DEA Uses Apple AirTag as a Surveillance Device

The use of Apple’s location-tracking device appears to be the first time a federal law enforcement agency has used an AirTag as a surveillance tool, according to technology industry insiders familiar with the case.

The investigation began in May 2022 when U.S. border security agents intercepted a package from Shanghai, China that they deemed suspicious. One package contained a pill press—a tool for compacting powders into oral tablets—while the other was a shipment of pill dyes. Believing that the package might have been sent to illegal drug manufacturers, the border agents notified the DEA of their discovery, according to a search warrant obtained by Forbes.

After DEA investigators inspected the flagged shipments, they hid an Apple AirTag inside the pill press and then allowed the packages to continue to their intended destination. DEA agents then used location data sent by the Bluetooth-enabled device to track the movements of the pill press to its intended address and after it was delivered.

The DEA did not reveal why it chose to use an Apple AirTag instead of other surveillance technology available to the agency, which has vast federal resources at its disposal to conduct domestic and international illegal narcotics investigations. But in court documents, a federal agent noted that the “precise location information for the [pill press] will allow investigators to obtain evidence about where such individuals store drugs and/or drug proceeds, where they obtain controlled substances, and where else they distribute them,” according to the search warrant obtained by Forbes.

Brady Wilkins, a recently retired detective with the attorney general’s office in Arizona, told Forbes that the DEA may have been testing the AirTag due to previous failures in other types of tracking technology currently available to law enforcement agencies, including GPS devices, which “sometimes worked, sometimes didn’t.”

An AirTag “can be hidden easier and is less likely to be found by suspects,” Wilkins told Forbes. “Suspects are getting better at countersurveillance techniques,” he added, noting that subjects have discovered GPS trackers larger than Apple AirTags used in previous investigations. AirTags also appear to have more reliable connectivity than other tracking devices.

Apple debuted the AirTag in April 2021, marketing the quarter-sized location tracker as a way for consumers to find lost bags, devices or other personal property. The affordable technology, which can be purchased online for less than $30, has resulted in many consumers sharing success stories of found items or the ability to track property including luggage as they travel to their destinations. But the devices have also been used for other, sometimes criminal purposes, including by stalkers who have surreptitiously placed an AirTag with their victim’s personal belongings, enabling the target’s movements to be tracked from afar.

After news of unintended uses of AirTags made news, Apple added measures to help prevent their clandestine use. The tech giant released an update for iPhones that allow them to notify the user if an unknown AirTag is detected on their person. AirTags also sound an alert when they are not in the proximity of their owner for an extended period of time.

The measures taken by Apple to make AirTags difficult to use secretly make them an unlikely surveillance tool for law enforcement agencies eager to remain undetected while conducting investigations. But Jerome Greco, a supervising attorney at the Legal Aid Society, said that if a surveillance or investigative tactic is technologically feasible, “we should always assume that the police are going to take advantage of it.”

“AirTags and competing products continue to raise concern because of the ease of their ability to be abused and the potential significant consequences of those abuses,” Greco told Forbes. “The DEA investigation is another extension of AirTags being used for purposes that were presumably unintended by Apple.”

It is not clear how valuable the AirTag was to the DEA’s investigation. The search warrant allowed the agency to track the package containing the pill press for 45 days throughout the District of Massachusetts, the intended destination of the package, and through any other state in the U.S. Court records show that the recipient of the package was not charged with any crime in federal court. The Department of Justice confirmed to Forbes that the suspect has been charged in state court.

The DEA and Apple did not respond to requests for more information about the investigation.

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Hawaii Cannabis Bill Fails, Ending Legalization Hopes for 2023

Hawaii will have to wait at least another year before marijuana legalization comes to the islands, after a legislative proposal stalled in the state House of Representatives. 

Earlier this month, the Hawaii state Senate voted overwhelmingly to pass the bill, which would legalize adult-use cannabis and establish the regulatory framework for a recreational marijuana market. 

