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POLICE BRUTALITY, CONFISCATING GUNS AND CORRUPTION

September 15, 2022

S03 - E01

For the inaugural episode of Season 3, RSnake sits down with Frank Artes. Frank is a former police officer, and a cyber security expert, and they dive right into several hot button controversies, including police morale post George Floyd, gun confiscation, police brutality, police standards post Uvalde, and police corruption. Frank and RSnake also spend time talking about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, balkanization of technology, the Ukrainian cyber army, cyber letters of marque, and how modern tech can be leveraged to correlate and decloak special operations. ERRATA: RSnake joked about hand grenades in Sweden – which, it turns out is no longer legal, so don’t get your hopes up!

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Frank Artes

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT

Robert Hansen

For the inaugural episode of Season 3, I sit down with Frank Artes. Frank is a former police officer and a cyber-security expert. We dive right into several hot-button controversies, including police morale post-George Floyd, gun confiscation, police brutality, police standards post-Uvalde, and police corruption.


I was pleasantly surprised how much I learned from Frank during this section. It was definitely worth the time. We also joked about hand grenades in Sweden, which after the show we found out it’s no longer legal, so don't get your hopes up.

We also spent time talking about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, balkanization of technology, Ukrainian cyber army, cyber letters of marque, and how modern tech can be leveraged to correlate and decode special operations. With that, let's jump into my talk with Frank Artes.


Hello, and welcome to the RSnake Show. Today I have with me, Frank Artes. How are you, sir?


Frank Artes

I'm doing well. How are you?


Robert Hansen

Good. Frank and I are old friends. I tried to do the math, I think it's like 13 plus, maybe, years?


Frank Artes

Yes, it’s a ridiculous amount of time.


Robert Hansen

Yes, I was trying to figure it out the other day and it will become relevant to this podcast the very first time we met, but I'll get to that in a minute. I was just pleasantly surprised, I guess I already knew this, but it's sort of back-of-my brain that you've been yelled at by James Cameron.


Chris Debiec in the next room, he's been yelled at many times. I've only been yelled at once that I remember.


Frank Artes

I may be the only one that has a t-shirt that says, “Jim Cameron yelled at me and I still work here.”


Robert Hansen

Chris, how many times were you fired by James Cameron?

Chris


I was fired four times in five years.


Robert Hansen

Okay, great. I was just laid off once but I think that's a claim to fame.


Frank Artes

My first encounter with him was 30 minutes of him yelling until I finally figured out who he was on the phone. I was called into a conference call.


Robert Hansen

You didn’t know who he was.


Frank Artes

I knew who he was, but I didn’t know that was him.


Robert Hansen

You just thought that some random guy was yelling at you?


Frank Artes

I was picking up clues the whole way. I was driving back into the office and I saw that it was my boss calling me. So I answered the phone. And he didn't say a thing and suddenly I was bridged into an ongoing conference call. And there's this guy yelling.


Robert Hansen

Some guy.


Frank Artes

I had no intro, I had no, hey, heads up. It was just this ongoing conference call and there's this man on the phone and he's definitely passionate about what he's talking about. As I'm driving in LA traffic, trying to get back into the office in Hollywood.


Robert Hansen

With probably spotty cell reception.


Frank Artes

Very spotty cell reception and I'm driving a manual and there's traffic and I'm trying to figure out, why am I on this call? So I'm being very quiet and then I'm like, is this a mistake? Did he accidentally bridge me into a call?


Then literally, as I'm reaching the studio lot to park my car, and so forth, the penny is starting to drop on who this is. And the particular film that we were working on at the time was kind of the big clue.


As the passion expanded on what he was talking about, I started to pick up what the topic was, which was the movie Avatar.


Robert Hansen

Oh, I haven't heard of that. What's that about?

Frank Artes

Big blue alien movie. The codename for that movie was the Pandora Project. During the phone call, enough clues had been dropped that I picked up over the last 10 or 15 minutes of the first portion of the call what the general topic was now at least.


This is like the weirdest situation ever. The passionate individual on the phone call kept referring to it as his film. So at first I was like, is this Fox? Is this an executive from Fox that’s on?


Then I started to pick up probably right after I had answered a question that was rhetorical. Yes, shortly after that, in his retort I suddenly had the epiphany of exactly who was on the phone call.


I remember getting to the lot and I went up into my boss's office and I turned off my cell phone as I walked into his office. He was casually sitting behind his desk with his desk phone on mute, and also on speaker.


I walk in and I look at him and he looks up at me and I look over and I see the red light is blinking to let me know that it's on mute. I was like, “Am I fired?” And he was like, I don’t know if I can say what he told me.


Robert Hansen

Go ahead.


Frank Artes

He had a very London accent. He looks at me and goes, “Frank, why don't we just chalk this one up. You don't know what you're fucking doing, yes?”


Robert Hansen

It’s a fast way to learn.


Frank Artes

It was a fast way to learn. Word got around very quickly and I had a meeting like an hour or two later over with the General Counsel of the company at the time. And the Assistant General Counsel waved for me to come into her office, and we're pretty good friends.


I'm like, "Hey,” she goes, “Hey, I heard you get yelled at by Cameron and on the phone today.” And I was like, “Yes, I didn't even know who it was for the longest time. And then when I realized who it was, I just shut up.”


She goes, “Hold on a second.” She opens up the big desk drawer, the big one that's on the right side of most old fashioned desks, and she rifled through there for a second. She pulls out this white t-shirt that has a giant black script on it.


It says, “Jim Cameron yelled at me and I still work here.” I was like, “Do you just keep those in your drawer.” And she goes, “No, they gave it two me last week. He yelled at me last week.” She goes, “You can have this one.” That was my introduction to Mr. Cameron.


Robert Hansen

That’s funny. You and I first met through a mutual friend. You probably don't remember this, but it was a random party I was having at my house. Just a small amount of people showing up. I was fairly new to town.


He's like, “I'm going to come over. I'm going to bring a friend.” I'm like, “No problem.” So he comes over and you show up. I've never met you, knew nothing about you. I'm like “Hi, I'm Frank.” “I'm Robert," whatever.


About half an hour into you being in my house, you said something about arresting somebody or pulling somebody over or something. And I'm like, I think I said it politely, “Excuse me, sir. Are you a police officer?”


You said yes. I'm looking over at our mutual friend. I'm just going to jack him like, what the hell, man?


Frank Artes

Party foul.


Robert Hansen

Yes, super party foul. But it's not like I was doing drugs but he doesn't know that. Still to this day, I want to smack him around for that one. But it was actually really fun meeting you.


Years later, we got a chance to work with one another. But I first knew you not as a security person, which now is how I think about you, but I first knew you as a police officer. So I’d like to take it in that order, if you're okay,


Frank Artes

Absolutely.


Robert Hansen

Start talking about the police aspect of it. I literally just found out today that you are no longer a police officer.


Frank Artes

That is correct.


Robert Hansen

It was as of yesterday or the day before?


Frank Artes

Like a week ago.


Robert Hansen

All right. So this is very new thing. Are you willing to say what happened that made you choose to...?


Frank Artes

I think at this point in my career, my focus is different than it was before. The department that I was working with has gone under a lot of changes, shall we say. The people that I enjoyed working with for 18 years, mostly are now retired.


So it was one of those do I want to really take part in the new department and so forth? Or do I want to go look for something else?


Robert Hansen

Got you. Now, I don't know if you knew anything about this, but there was this big incident with George Floyd, which happened a couple of years ago.


Frank Artes

Yes.


Robert Hansen

It was kind of an enormous deal.


Frank Artes

I don’t mean to laugh at it, I'm laughing at your paraphrasing.


Robert Hansen

I think it's worth asking you the question, what was the morale like in the police department on an average day before all that happened? And then afterwards and then up till today, what do you feel like has changed?


