots users are seeking evidence of U.S. Capitol rioters’ identities and passing them on to law enforcement. This is contributing to the hundreds of suspects already identified by the FBI.

But some of the matching is being done by facial recognition software. And that’s making privacy wonks worried.

Still, how dumb do you have to be to post evidence of your crime on social media, or admit to it in a dating app messenger convo? In today’s SB Blogwatch, we swipe alt-right.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention: Know your symbolism.

Don’t Tread On My Statue

Identify Spartacus. Drew Harwell, Lisa Bonos, Craig Timberg, Spencer Hsu, Peter Hermann and Matt Zapotosky share the blame—“Dating apps are using images from the siege to ban rioters’ accounts”:

 Bumble, Tinder and others are freezing out rioters. … Other app users have taken matters into their own hands by striking up conversations with potential rioters and relaying their information to the FBI.

Dating apps are using images captured from inside the Capitol siege and other evidence to identify and ban rioters’ accounts, causing immediate consequences for those who participated. … Women and men have in some cases also turned the dating apps into hunting grounds. … Using the dating apps to pursue members of the mob has become a viral pursuit, with tips shared on Twitter … contributing to a wide-scale manhunt for dating-app users who played a part in the violent attack.

But some privacy advocates said the episode reveals a worrying truth about pervasive public surveillance and the opaque connections between private companies and law enforcement. … The overlapping issues of law enforcement, privacy and user safety are complicated for dating apps. Police or prosecutors seeking data … give companies little room to object.

Privacy experts question whether any company should be taking action against users merely because they are believed to have been at the Capitol on Jan. 6 — before formal adjudication or even arrests. … Dating apps have a history of using human moderators and automated software to scan for problematic content, thanks in large part to male users with a habit of sending unwanted photos of their genitals.

“In large part”? Kudos. Todd Shields, Kartikay Mehrotra, Naomi Nix, Jennifer A Dlouhy, Chris Strohm, and Scott Moritz also stand up—“Selfie-Snapping Rioters”:

 Often with the aid of video taken or social media posted by the participants themselves … the FBI has quickly identified more than 275 suspects [and] the number is expected to grow quickly. … It’s one of the most expansive criminal investigations in the history of the Justice Department, with a wide assortment of agencies helping to build cases, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Marshals. All 56 FBI field offices are involved.

The FBI has declined to provide many details of how it’s conducting the search, but one police department says it’s helping the bureau link names and faces with facial recognition software. … Detectives in Miami have been uploading photos of potential suspects in the Capitol riot into a system provided by the closely held company Clearview AI. … So far, they have passed on at least six potential matches to the FBI, said Assistant Miami Police Chief Armando Aguilar.

[But] experts caution against sweeping surveillance of people who may have been at the Capitol simply to join a legal political demonstration. [It’s] raised concerns among civil liberty and privacy advocates.

Pics or it didn’t happen. David K. Li, Mohammed Syed and Ali Gostanian add—“New Jersey reservist, with Navy base clearance, charged”:

 An Army reservist, who has “secret” clearance to a cache of military supplies, was criminally charged for his role in this month’s deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, officials said. … Timothy Louis Hale-Cusanelli, of Colts Neck, New Jersey … is facing five federal charges.

Hale-Cusanelli showed an informant cell phone video that showed him at the riot and inside the building, according to the criminal complaint. The informant claims that Hale-Cusanelli “is an avowed white supremacist and Nazi sympathizer who posts video opinion statements on YouTube proffering extreme political opinions and viewpoints.”

For once, I’m speechless. Typingless? Whatever. Here’s MCR1983:

 Please, Chris Hansen, turn this into a To Catch a Predator: Domestic Terrorists special.

Okay, boomer. @AmberD1116 parenthetically shrugs:

 Looks like these guys are going to have an even harder time getting laid now (if that’s even possible).

Your humble blogwatcher always likes to cover both sides of an argument. So here’s the enigmatic and thoughtful America: The Snyder Cut:

 You are pathetic. I would ask you not to breed, but no one would have sex with you anyway, **** off, loser.

So what have we learned, children? Dr. Evil Engineer constructs this lesson:

 If you decide to do something stupid, don’t post about it before, during or after the fact. Stupidity and ignorance is not an excuse.

Tell me about it, u/tellmetheworld:

 Imagine the entitlement that comes with knowing you’re … being tracked by law enforcement yet to proceeded to break into a federal building and commit a crime anyway.

Meanwhile, returning to the “unwanted photos of their genitals” angle, ampmb_Easton quips:

 If your insurrection lasts for more than four hours, seek legal help.

And Finally:

But seriously, this is serious

Hat tip: Gareth Branwyn

Previously in And Finally

You have been reading SB Blogwatch by Richi Jennings. Richi curates the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites … so you don’t have to. Hate mail may be directed to @RiCHi or [email protected]. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE. 30.

Image sauce: Parler, via Archive Team

Richi Jennings

Richi Jennings is a foolish independent industry analyst, editor, and content strategist. A former developer and marketer, he’s also written or edited for Computerworld, Microsoft, Cisco, Micro Focus, HashiCorp, Ferris Research, Osterman Research, Orthogonal Thinking, Native Trust, Elgan Media, Petri, Cyren, Agari, Webroot, HP, HPE, NetApp on Forbes and Bizarrely, his ridiculous work has even won awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors, ABM/Jesse H. Neal, and B2B Magazine.

richi has 581 posts and counting.See all posts by richi