But that bill “was not scheduled for a state House hearing before a key legislative deadline,” according to MJBizDaily, which means that the proposal is likely dead for 2023. 

It is a familiar outcome for marijuana advocates in Hawaii, where Democrats control both chambers of the legislature. The state’s governor, Josh Green, is also a Democrat.

MJBizDaily reported that senior leadership in the state House also “killed off three earlier legalization proposals introduced in that chamber in February when those bills were also not scheduled for hearings.”

Despite its smooth passage in the state Senate, the legalization bill was also bound to encounter obstacles in the state House.

One of the leaders in that chamber, House Speaker Scott Saiki, has “said that he thought it best for the state to wait on approving recreational marijuana use,” according to the outlet Civil Beat, and that he “would rather see a working group analyze the idea over the summer.”

The bill sailed out of a pair of state Senate committees earlier this month, with one of the legislative panels adding a host of amendments to the measure.

According to local news station KHON2, those amendments included: “1. Language was added to establish civil penalties for unlicensed cannabis growth and distribution activities; 2. Language was added that protects employers who seek to prohibit cannabis use amongst their employees; 3. Prohibition of advertising within 1,000 feet of any youth-centered area; 4. Proposed licensing of cultivation, manufacturing, testing and retail facilities that ensure a properly regulated industry while also preventing future consolidation and monopoly control of cannabis dispensaries.”

The bill was approved by the full state Senate by a vote of 22-3.

Green, who was elected as governor last year, has expressed his support for marijuana legalization.

“I think that people already have moved past that culturally as a concern,” Green said during a gubernatorial debate last year. “But here’s what I would do. First of all, if marijuana is legalized, it should be very carefully monitored, and only done like cigarettes, or I’ve been very careful to regulate tobacco over the years. We should take the $30 to $40 million of taxes we would get from that and invest in the development and recreation of our mental healthcare system for the good of all.”

As the bill made its way through the state Senate this month, an adviser for the governor made it clear that the measure would likely receive his signature.

“Governor Green supports legalized use of cannabis by adults, providing that any legislation that emerges protects public safety and consumers, and assures product safety with testing and tracking. The Governor also seeks to ensure the continued viability of our medical cannabis industry. Because these are complicated issues, he has encouraged his departments to state their concerns, and to make suggestions if there are ways to mitigate them. If a bill passes the legislature that accounts for his primary concerns, he has indicated he will likely sign it,” the adviser said at the time.

There is also public backing for legalization to couple with the political support. A poll released earlier this year found that 52% of Hawaiians are in favor of legalization adult-use marijuana, while only 31% are opposed. 

The post Hawaii Cannabis Bill Fails, Ending Legalization Hopes for 2023 appeared first on High Times.

Fury ‘Rage Quit’ Album Review

The brand new effort ‘Rage Quit’ (Leathal Wreckords) from long time East-Coast Wicked Underground emcee Fury is another satisfying “hip-hop you can relate to” audio approach that will indeed cause a variety of independent rap fans wanting to bump ‘Rage Quit’ on full blast until the sun rises. As the first time listener is listening to ‘Rage Quit’ over and over again, not realizing that their place is now being surrounded by the local police, thanks to an abundant amount of noise complaints. Due to the LP’s infectious “Give No Fucks” replay value that will unconsciously control your mind to crank up the decibels as loud as possible, right before your home theater system explodes! So you better be cautious during your first ‘Rage Quit’ audio experience. Because this is that ill music flavor that is best served with a side of hidden criminal mischief audio sickness that may leave you bound in handcuffs.

The ‘Rage Quit’ LP, also marks a significant return for the Bristol, Connecticut emcee. For anyone who has followed Fury since his modest beginnings amongst the underground hip hop scene since 2005, this album is a clear demonstration of his growth and development as an artist. He has shown remarkable progress with every single album release, and this is no different. The flows presented on ‘Rage Quit’ are arguably some of Fury’s best yet – it’s smooth and melodic while still maintaining that raw energy we’ve come to expect from him. His lyrics are sharper than ever too; they’re full of emotion as he takes us through some difficult memories through the deeply personal tracks “Trapped” and “Now I’m Gone”. As the track “Just Get High” is a laid back stress release/free your mind weed smoke anthem that rivals a good chunk of the chill songs from the mid 2000’s era of the Kottonmouth Kings.