Frank Artes

There's always the tug of war, the difference in perception between people that work in law enforcement and then people that observe them. And it's probably very akin to my perception of the quarterback on my favorite football team and his perception while he was in the middle of the field about to get crushed by men who weigh twice as much as me.


It's always that juxtaposition that happens between individuals. And that's fine, that will always remain. But for the most part, morale with police officers is usually pretty good from the standpoint of, by and large, almost all of them are there, literally as cocky as it sounds, there to help other people, and this is the career that they wanted to do because of that.


Yes, there are always those officers or people there that they're just the same as there are in any other career field that are there because of the power trip or because of the status or whatever and that’s where their head is.


Which is not where their head should be, because it should be a position that you're in because of your heart. I remember the comments back and forth and text messages and so forth with other police officers that I knew when that incident hit, and you're watching the same thing on TV that everybody else is watching.


It was one of those where you've watched other things. You've watched another arrest or where somebody looks like something was happening or it was the position or the footage was started somewhere after.


Robert Hansen

In the middle.


Frank Artes

Yes, exactly. So you're looking at it, and you're going, well, how did they get to this point? And in that particular one, there isn't a need to ask how we got to this point


What was happening, every single police officer I knew it was looking at it and going like that German Shepherd face where the German Shepherd just looks at you for the treat and is like, huh? It was like, what is going on here?


That was interesting change. But then the change in society, the protests that took place, the open hostility and so forth, calls for defunding the police but with no definition of what that meant. People like to argue on what it means and that's great, that's your opinion.


But nobody ever actually came forward with, here the 45 points of what I mean when I say defund the police. Just take out the English definition of the words defund and police put together in a sentence. That really changed.


So you saw mass resignations. And unfortunately, we're seeing mass resignations from the people you wanted to keep in the police department.


Robert Hansen

You thought the higher quality ones were the more likely to leave?


Frank Artes

Yes, the ones that were trying to do great work for society were now looking at it and going, “Oh, wait a minute, society just doesn't appreciate us. Why am I doing this?” Because at the end of the day, when you look at skill sets that a lot of these individuals have, especially somebody like me. I worked backwards.


I was doing information security and high tech and then went to do police work because I noticed nobody with my skill set was staying. And the society needed somebody that can do computer forensics and understand high tech crime and so forth. You train people up, and they leave and they go make $150,000-$200,000 somewhere else.


Those officers were looking at it at that point and going, well, I've been doing this because of my heart and because of wanting to do something for society and help society. Now the future is unclear and this is amazing how we're being attacked.


I'm not saying they're right or they're wrong, it's just that was their view, just like the people who were protesting had their view. I feel we lost a lot of very good quality officers. I know quite a few that I know, personally, that I really wish were still police officers,


Robert Hansen

What do you think they would say if they were here about the rationale for leaving? Because they're there to help people and people still need to be helped. So what is it about that climate specifically that's so toxic, that makes it not possible?


Frank Artes

I think it was the fact that they were going out on calls, and they were now being verbally assaulted, or people were purposely putting themselves in the way preventing them from doing their job, without detail.


You're trying to arrest somebody, and suddenly, everybody else is trying to jump in between you and tell you that you can't do it. There are cellphone cameras in your face from all directions.


You're there because somebody called 911, and said that they were in fear for their life, or somebody was trying to hurt them, or somebody harmed them by stealing from them or something like that. You can't do the task that you're at. Suddenly, you're trying to explain everything that you're doing, when all you're trying to do is apprehend the individual that was causing a problem.


Or you're just trying to show up, especially in Texas, because we're more peace officers than we are law enforcement officers, and you're trying to show up and just restore the peace. And you can't do that when you showed up, and all of a sudden, people are escalating.


Robert Hansen

That’s interesting. I've never heard that before. What is the delta between those two things?


Frank Artes

In Texas, it's very interesting. If you look at our occupations code, you'll see that, by and large, there's only two times that I need to arrest somebody. Everything else is actually to the discretion of the peace officer.


The peace officer’s job is to restore the peace. If it wasn't for civil suits and so forth, you'd probably see more officers acting what we might call old school. I'll give you an example.


Robert Hansen

Like fistfights, let them duke it out kind of thing?


Frank Artes

Mutual combat is a whole other thing. It's actually allowed in Texas. I'm talking more about things like, I know you're two blocks from your house and I pull you over and you're intoxicated.


Old school might have been, we're leaving the car on the side of the road, giving you a lift the rest of the way to your house. And if I see that that car moved, then I'm going to arrest you. Versus, I'm going to arrest you, because if I don't, people are going to get sideways.


And oh, by the way, you're now going to go through all living hell, lose your license, probably lose your job. You're going to be paying $1,000 a year to keep your driver's license. All these other problems are now going to pop up in your life. Versus the police officer being able to use discretion and figure out what is the best way to solve for this problem.


Robert Hansen

Deescalate the danger.


Frank Artes

Deescalate the danger to the public and restore the peace. In Texas, assault family violence, the obvious aggressor has to go to jail. Period. It's written in the code. The only other time a peace officer has to arrest somebody is if a magistrate points or tells them, "Arrest Robert."


I have to. If I don't, I get arrested. That's it, everything else is actually up to the discretion of the peace officer in the state of Texas.


Robert Hansen

Interesting. How common is that across the different states?


Frank Artes

It’s common from state to state. But Texas has some installations to help it where you can't litigate very often against a peace officer if they were doing their job. Whereas if you look at a state like California, for example, where you can sue the police department because of anything.


Then their reaction is to put in more policies and procedures and dictate how the officer has to operate. Half of their lawsuits, and that's just a hyperbole, are based upon were they trained correctly?


Did I need extra training to say I had to take Steve to jail because he was drunk in public? Or could I have given Steve a lift home, and put there that Steve fell and hurt himself after he went to the house? Yes.


Did Steve get to sue me because after he was at his home, and I left him alone, he fell and hurt himself arguing that I should have taken him to the hospital?


These are the things that change how, unfortunately, police have to start interacting with society. And in Texas, we have a lot of protections which help us so that we can maintain on the side of “No, and I just brought Steve home.”


That might change if you're downtown in a city and you're causing a scene and so forth versus you're at a country bar, or you're in a small town bar, and they're just like, “Alright, we're going to give you a lift home. I don't have to actually arrest you.”


Robert Hansen

Very interesting. I was not aware of that. I want to ask just a fun question, because I kind of already think I know your answer. What does the police think of the TSA? Is it killing you?


Frank Artes

It kills me.


Robert Hansen

Okay, what's you’re feeling about the TSA? How about that?


Frank Artes

I think at one point in time, I made the joke that I've put more TSA agents in jail than the TSA has caught terrorists.


Robert Hansen

How did that come about?


Frank Artes

Several of those are very long stories. Usually, for sticky fingers, I don't know if it's still ongoing because I don't look into it anymore, but at least at one period in time, they had a lot of problems with it. Searching through bags and things go missing and that kind of thing.


But when you look at the job that they're given, it's like where's the problem? Is the problem really them? Is it who we're hiring? Or is it because the job that we're hiring for isn't our image of what we think the TSA should be doing?


At the end of the day, they are security guards who inspect, looking for weapons and contraband going onto the aircraft but not contraband as in you have a kilo of cocaine in your bag. We’ve had instances where they've stretched that a little bit, and so forth.


But really they're not law enforcement, so they're not arresting people, they don't have those powers. Because of that the threshold and hiring them is where you would expect security guards to be at versus law enforcement or federal agents or so forth.


The professionalism isn't really there. So where you end up with, there's nothing that I can say that is wrong with that. They're doing the best job that they can. And I try my best when I'm both from the Information Security hacker mentality and the law enforcement mentality.


