October 19, 2017

NYC police don't even have a backup of its asset foreiture file

Hit & Run - New York Police Department admitted in court yesterday that it has no backup of the database that tracks the millions of dollars' worth of property it seizes each year through arrests and civil asset forfeiture.

Bronx Defenders, a legal aid group, had filed a suit to access public records on the NYPD's forfeiture program. In the course of the trial, Courthouse News reports, the city said it had no feasible way of querying its asset forfeiture database and no backup of the database:
[Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Arlene] Bluth appeared gobsmacked Tuesday to hear about the precarious position of data in the police department's PETS database, short for Property and Evidence Tracking System.

"Do you want the Daily News to be reporting that you have no copy of the data?" Bluth asked Giovanatti.

"That deserves an exposé in the New York Times," the judge added later.

As Courthouse News notes, the police paid a contractor $25 million to build the database.The NYPD's asset forfeiture program rakes in millions in seized cash and property from arrests every year. Bronx Defenders filed the suit after the department stonewalled the group's 2014 public records request for information from the property tracking database. In its response to the suit, the NYPD claims that it can't access such bulk data, but a technical expert for Bronx Defenders said in an affidavit Tuesday that such searches would be possible through direct queries of the database.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes, it would definitely be retrievable, and trivially easily ...unless the origin isn't in the database, of course. But that would never happen, would it.