Simply put. Fury has a unique and distinctive voice. His ability to tell stories through his music and use of language is nothing short of extraordinary. However, there is something even more special about Fury’s voice; its distinctness stems from the harsh crime gutters of Bristol, Connecticut. This type of living environment during Fury’s youth doesn’t dampen his spirit or hinder the power and emotion contained within each word that he delivers. If anything, it intensifies it. It adds an extra layer to each line and helps him stand out from other artists in the industry. Fury’s music speaks for itself and reminds us all why the Wicked Underground scene continues to listen – not only does he have exceptionally creative flow but also a story behind it that everyone can relate to on a personal level. With standout guest features from the likes of D-12, Q-Strange, Shaggy 2 Dope, and King Gordy. And the “brick to the face” raps Fury grandly displays on record, ‘Rage Quit” has the potential to be among the top 10 underground rap releases of 2023. Nuff said!

Stream/Support ‘Rage Quit’ here:

from Faygoluvers

Faster. Stronger. Smoother. Longer. The Science of Formula-X

The pursuit of the perfect high is not something cannabinoid technicians take lightly. Once you get in amongst the molecules, the majesty of their long-chain carbon structures is all you think about. That’s been the forensic focus of Frozen Fields’ scientific lead Andrew Barton for the last few years. Barton’s work with live resin extraction in his lab in Oregon means he now holds a pending patent for a cannabinoid delivery system called Formula-X, and it is making waves in both the wellness and recreational cannabis categories.

“Formula-X is an enhanced delivery system created through a proprietary processing technique where we can condense cannabinoids with components of terpenes in cannabis,” says Barton, “ulti­mately delivering a faster onset with longer-lasting effects.” 

Formula-X is a new, highly bioavailable form of Delta-8 THC developed by the team at Frozen Fields, led by Barton. Frozen Fields’ Formula-X is more easily absorbed by the body and provides an almost instantaneous effect. This proprietary process makes Formula-X experiences vivid and more euphoric than anything previously seen in the alternative cannabis category. These condensed cannabinoids have special solubility qualities and improved transportation in the body, helping the other cannabinoids or molecules in Frozen Fields’ product have a greater impact via this enhanced delivery system, carrying them quicker and delivering them to the receptors faster. 

Courtesy Frozen Fields

Formula-X is blended in unique formulations to give consumers the desired Indica, Sativa, or Hybrid effect. 

Sativa: “This is our fast-acting and uplifting blend,’ says Barton. ‘Our patent-pending blend delivers a profound sense of energy – a friendly blast of get up and go – before you settle back into a richly rewarding experience. This is the Sativa effect, but with the unique fuller, faster, feel-good factor of Formula-X. Formula-X along with other condensed cannabinoids, are Patent Pending and will be used exclusively in Frozen Fields products.” 

Indica: “Our Indica blend has a euphoric onset followed by complete relaxation. You get the feel-good factor as you experience exhilaration before settling into the sublime state you would expect from a true Indica.” 

Hybrid: “Finally, this one’s a remix of our Indica and Sativa. A true Hybrid with the fast-acting and uplifting effects of our Sativa blend and the relaxation and euphoric nature of our lndica blend, creating a well-rounded experience for someone looking for a go-to product for all-day use. I’m proud of our three blends,” says Barton with a smile on his face like that of a proud parent. 

The difference between Formula-X and traditional cannabis extracts is the size and nature of the nanoparticles, which have an easier time getting where they need to go and are better able to exert their effects. Formula-X nanoparticles travel dissolved in terpenes, naturally occurring chemical compounds in plants responsible for the aromas, flavors, and colors associated with various vegetation types.