When I go through an airport, I do my best to keep my mouth shut and just watch the security theater and get through it myself and not make comments to them like, “Is that really how they taught you to frisk somebody?”


Robert Hansen

You really got to grab it.


Frank Artes

If you take any longer, he'll stab you and your partner 10 times like, I've never seen somebody frisk somebody that slow. Could you please make it more awkward? Like, it's just, no.


Robert Hansen

I remember, the very first time it went through airport security after 911. So everything was beefed up, everything was much more crazy than normal. And they were starting to do the pat downs on everybody.


Everyone was getting the pat down. And some woman took me aside and she starts looking at my nether regions and she's like, “What do you got in there?” I'm like, “If you have to ask me that. This is probably not the job for you.”


Frank Artes

Hate to tell you. I can probably share this one, this was shortly after 911. This was at the stage after 911 where they were doing the random checks as you were trying to get onto the concourse to get onto the aircraft.


So they would randomly pull people out of line and then go through your stuff again. And they find like your fingernail clippers and hold them up like they just found a bazooka in your bag kind of thing.


I was on a flight, where several of us were flying, we're all armed. I was the only non-federal agent in the group. All knew each other, we were all traveling for the same reason. We all had our paperwork in our hands and so forth to board we'd cleared all the other checkpoints and so forth.


We're going to get on the airplane and a young TSA agent comes up and tries to point to this gentleman in front of me who worked for a federal agency, I won't say which one, and instructs him that he needs to have him take off his jacket and search him.


This is where like, the world went into this weird slow motion mode, where I could see him holding up his hand and like motioning to the guy, like Jedi mind trick, he was like, “No, these, these four men are not the people you will be searching.”


The ticketing agent at the counter, just before you get onto the concourse knows who we are because she's checked our paperwork. And she unfortunately is in the middle of having somebody explain something to her.


She's trying not to be rude, but also trying to fix this before it becomes a really bad situation and they have to cancel the flight or rejigger how we're going, where we're going. And she finally just leaves the person speaking to her like mid-sentence.


It's like slow motion and she's like, coming towards the TSA agents. She was like “No.” And the kid keeps trying to grab at this particular agent. I don't know where in the process, the agent had unclipped his tiny little federal agent badge from his belt.


It was in the palm of his hand and he nearly palm struck the TSA agent. So that TSA agent basically saw his badge this close to his face. It was something in his face and he was like, “No.”


The agent, looked at it and like blinked for a couple of seconds was like, “Oh, very good.” tried to play it off. And so the kid was really flustered. And I he was a kid, it was like very, very young adult, I should say.


I remember the agent looking at him and going, “Not me, and not the next three guys behind me.” I was immediately next to him, so I could hear everything that was going on. And we just kind of chuckled and continued onto the airplane.


But it's moments like that where you look at things and you're like, well was that a lack of training of that young man? Was at a lack of protocol and procedures? We've told everybody in their goat coming up here, the pilots know, the Flight Attendants know, the person at the counter knows.


Nobody clued in, at that time, nobody had clued in the TSA agent. My friend was a little bit flustered, he was a little bit annoyed by it. And I was like, who do you blame? Is it really worth being upset about? How you're going to fix it.


Robert Hansen

One of the things I wanted to talk to you about is, there's a pretty enormous amount of people who believe that you should try to disarm the population. If I'm trying to look at the people who would actually go about doing that, we have whatever it is, called 1000 ATF agents, let's say.


They're never going to be able to get enough flights around the country to get three to 400 million firearms away from people. So the only other option is local police.


What do you feel like your brothers and arms would feel if they were given the order to go and extract the firearms from every single one of their neighbors effectively? How would that actually play out do you think?


Frank Artes

I think the majority are very quickly going to… it's very interesting. So I think a lot of people misunderstand the concept of the thin blue line. That they would switch the side of the line that they were standing on. They’d still be protecting society, but now they'd be facing the other direction.


It's an unconstitutional request. At the same rate, it's also an unrealistic request. So I trained once with an amazing man named Paul Howe. And if you've ever read or watched a Black Hawk Down, he was the Delta Force operator that's credited with the fact that we know the story of what happened.


He does a lot of tactical training here in Central Texas, primarily for law enforcement and so forth. He was asked a very similar question years ago, I think Obama was going into office at the time. So of course, there were there were fears that something like this would come up.


The way that he answered it, I thought was very interesting. And that is whether you use local law enforcement, or you somehow got around Posse Comitatus, and you tried to get the military to do it.


At the end of the day, we should say, those people in law enforcement, those people in the military, those people that you would be asking to do this are quite literally living in your communities. The rest of you know where they live, you know where their families are.


This is not a winning situation. This is why the Revolutionary War didn't do very well. You're not going to see people disarming people when they're worried about their families.


You’re not going to see people disarming people when the majority of your law enforcement officers, especially in states, like Texas, and so forth are actually very pro. Any amendment right, I'd say pro second, but the reality is, you'll find by and large, most of them are all about civil rights. And this is a civil right.


Robert Hansen

Constitutionalization. All of the amendments, not just a bunch of them. And that's where they swore their oath to.


Frank Artes

That is why they swore that oath, that oath is to uphold the Constitution, not uphold somebody saying go violate somebody's civil rights.


Robert Hansen

So what happens if Biden let's say, has a constitutional amendment and says, “No more Second Amendment?” it’s now legal.


Frank Artes

If we literally played that out, the only way that that would have happened was actually for the majority of the states, our representatives, and by and large majority of the population to vote that way. How long did it take us to get Hawaii to become a state?


How long do you think that's going to take to go through? It's not going to be a one generation kind of thing.


Robert Hansen

But let's say it happens.


Frank Artes

Let's say it happens, then that's the law of the land. If we made a constitutional amendment that changed the Constitution, I think we all then have to agree we have to abide by it.


Robert Hansen

Think so. You think it would work? The police would suddenly switch sides?


Frank Artes

Again, I don't know. I think this is one of those hot topics that even if you change the constitutional amendment, if I was playing devil's advocate, to do I have to put my head into a world where that would have passed which means the majority of people are now thinking and wanting to completely differently.


I think people are just handing them in at that point kind of Australia style. If it happened today, like somehow, in a bizarro way the vote went through and the Russians didn't hack the voting machines. And this came out then I could see it being a big problem.


Robert Hansen

If this podcast happened a week ago, I would have totally agreed with everything you just said. However, I am now more educated in this topic than it was a week ago.


Frank Artes

Educate me.


Robert Hansen

So there was a ban happened in April 2019 for bump stocks, if you remember.


Frank Artes

Yes.


Robert Hansen

582 Bump stocks were handed to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. 582 out of 520,000. So maybe some people just throw it in the trash.


Frank Artes

They fall off of boats. I hear a lot.


Robert Hansen

A lot of boats, boat accidents. But that is a compliance rate of around fraction of 1%. Yes, about a 10th of a percent.


Frank Artes

Math is fun.


Robert Hansen

Yes. So another 98 were secured as evidence as well. So to be fair, it's closer to closer to 600.


Frank Artes

I'm so glad we're getting that much closer to...


Robert Hansen

So we're nowhere near even 1% implements. So New Jersey, also had a ban on large magazines, I think over 10 rounds, I believe.


Frank Artes

Okay, standard capacity magazines is not good for them.


Robert Hansen

So the New Jersey State Police spokesman said that despite the 18 month jail time, and $10,000, fine. They didn't get a single magazine turned in.


Frank Artes

They drove back to their driveways, they were all broken.


Robert Hansen

Now. I can see maybe some people sold them. Maybe they demolish them in their garage or whatever, made them inoperable. Maybe they modified them to be 10 rounds.


Frank Artes

I don’t question what they did.


