Witness Protection a Scam?

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posted on Jan, 8 2013 @ 06:42 PM
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I watched a movie recently where they are putting someone into Witness Protection and I started to wonder about the effectiveness of it.

A couple things that sprang to mind when watching this movie was two parts of the process that stood out like a sore thumb.
Now before I talk about the 2 components, let me just state that I am aware that it is JUST a movie and that it doesn't go into depths of how REAL witness protection is handled.

HOWEVER;

#1 - Option to keep first name (Logic states it is easier to maintain your cover if you can naturally respond to your life long name)
This in itself doesn't mitigate what witness protection tries to accomplish, but it ties in with #2;
#2 - Issuance of a new drivers license.

This is where it falls down... In a world litigated by acts and statutes, we are strongly recommended to get a drivers license to drive.

Ok, so now this person in witness protection has been given a new drivers license with his original first name and different last name.
In conjunction with recognition systems available today, how is witness protection not rendered useless?
Let me rundown the process;

Assuming that the person that is trying to get the witness has some pull to actually get them.
Then lets assume they have access to the DMV licensing database (which includes photos).
With an image of their target and their first name, they would be able to find the location of the witness quite quickly
However, if the witness decided to change his/her first name as well, the bad guys could still find the witness relatively quickly with facial recognition system.

That's where I think it falls down... You go through all this effort to hide someone, yet they chuck their face straight back into the system?
How does that work?

I am sure they have Marshals with them, but if the Marshals aren't expecting an attack, then their chances of protecting the witness dramatically decreases.

So...
Is the modern day Witness Protection system just a con to make the witness "feel" safer?
edit on 8/1/2013 by Sovaka because: Syntax




posted on Jan, 8 2013 @ 06:56 PM
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Was you watching Fire With Fire by any chance? Remember its just a movie.



posted on Jan, 8 2013 @ 06:58 PM
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Does the DMV use facial recognition software? I would think not, but I do not know for certain. Also, access to DMV records is not something that just anyone can do. I'm sure it can be done, but one would have to run the DMV records through facial recognition software. This is likely not something that would be done at the DMV office, seeing as how there is a lack of privacy, even if they could get in.

I would think that exploiting their system would be a more feasible option, but I do not know if their network even has access to anything other than an intranet. Like I said I am sure it could be done, but to me it just does not sound like an "easy" option by any means. But if someone was determined to find someone, and did not mind violating Federal laws, they could probably succeed. They would probably try to strong-arm or bribe someone who has access to the database they want. But then again, they do not know what state or part of the world these people are living in. They would need to know that first.



posted on Jan, 8 2013 @ 07:02 PM
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reply to post by JiggyPotamus
 


Well that is what I was thinking...
If they bribed someone with access to the system, it wouldn't be a hard process at all.
Limiting by first name, age range, sex and height.
Then run those that are left through facial recognition...

Would be a lot easier than trying to canvas the country.



posted on Jan, 8 2013 @ 07:04 PM
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reply to post by bourbon2nite
 


Yes it was actually... And as I stated in my OP, I am aware it is just a movie.

Having said that, the two points in the process I mentioned, are still valid as that is part of a the legitimate process they would go through to place someone in witness protection.



posted on Jan, 8 2013 @ 07:21 PM
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Most DMV employee's computers log what systems, databases, and transactions they do.

Now, lets say they managed to bribe someone. The DMV employee would have to explain why he or she was accessing all those records.

I know of some DMV employees here that have been canned for pulling up driving records of people outside the scope of their daily job. You are NOT allowed to use the information in the system for something non-work related...and yes, they do and will know what you are up to.

Usually the government will issue you a completley legal new identity on authentic documents and move you far away...It would be like looking for a needle in a haystack. One would have to have inside connections at the Federal level to locate someone in WitSec.

ETA: DMV's know how tempting it is for employees to exploit and use the information to their advantage, this is why transactions/information requests are logged and monitored.

edit on 8-1-2013 by MystikMushroom because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 8 2013 @ 07:36 PM
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Snitches better stay away from casino's. all the "black hand" would have to do is register the snitches face in the casino database. New name,DL, etc... Makes no difference, once the snitch goes into a casino, it's over! & yes casinos share blacklisted faces with other casinos.



posted on Jan, 8 2013 @ 10:12 PM
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reply to post by MystikMushroom
 


Ahh ok, that makes sense....

But then wouldn't it not be wise to target someone far up enough on the chain where such uses can be covered?



posted on Jan, 8 2013 @ 10:13 PM
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Originally posted by thepupils
Snitches better stay away from casino's. all the "black hand" would have to do is register the snitches face in the casino database. New name,DL, etc... Makes no difference, once the snitch goes into a casino, it's over! & yes casinos share blacklisted faces with other casinos.



Was not aware of that little loophole... That's another way right there I guess :S



posted on Jan, 8 2013 @ 10:49 PM
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Originally posted by Sovaka
reply to post by MystikMushroom
 

But then wouldn't it not be wise to target someone far up enough on the chain where such uses can be covered?


I imagine very few DMV employees actually have a level of access to the system where they can edit transaction records. I'd also imagine records under witness protection are flagged and watched. Even if the transaction record was deleted, departments may be notified of the access when it occurs.

The other factor is that in the event of something happening this staff member would automatically be on the short list of people to speak to. If they had relationship to interested parties whatsoever it would make it worse. Oh and I imagine installing facial recognition software on a DMV terminal would involve IT department staff members, too. Which is yet another possible log.

I think Mushroom is mostly right. Might be possible but it would take considerable effort and risk.

Note: not to mention if the person is very important they will be prepped and protected to stop them being near facial recognition systems.
edit on 8-1-2013 by Pinke because: Note:





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