Courtesy Frozen Fields

Formula-X nanoparticles take more force to move than the terpenes they are dissolved in. This means that water repels them at a different rate than the terpenes, making it easy for the body to separate them individually. Their tiny (nanoscale) size means they are easily suspended in water, allowing the body to transport them immediately in large quantities. Their tiny size also means they quickly “settle” on their targets, enhancing their effects.

If that feels like a lot of science, we asked Andrew Barton if he has an everyday, real-world analogy:

“When the body absorbs materials that don’t dissolve in water, it uses a variety of bio-molecules to break the materials into smaller and smaller pieces. Once the pieces are small enough, they can be suspended in water and transported throughout the body. You can think of this process as being like rocks in a river. The current doesn’t move the biggest rocks; the water moves around them. As the rocks get smaller, they move increasingly with the current. Small rocks get pushed around where the current is fastest, shaping the bottom of the stream. Gravel moves farther, filling in the empty spaces between small rocks. Like in the body, the smaller the particles are, the farther they travel, and the better they fill small spaces when they settle.”

Smaller particles moving further get into more places, causing an enhanced effect. That’s the Formula-X Feel Good Factor. 

Courtesy Frozen Fields

All of this cutting-edge science begins on the 45 parallel in Oregon near the banks of the Deschutes River. The 45th parallel is known to have the best terroir for growing cannabis. Frozen Fields’ hemp is grown near beautiful Bend, Oregon, halfway between the North Pole and the Equator. Oregon State University Global Hemp Innovation Center has confirmed this location to be an ideal climate for growing this amazing plant. This is partly thanks to its rich volcanic soil, which ensures dense, trichome-full flower that is virtually indistinguishable from high-end medical cannabis varieties.

“Our development team has mixed these new cannabinoid molecules in different quantities to mimic an Indica, Sativa, or Hybrid effect with the enhanced bioavailability of Formula-X,” says Frozen Fields CRO Koby Licciardo. “We’re utilizing cutting-edge advancements in the hemp-derived category to craft an experience mimicking traditional cannabis. The key difference is Formula-X means you have a virtually instantaneous effect followed by a longer, stronger, smoother journey. All of this begins with a quality live resin extract flash frozen at precisely the right moment.”

Frozen Fields’ flowers are frozen within two hours of harvest. The sudden flash freeze at the peak of their ripeness immediately halts any further maturation. It maintains the robust terpenes and cannabinoids in a whole way that also increases the entourage effect of the resin.

Courtesy Frozen Fields

Proprietary technology in the form of closed-loop light hydrocarbon extraction is used. The final product is concentrated and fresh. The plants remain frozen until the Frozen Fields lab is ready to process them. The unique hydrocarbon extraction technology leaves zero residuals.

“During extraction, the chambers reach an industry-leading negative 110 degrees Fahrenheit, gently releasing the trichomes from the flower. There is no way to replicate the smell, taste, and effect of our Live Resin. You either freeze it at harvest, or it is lost forever. This method additionally eliminates the need for further filtration or winterization. Whole flower LIVE RESIN™ is the highest quality and most potent cannabinoid and terpene concentrate on the market today,” says Licciardo.

Frozen Fields lives and thrives at the crossroads of technology and creativity. They have crafted a unique flash-frozen product to create a high that is the perfect combination of faster, stronger, smoother, and longer lasting – with blends that deliver euphoria, color, and stimulation in the mixes customers want. Working with some of the world’s leading geneticists, they push the boundaries of organic chemistry to innovate the industry with patent-pending products. Frozen Fields Formula-X products can be bought directly through their online store or look out for them wherever you get your vapes, liquids and gummies. 

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Fury’s ‘Rage’ Quit’ LP is Here to Bump on Full Blast!

Get some more authentic underground hip-hop flavor for your mind! Because Fury’s ‘Rage Quit’  (now released via “Leathal Wreckords”) is here to bump on full blast! Fans can support the ‘Rage Quit’ LP through this authentic Fury link here:

You can bump ‘Rage Quit’ digitally through YouTube Music here:

from Faygoluvers