Robert Hansen

I'm just saying now we have two data points. If one of them were there, I'd say okay, well, that's an interesting data point. We have two data points where the general public had to comply with some demand, and the compliance rate was substantially less than 1%.


Frank Artes

Closer to zero. Literally, mathematically speaking closer to zero than it was to one.


Robert Hansen

Yes. If you round it is literally zero. I just don't think we're ever going to get people handing their guns over like Australia did.


Frank Artes

I have a lot of friends in Australia that have a lot of guns. I don't think they got the turn in that's been advertised. I'm sure it's good. I have friends in Australia today that buy guns on a regular basis, legally.


They have similar restrictions to them that we see where we see highly regulated controls on parents, I don't know, this one can't have a box magazine, even though it's designed to have a box magazine. So it's mechanically engineered box magazine is in a box magazine.


Most things are bolt action. But they're same calibers and so forth. So it wasn't like they banned them completely. I'm not saying we should ever do anything similar, just pointing it out.


Even if you got to the point that an amendment like that passed. Let's say it passed 51 to 49%. There's still a lot, there's 400 million of us. That’s a rounding up, there's a lot of people.


Robert Hansen

Since there's not that many people in United States. So there's also some strange misunderstanding about gun. There's many misunderstandings about guns. And I can't tell if it's totally intentionally, poorly misunderstood, partially, or this person's just doesn't know what they're talking about.


Which it could have been, depending on the person, it could be one or more of those things depend on the situation. Or they might know something about one thing, but not about another thing.


One example of that was bump stocks, versus forced reset, versus binary. They all do the exact same thing effectively, they all make you shoot, spray and pray, you can shoot a lot of rounds downrange


Frank Artes

You can shoot faster, I think is the best way to describe it,


Robert Hansen

You’re probably not going to shoot well, but you're going to shoot fast. So why one of those things? Why choose bump stocks and not the other two or many other variants that could do something similar?


Frank Artes

The best answer I can give you because to me, it also doesn't make sense. If I look at it logically, I look at it with my engineering brain. You're shooting faster period. Why pick bump stocks? Well, Las Vegas. So we had an incident, wide publication. But we demonize the thing.


Robert Hansen

But he could have easily used one of those others.


Frank Artes

He could have done any number of things. It's a weird thing. I'll see people demonize a particular model of rifle. And you go, “Okay, well, that's interesting. Why?” “Well, because it's, it's the most used.” “Well, no, it's not, but keep answering me why?”


“Oh, because…” then they have nothing. It's just the villainization of the object. I hate acquainting gun homicides to driving but I try and make a parallel between cars and firearms for people who don't understand firearms.


You look at them and you go, okay, the Ford F 150 is the number one most sold vehicle in the United States, mathematically speaking. It therefore is involved in the most burglaries of motor vehicles, the most thefts of motor vehicles, and the most accidents of motor vehicles.


By extrapolation, the most deaths of people involved in motor accidents. Is it because the f150 is less safe? Is it because people who have it drive poorly? Or is it just because of the fact that it is the most popular and therefore most sold vehicle?


The most popular and most sold type of firearm quite often is outside of pistols when you get into rifles is the AR15 style platform. Why? It's a sporting rifle. We use it for everything. People buy it for self-defense, to hunting, to shooting sports to just to have it right. Villainizing it is a weird thing.


Robert Hansen

Also, it comes in all sorts of configurations, including bolt action.


Frank Artes

Bolt action, it comes in all kinds of configurations. The thing that really gets me as you look at the machines, people want to villainize it, and you go, “why are you saying?” well, it has it has a pistol grip, it has this it has a that hasn't the other thing, these all make it more usable to kill or whatever they want to go with.


I'm like, they make it more ergonomic. Like, we started with sticks with a pole. They're very uncomfortable to hold. And eventually, we learned instead of holding your wrist canted forward like this, if you hold your wrist like this, like every other thing that you hold with your wrist from a coat candy whatever, versus twisting your hand like this, it's easy.


That's why it's designed like that. It's all designed like any other modern design of anything, especially in sporting equipment to make it more ergonomic, to make it easier to use, in some cases.


Robert Hansen

That points to sheer ignorance. Another example that I thought was bad in such an interesting way that I thought it was worth mentioning, Representative David Cicilline, and I apologize to this man, I just cannot pronounce his name, claim that a stabilizing brace turns an AR pistol into an automatic weapon.


Frank Artes

Yes, I saw him.


Robert Hansen

I don't know if his staffers are just completely not understanding what's going on or I don't know if that was a purposeful thing to scare people. I can't tell.


Frank Artes

I can't tell because if you actually understand what that brace is, when somebody asks me how they work, I will often look at them and go, “Have you ever seen somebody using crutches where the single handed crutch straps around their forearm?”


“Yes,” I go, “That's exactly how that works.” I don't know how that turns into anything other than it braced it to my forearm so that it was more stable. Just like the crotch was braced to my forearm.


Robert Hansen

It's literally a stabilizing brace.


Frank Artes

It’s a stabilizing brace. That's literally what it does it. It has no purpose in this world other than the fact that it allowed me to strap the pistol to a portion of my arm therefore more stable than my hand which mechanically speaking is not a very stable platform.


Robert Hansen

So if you had to guess, do you think that these representatives are just not doing their homework or do you think that they're trying to scare the populates?


Frank Artes

I would like in my heart of hearts to believe it is because they're not doing their homework and they're ignorant of the topic and they're just trying to take a position. Sadly, that still means that they are choosing ignorance over knowledge.


I would pray that it's not because they are purposely trying to mislead the masses who are not going to do the research.


Robert Hansen

Got it. So Saskatchewan just had a mass knifing. It was 10 injured, 15 dead last reported that I saw.


Frank Artes

Another one passed away today.


Robert Hansen

Okay, maybe it’s 16, I apologize. In May of 2010 48, in China, were murdered in a single mass stabbing, I think that was actually using a cleaver.


Frank Artes

London Bridge.


Robert Hansen

Yes, I was going to say that. The problem seems to me that this is yes, it is possible to do more damage with a pistol or rifle or whatever, on the average. But that will never stop somebody who is really hell bent on hurting people. And now we see the UK, for instance, is banning knives.


Frank Artes

Banning ever smaller knives, they've been working on it for years.


Robert Hansen

They're trying to ban any sort of pointiness on a knife. They had a whole big thing with professional chefs who's came out and said, “You never need the point on a knife. It is not actually useful for being a chef.”


No serious, this actually happened. I don't really think that people are thinking this one through. Yes, like Sweden has grenades, they're going to start banning grenades in Sweden, or? That's just a joke.


Frank Artes

Looks like I'm moving to Sweden. Literally I have no use for a grenade.


Robert Hansen

Yet until you have one and you're like, “Wait, this is so practical.”


Frank Artes

I don't want to have a grenade.


Robert Hansen

No, but I really think that there's this mass misunderstanding of how human… there is no utopia on the other end of this, you can't ban your way to a utopia.


Frank Artes

Well, you can't because you keep trying to ban the tool. And I think what most people do is they mistake the fact that we can categorize knife gun bat, so forth under the category of weapon. But in reality, the weapon wasn't the tool they use, the weapon was the human being.


We're apex predators. We are the apex of apex predators. And we're apex predators, because we have opposable thumbs and brains and we can turn everything including this mug that says, the RSnake Show into a weapon and kill somebody with it.


Robert Hansen

I designed it to do that by the way.


Frank Artes

We can force multiply our lethality through tools. But at the end of the day, we are the weapon. Psychology and history shows us no matter what we do in society, which let's just face it, society is a set of rules that we all mentally agree to abide by.


There will always be the divergent. We have names for all the different types of divergences, and we have also people that just snap. So we have everything from just people who don't follow rules to that's it, I've had it.


Then you have just people that are, again, still apex predators and just bad people and they're going to hurt others. Does it help us to disarm the rest of society from tools? Or should we be looking at society and how we handle society, how we indoctrinate people into our society, how we do things so that they don't do these things.


Or do we really look at the psychology of this and go mathematically speaking, there will always be some percentage of us that are going to hurt others


Robert Hansen

There was some crazy stat I saw that was multi 100,000 crimes stopped per year using guns. Now, I'm not exactly sure if that's that included police officers or not.


Frank Artes

It does.


Robert Hansen

But either way in your experience of you know out on calls or whatever, how often has the bad guy been stopped by some just citizen who just said a stop doing what you're doing with a gun?


Frank Artes

Oh, a lot. Family Violence, they know each other. Regular robberies, muggings, carjackings, all kinds of things where we get there and the suspect may have fled or the suspect may have been subdued by the individuals one way or another.


But yes, good people came out on top because they were armed. It's the same reason I carried a gun. It was there. I needed it as a tool. I definitely have a number of times where I used it to stop someone.


Not like a Hollywood TV show or like, every other week, I was like under investigation for why I discharged it, I can say I've never discharged one on duty. But the threat of using one, the fact that it was there, saved lives, many times, sometimes my own, many times somebody else's.


That was the moment when somebody decided to stop beating the woman that was nearly unconscious in front of them.


Robert Hansen

I would be remiss if I didn't ask, what's the current thinking amongst the police community about Uvalde and what happened there? Is that sort of like “If I were there, I would have been it would have been different,” or that was a failure of some policy?


Frank Artes

Again, it's a moment, like we discussed earlier, where it is hard for anybody who's trained to do that, anybody who is doing that job, for the reason of helping other people to even contemplate why you would be standing in a hallway, why you wouldn't move.


I can tell you, the department I was with forever, much like many departments, ironically, in Texas, after a prior shooting in a school, changed their policies on when to make entry for an active shooter situation. So the old policies where you waited until you had a substantial force, and then you went in.


That changed to the first officer on scene goes in. You don't you don't wait. And in Texas, by and large, unless you're in a really big city, officers travel a single, alone. So you don't have a partner in your car, your partner is in another patrol car, probably on another part of the city.


You go in, and you train so that you can acknowledge and show them I've gone down this hallway or I'm down this one. So when they catch up to you, hopefully there's not a problem. Because it's a high stress situation.


Robert Hansen

So they come in five minutes late.


Frank Artes

Come in five minutes late, they catch up to you, or they continue down a different hallway, or everybody's trying to God forbid, home in on the sound of gunshots or people screaming or whatever.


Because you're also there to help people you're not just there to flush out and go hunting, if you will, for the bad guy. But I would have been perfectly okay, if you saw that situation and an officer went into a room or a bunch of people were hiding and put himself between the door and them to say, I'm going to safeguard this location.


The other officers can handle everything else. That I would have been, yes, absolutely. I think we saw the reality of it, where we saw an off duty Border Patrol agent, like getting his hair cut and gets a text message from his wife, who's this teacher at the school.


If I'm reciting the story correctly, the barber literally lent him the shotgun from the barbershop. And he showed up and went in and they told him he couldn't. He was like, “fuck you, then stop me. Shoot me.”


He wound up ending the whole situation. By and large, I will say the officers that that I've worked with, the ones that I've trained with, that is what should have happened. That is why you take up that job. A firefighter doesn't take up firefighting because they're going to watch a building get to a point where it's safe to put the fire out.


Robert Hansen

I hate to phrase it like this but these are very useful and instructive examples of there are ways that we learn. I think this is a very useful thing for police, not just here, but everywhere. You can't just hang out.


Not just the loss of lives, but the reputational damage that did to the police force on top of it. That wasn't great I don't think. You think that's just a matter of bad policy? The policy has now been fixed?


Frank Artes

At that point, I'm just an armchair quarterback.


Robert Hansen

Was that a city ordinance?


Frank Artes

Well, it's a city police department. So they have their own policies and procedures just like any other department was.


Robert Hansen

So it's not a statewide “Here's how to handle the situation.”


Frank Artes

No. I can say, by and large, I wouldn't even call it a guideline, every department that I know of that I've worked with has followed more than the mentality of again, if you're the first officer on scene, you go in. Period. And you do what you're supposed to be doing.


Does that mean you thoughtlessly throw your life away? No. Please be tactical and strategic about what you're doing. You show up, and you hear the gunfire. And you can tell it's more than one weapon. Well, maybe it's not so smart to go in by yourself.


Maybe you do hold back or you secure a certain section. But you're not going to go any further until another person shows up. Because you're like, “There's at least two shooters. I'm already outgunned. If I fall and nobody else is here, they take the rest of the school.” That's just tactics and strategies.


Robert Hansen

Also, it's a three-dimensional problem too, above you or below you or wherever.


Frank Artes

Yeah. These schools, by and large, are not just one hallway with four classrooms off of it. They are sprawling everywhere. I did, again, a training with Paul. I was taking an advanced hostage rescue class that he was teaching.


Ironically, this was during the Virginia Tech shooting. It happened, I think, literally on one of the mornings of one of our classes. We were practicing on an old school that was going to be demolished in this particular town that we had gotten permission to use, which was good, because we were practicing breaching techniques and making doorways that didn't exist and stuff like that to get in faster.


Robert Hansen

Going through walls, yeah?


Frank Artes

Going through walls literally. I have to say, even that simple of a school with its intersecting hallways and stuff, you don't think about what that's like until you're practicing clearing a place like that. And there're actors that, in our case, were doing everything from having firearms and hostages to improvised explosives.


He was throwing all the bells and whistles at us by the end of this particular course. You're shooting simunitions, so it hurts in what you're doing. And you suddenly realize how many weird intersecting hallways there are and how many people you have to tie up to look down all the different lanes that fire could come in so that your team can go search the next room.


Then you go into the room, and then it's a school. So suddenly, that room has four rooms, three giant closets. It’s just like, “We did not bring enough people.” But you learn to clear, and you learn to do that with short-handedness.


When you look at a lot of these Texas towns and so forth and quote unquote cities that aren't like Houston and Dallas and so forth, then you're like, “Oh, there's 20 police officers. There's 30 police officers, and there's X thousands of people that live here.”


Robert Hansen

Sure. Got you. I wanted to change a little bit about police corruption. It's a fun topic. As a standard boring, old citizen who's traveling around the copious places I've been in my life, one thing I see often is police officers driving absolutely insane. They're clearly not going anywhere specific. They're just weaving through traffic.


Frank Artes

I won’t agree on the insane, but I understand the image.


Robert Hansen

Very rarely do they have lights blaring or a siren going, and they're not pulling anybody over. They're clearly not going anywhere specific because they change lanes randomly.


Frank Artes

I guess that's the perception.


Robert Hansen

Well, it happens often, I would say, in my experience. Occasionally, you'll see them flip on their lights as if they're going somewhere. But very often, they're just not.


Frank Artes

They don't turn on their lights or something.


Robert Hansen

They're slowing up, and they're going fast and slowing up. They never turn on their lights. Yeah, they are driving insane.


Frank Artes

I love that's your perception. That’s great because I've been that person. There's an actual method to that madness.


Robert Hansen

Okay, I would love to hear it. But I've seen changing lanes, for instance, without using their signals and all the things that we are all told as citizens-


Frank Artes

You have to do, which you should be doing.


Robert Hansen

We should be doing it purely from a safety perspective.


Frank Artes

I'm that guy that literally signals in the parking lot that I'm about to park. My friends make so much fun of me when they drive with me because I'm always using the turn signal.


Robert Hansen

These, although very minor, are examples that could be perceived as corruption. You're arresting people.


Frank Artes

You wrote that guy a ticket for the thing I saw you do five minutes later.


Robert Hansen

Exactly. To me, it seemed like there could be some technical controls. Anytime you're going over a certain speed limit or whatever, just automatically have some sergeant somewhere go, “Hey, why were you speeding in this zone? This is a school zone. You probably shouldn't be going 80.”


Frank Artes

I like the fact that you don't think that technology exists.


Robert Hansen

What I don't see is a lot of investigations being opened about someone's driving behavior. Maybe it happens. I just don't ever see it.


Frank Artes

I guess we could start way at the top. And in the transportation code, at least for Texas, I can't speak for other states. Because I haven't really studied them. The state’s big enough, I only needed this one.


Specifically, marked police units are actually exempt from the entire transportation code. You can drive them backwards, if you want to. You can park them anywhere you want. You don't have to have the lights on.


If we started there, number one, they're not breaking a law. As a definition, in fact, it doesn't apply to this. The understanding and the reason that that law exists or that exemption exists in the law is because of the reality of operating an emergency vehicle. And until you've driven one or driven in one with somebody that's trying to go to a call-


Robert Hansen

Let’s do one right now. Let's go do it.


Frank Artes

Give it a little while. If I take another commission, I'll have you come for a ride. When you turn on the party lights or the go-fast lights or whatever joke somebody gives them as a nickname, the emergency lights on top of your vehicle, even as a civilian, if you're in traffic, watch what happens with the other drivers when that happens.


Don't focus on the police officer. That's what everybody focuses on. You always focus on the police car, “What the hell, why is he just weaving in between everybody?” Focus on the other drivers for a minute.


We all know what we're supposed to do. We're all supposed to pull to the right and stop in both directions, creating a huge lane that the emergency vehicles can go through. That is the intent of that. We want them to get to where they're going because they're probably going to help someone.


Especially an ambulance, they probably have somebody in there. It’s time critical where they're going. Get out of their way. Unfortunately, when you turn those lights on, everybody does something differently. People will stop in front of you, look in their mirror, and then point like, “Go around.” It happens all the time.


They don't know what to do. They're starting to do this. Okay, then you're like, “I'll go around you.” Nope, then they move this way. Then you're doing that. It's actually easier to move through traffic when you have to get somewhere in a hurry when traffic is somewhat heavy, not turning them on.


As soon as you do, the randomness of what everybody does when they finally notice them is absolutely that. You love when you see the people that pull to the right and stop. I'm even happy if you just stop in the lane, at least you are no longer a moving variable. I can get around that. I can figure that out. I'm not saying anybody should ever do that.


I've had people do that. And you’re like, “No.” That's why so many police officers die of heart attacks. It's this kind of stuff and stress. But that's one of the main reasons if you ask a police officer, “Why did you just weave through traffic?” It's documented. I've caused accidents by turning my lights on because somebody's like, “Oh.” and right into the car next to me.


Thank you for pulling to the right and stopping, but check if there's a car there already. That's not permission for you to just yank your wheel to the right and go straight over the top of the lady in a Prius. That's not going to work very well.


Robert Hansen

Unless you're in a Hummer.


Frank Artes

Well, yeah. Then I just drive over Priuses.


Robert Hansen

So the joke there is he owns a Hummer?


Frank Artes

Yes. The driving gets more intense when you turn it on. It's useful when you're coming to intersections. That's why you see them flick it on, and they hit their sirens. All of a sudden, you’re hearing a beatbox with all the different sounds that hopefully people pay attention over their headphones and stereos and things they're not supposed to be doing when they drive, talking on the phone.


You'll even see them turn them off after they leave the intersection, and they keep weaving through traffic up ahead. Well, they haven't stopped going to the call. They're just trying not to create chaos in all the randomness of what people do because unfortunately, they can't remember to just pull to the right and stop.


If you listen to the audio recordings in a lot of the police cars because as soon as you get the lights on, all the microphones, everything gets recorded inside the vehicle. All the cameras, the one that faces the back in case you had a prisoner, the front ones, all the cameras are getting recorded.


In my department that I worked for, the cars are recorded 24/7. And a lot of departments run that way too, especially with digital. When you pull up at the police department, it just starts uploading it over the Wi-Fi. But if you listen to those videos, you'll hear them on the inside.


Robert Hansen

“That means pull to the right and stop.”


Frank Artes

“Pull to the right and stop. Why is this hard? Why are you trying to kill me? I’m just trying to go help an old lady. She fell, and she's hurt. Get out of my way.” The reality is everybody says like, well, “Why is it so important to get to the crime?”


It's not like a Hollywood movie. You're not showing up, and there's always somebody who’s holding up the liquor store. That's almost never. He held up the liquor store and left. It’s usually that.


One of the realities I guess people don't realize about law enforcement is, almost without question, they are the first of the first responders even to medical 911 issues.


Robert Hansen

That’s why you carry Narcan.


Frank Artes

That’s why we carry Narcan. That's why most police officers or a lot of police officers in Texas are actually EMTs. We actually show up with everything from defibrillators to, well, not defibrillators, a lot of medical equipment with us.


Robert Hansen

Really, not defibrillators?


Frank Artes

Not a defibrillator.


Robert Hansen

The other one that was-


Frank Artes

But that's not called a defibrillator, for the life of me. I cannot remember the acronym right now. Even though I'm certified to use it, I swear. It's not really hard. You push a button, and it starts telling you in English what to do next.


Robert Hansen

By the way, Chris, if I die of a heart attack, do not give him that machine.


Frank Artes

It just walks you through. But police officers would be the first ones to get there. Number one, because they're already out patrolling. And the paramedics and the firefighters are at a station, so they have to go from a fixed point to you.


The police are all over, and the closest one to you already physically moving is the one getting dispatched to you. And also, as we see, again, society getting pretty dark more and more often, in especially bigger cities, we're seeing that if an officer isn't on scene, a lot of times paramedics and EMS won't go in.


We're talking about places where the firefighters and the paramedics get mugged and shot. They steal the drugs and stuff out of the ambulance while they're inside taking care of a patient and so forth. And you're like, “Well, thanks. I hope that I don't have to go to another call. And I hope that person coming out of the building didn't need anything inside of that vehicle.”


More and more often, you're expecting them to be at places like that, too. But by and large, if you see them driving erratically, it's that or it could just be that there's a bumblebee inside their car.


Robert Hansen

What I noticed randomly is these police officers during COVID, partly I'm sure due to George Floyd, stopped pulling people over for speeding. Just stopped.


Frank Artes

Was it because of George Floyd? Are you talking about specifically in this area?


Robert Hansen

Yes.


Frank Artes

That was due to the Travis County sheriff. Yeah, they didn't want people being brought into jail. And they didn't want a lot of interactions with the police and the public over things like that. So it's twofold.


Number one, they didn't want to keep populating the jail because of COVID. They had no controls. And this was early on. Boogeyman, we didn’t catch it by blinking at somebody.


Then also, they didn't want close interaction unless it was super necessary. Because they didn't want the officers coming down with COVID. We didn't have vaccines and so forth at the time. So the orders were unless you absolutely have to.


Robert Hansen

Interesting. I call that selective prosecution. If it's not illegal, then why is it illegal sometimes? You know what I mean?


Frank Artes

Do you remember I don't have to arrest you?


Robert Hansen

I know you don't.


Frank Artes

Pulling you over is arresting you.


Robert Hansen

It is. A number of my friends did get pulled over. But they got the you-get-to-drive-yourself-home treatment. By the way, any other police officers who are listening, I also would have liked to drive home that night.


I think these are the kind of things people see and have massive question marks, how are some people just batting their eyes and getting away with whatever and other people aren't? And that is a very hard question to answer. I think you've done a great job of doing it.


Frank Artes

Was it Chris Rock? There was a comedian that asked a police friend of his how not to get a ticket. He was like, “If you can make me laugh, I probably won't write you a ticket.” And that's an actual reality because I think what a lot of people keep forgetting is that it's another human being.


Robert Hansen

Of course.


Frank Artes

If you interact with them, as you would another human being that you're hoping to get along with, that is going to go a lot further. On both sides of that, that's human nature. You can say, “Oh, the police officers should be more professional.”


Yeah, but there's a certain point where professionalism and humanity intersect.


Robert Hansen

Story of my profession.


Frank Artes

Yeah. If I walk up and you're like, “Oh, man. I'm so sorry.” Make some joke or something. I've walked up to cars, it's happened more than once, and they're playing, quite loudly, a theme song to Cops. So I'm walking, and I'm hearing Bad Boys is playing. They're all singing and they go like, “Aaah!”


Robert Hansen

Did it work?


Frank Artes

Oh, it works. You laugh because you also recognize that's another human being. So both sides. The police officer whose adrenaline's pumping, all the other stuff, “I had to chase you this and this.” Then, “Hopefully, I didn't chase you too far.” remembers you're a human. You remember that they're human. You interact as people just trying to do good things.


Robert Hansen

There's a certain amount of humanity just in driving like, “Oh, sorry. I Lightfooted in four minutes.”


Frank Artes

“Sorry, I was looking down at my phone. And I moved into your lane.” That never happens. Trust me, if I've ever done something similar, you will see me looking at a person like, “I’m so sorry. So sorry, I’m an idiot. She must have a ticket right now.”


By and large, it comes down to the interaction that takes place.


Robert Hansen

In New York City, there were 22 or 24 officers that were brought up in disciplinary action. I think it was a number much larger than that, like 60-70 people total that were involved in a series of misdemeanors or whatever. Effectively, the police department wanted to fire them for whatever reason. And they got brought before a council, the adverse action panel. It was all but three, I think, who were turned away. So out of the original 60-70 people, only three they were allowed to actually terminate.


Frank Artes

Okay. Oh, I thought it was the other way. That's okay.


Robert Hansen

No.


Frank Artes

They were able to get rid of three out of 60.


Robert Hansen

Under 10% by law. It's those types of stories, and it's that type of interaction that I was just describing earlier that now there could be all kinds of really good reasons why that ended up happening.


I'm not actually trying to admonish police officers when I'm doing this. But I think there is a public perception problem that individually you can talk to any police officer and look them in the eye, and they're trying to do the right thing. They really are.


There might be a little bit of corruption, just like there is corruption, period, in any profession. But also, maybe not. And maybe it's much higher. Wouldn't it be terrifying if the people who were supposed to be serving and protecting are the actual criminals that we're all worried about?


Frank Artes

Yeah, I think part of that is also the very needed perception that if these are the people that are supposed to be upholding our laws. I think altruistically you want to look at they should be irreproachable.


Robert Hansen

They should be, ideally.


Frank Artes

They should be, ideally.


Robert Hansen

Like a Ken doll, no personality. Almost a robot.


Frank Artes

We don't want that person as a police officer. We want the human being as a police officer. We want the person who can make decisions, the person that can sit there in an investigation or just a general conversation after a speeding ticket to a kid who stole candy from a store or something.


I'm using, purposely, a benign thing like that. Use their humanity and understand the difference between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. Would it be better for me today to take that kid in and have his parents show up at the police department and he’s probably going to get spanked and beat up when he gets home because of the embarrassment?


Or can I take that moment in time to talk to him, “I'm going to give the shop owner the $3 for the candy.” The kid learns a lesson, and he also gets to learn that police officers are human beings and so on and so forth. And that was the better move for society. I think there is where you see certain things. I don't know what they were under investigation for.


Robert Hansen

Yeah, it's irrelevant for this conversation. But yeah, I think my major concern is we need the public to have trust in police officers. Because if they don't, you get these crazy things like defunding the police, which I think is patently crazy. I think that's a very dangerous design.


There is possibly a better police force out there, and we could talk about that. But if you're talking about wholesale just dumping them on the floor and going with social workers, I don't think that's going to work.


Biden had an executive order to increase the scrutiny on police officers coming out of George Floyd and other incidents. One of the things was better accountability in a universal database that all the different police officers can look into or see or whatever when they’re recruiting.


If someone goes across state lines or whatever, like, “Oh, what happened that they left this other department?” Well, it turns out all these things happen. Then maybe you should not hire this person because there's some misbehavior or whatever.


A use of force data collection, which of course, I think everyone's always curious about. How many police officers are involved in deadly shootings or use of tasers or lethal chokeholds?


Frank Artes

The one that baffles me because I have to fill out so many forms, if I so much as slap somebody, and they're all federal forms and state forms. I'm like, “Well, where's all that data going?” Every department has to do it. I just don't understand what the deal is.


Robert Hansen

Up till now, probably in a federal locker somewhere I never used. But now it's supposed to go to a centralized database.


Frank Artes

A little known fact, if I have to shoot a deer or I got hit by a car on the side of the road, I have to fill out all the same use of force that I would had I used force on a human being. Files are the same way. With the exception of if I shot the deer, I have to file one extra form. I have to file a form with Texas Parks and Wildlife that says I killed a deer.


Robert Hansen

Right. One of the things though that was in there that sounded to me a little bit insane was the banning of chokeholds and carotid restraints. They said, “The heads of Federal LEAs shall, as soon as practicable but no later than 90 days from the date of this order, ensure that the respective agencies issue policies with requirements that are equivalent to or exceed the requirements of the policy issued by DOJ in 2021, which generally prohibits the use of chokehold and carotid restraints, except for the use of deadly force as authorized by law. The head of every Federal LEA, law enforcement agency, shall incorporate training consistent with this action.”


Why might it be a bad idea that you can't choke somebody out?


Frank Artes

A lot of reasons. It's dangerous. Anybody that practices martial arts will tell you that it's also dangerous even in martial arts when it is allowed. It's restricted to people over certain certification levels or belts. Brown belt and above, usually, and so forth. But there are a lot of factors to it.


I could break off plaque in your arteries, in your neck, and it goes into your brain and causes an aneurysm. I inadvertently caused your death. Now, you would have died anyway from it. But today, I caused the plaque to break off. I could not notice that you've already passed out and gone too far.


Robert Hansen

Crush your larynx.


Frank Artes

Crush your larynx, and there's other aspects to it. You can teach people to do it just like you do in any other martial art, if you made it something you taught. Is it a tool that is usable in the tool chest? Absolutely, it is. Should there be very rare restrictions on when you can do it? Probably.


I agree with part of the phrasing of that, when they say lethal force would have been allowed. I might extend it to other non-lethal implements had been deployed, and it still has not stopped the subject.


If somebody's on enough drugs and so forth, you can hit him with all kinds of things, and it's not doing it. But you cut off blood to the brain, and they're going sleepy. And that's going to keep you from the other aspects where you see them hitting them repeatedly. That causes a lot of harm as well.


Robert Hansen

Yeah, of course. The part I liked was that someone had to feel like their life was in danger. But just because your life isn't in danger doesn't mean someone else's life isn't in danger.


Frank Artes

I read it a little bit differently. Use of force and use of lethal force is allowed for not just when I feel my life is in danger, your life may be in danger. And the only way I can save you, as the innocent party, is to use lethal force against the other person. So I would read it more like I can still use it to help save somebody else, not just myself.


Robert Hansen

If somebody is on some serious drugs and erratic and has shown some propensity to throw things or hit walls or whatever, where it's not really clear who's in danger or not, it's in this fringe, they might just be damaging their own hand. Everyone else is safe because they think they're aliens, and they wouldn't dare punch aliens or whatever crazy thing


Frank Artes

I’d bet on that call.


Robert Hansen

Yeah, exactly. At the same time, you need to remove this person from general public. Clearly, they're not stable. At least until they sober up.


Frank Artes

I want to stop them from hurting themselves more and potentially cops maiming themselves.


Robert Hansen

Exactly. That seems like a place where use of force actually makes a ton of sense. Because they're not going to just willingly walk over to your police car and get in. They probably think you're an alien. You know what I mean? Or whatever crazy things going on in their head.


You're going to have to do something to coax them in there. If it's not something just as simple as, “Hey, let's go talk over here. Let's get in the car.” If you can't deescalate it-


Frank Artes

Those things are actually really well-connected. Individuals who are on methamphetamine quite often are hallucinating, and they are in a complete hallucinogenic state.


I've had everything from the aliens are monitoring them to, “Who are you guys?” and don't recognize that you're in police uniforms and nothing. We don't look like we look like to them. They don't know what they're doing to themselves.


Some voice in their head told them it was a great idea, they needed to start cutting off their fingers so that they couldn't get caught by the whatevers. We have an expression that when you go on calls like that, most of the people that you meet, you're meeting them on the worst day of their life.


Whether that's because of the level of intoxication that they're at or somebody they loved is dead or anything in between those two things. So yeah, there's that compassion. And then yes, there is the need.


Sometimes I want to help this person. I'm not judging them. I'm hoping the worst day of their life is the worst time that they've ever had doing something like this. And that if we can save their life and get them help, then hopefully they're never doing it again.


Robert Hansen

So what's the alternative? We have non-chokehold restraints; arm bars, leg bars, etc. We have tasers, we have batons. You have your fists, you can actually punch and kick or whatever.


Frank Artes

All of these things can have the same side effects.


Robert Hansen

Exactly. That's what seems a little strange to me. In fact, some of them are quite a bit more likely to cause damage than others. If you have to pull out your baton and start going to town on somebody with a baton, that's going to be a lot worse than just choking them out. Statistically speaking.


Frank Artes

Statistically speaking. Weirdly enough, people take the baton more seriously than other weapons. I remember like 10 years ago, in my law enforcement career, I pulled over what wasn't a drunk driver. I pulled them over for suspicion of the fact that they were drunk.


Robert Hansen

Driving on the side of the sidewalk.


Frank Artes

They were driving half on a sidewalk at the time, ironically enough.


Robert Hansen

You were just profiling everybody.


Frank Artes

They were weaving between all four lanes in both directions. They were going like two miles an hour, for the most of it. They finally pulled over, and they don’t quite pull over where I ever want them to. They pulled into the parking space in their apartment complexes. Consequently, that’s what they did.


It was such a tight area I couldn't really get the police car where I wanted it. I got out, and a police officer’s worst situation is you can't see the person's hands. I don't know where this guy got his pants made, but his pockets were so deep. To me, it was like his arms were in there all the way to his elbows, inside of his pockets.


I keep ordering him to stop and show me his hands. It's a South American individual based off of what he physically looked like. So when he wasn't responding in English, I switched to giving him commands in Spanish. He kept coming towards me. And he slowly kept taking his hands out of his pockets but not out of his pockets.


He had reached a distance to me where I now felt I should already have my pistol out because he's now closing too close. So I drew my pistol and kept ordering him to stop and show me his hands. He takes another step or two towards me, and I'm still keeping my calm. But you're starting to think through everything that's going to happen.


Finally, he jerks his hands out of his pockets. All the training helped me. His hands were now empty, and they were up. But he kept coming towards me. I realized at that moment I had two problems. Number one, he's closing distance.


I can't actually back up because of this weird situation of how he parked and so forth. I would have tripped over my own car because I'd already retreated a little bit. I knew I had to switch to something else on the force continuum. It was also quite windy, so I knew I wasn't going to use pepper spray because then everybody gets it.


My partner was still minutes away. I could hear him in the radio, and I could hear the siren far away. I don't even know how I did it to this day. It is like Ninja moves. I holstered my pistol and in almost the same continuing motion drew my ASP baton, the big, metal baton that police officers carry. It expands as you swing it up.


He stopped, and his eyes got the size of saucers. Then he just fell straight down to the ground and stuck his hands out at the sides with his palms up. And I was like, The hell?” I walked over and handcuffed him at this point because I was still by myself.


I was like, “Okay, well, I can at least make sure none of us are getting hurt because he has been very non-compliant. I also don't want to just leave him laying on his face on the concrete, so let me put some handcuffs on him.”


I stood him up and frisked him to make sure there were no weapons. Then I just left him leaning against the car, and my partner finally shows up. My Spanish, outside of commands and so forth, generally sounds like really loud, slow English. I’m much better with German.


My partner shows up. We're talking to the guy, and he definitely doesn't speak English. Definitely does speak Spanish. I asked my partner to ask him to explain why he wouldn't stop when he saw the gun. But he did stop and fell down to the ground and basically surrendered, for all intents and purposes, when he saw the baton.


He answers my partner, and my partner starts laughing for like a good minute or two. I look at him and I'm like, “What?” He goes, “Well, he said what he knows about American police and what he's seen since he's been in America is that American police aren't corrupt. And they won't shoot you unless you are actually threatening them. But he was sure as hell that you were going to hit him with that big metal stick if he didn't stop coming towards you.”


He was like, “I agree that he should hit me with a metal stick, so I lay down on the ground.” So he actually was continuing to get closer to me because he knew I wouldn't shoot him. He was actually going to try and fight with me. But when he saw the stick come out, the stick as he called it, he knew I would absolutely use that. So there's your force continuum.


Robert Hansen

Wow, that's very scary. One other thing that happened that made quite a bit of news was in Chicago in 2021, there was a safety act that was put out. In large part, it was similar to Biden's where there's just better reporting and better training which maybe is mostly good.


One of the things that got a lot of contention, good or bad, was no cash bails anymore. So effectively, you're just let out or you stay in jail if you're the person who needs to stay in jail for whatever reason that is.


Frank Artes

Okay. I don't know how they determine that. Certain thresholds and charges.


Robert Hansen

Yeah, I think that's how it is set up. I didn't quite read all of that. But what do you think about the idea? There is certainly a cohort of people who are very poor. If they have to pay $50-100 to a bail bondsman, maybe the total bail is small, maybe it's 500 bucks or whatever.


Frank Artes

That would be an extremely small bail.


Robert Hansen

Yeah. Let’s say it's small, but you still have to pay your bill bondsman. There's some amount that's coming out of your checking account, even in the best scenario. That's the difference between them eating and not eating situation.


Obviously, it doesn't make a lot of sense just to put them back on the street if they are real criminals. But if it’s, “Oh, you forgot to show up to court or something.” Do you really want them in jail for that? I don't know. Maybe. Are you going to put them back on the street as soon as you arrest them?


Frank Artes

I'm not going to go down the rabbit hole on that one. That literally is the person I want to see stay in jail because they've already shown that they can’t meet their promise to show, which is the whole thing of letting them out.


Robert Hansen

I know this is a weird scenario. But to me, it points out how obscure and weird this is. You've decided this person needs to go to jail for whatever or show up to court anyway. They have failed to do that. So you have a warrant to go get them. Do you get them and then release them again immediately afterwards?


Frank Artes

No. I hear what you're trying to do, but I don't want to go down attacking that. Because the reality is if a judge issues a habeas, which is that type of warrant, “Bring him before me.” Because you didn't show up before him. I bring you to jail, and you see a judge then and there. So that's a different scenario.


Literally, the one or two times I have to arrest somebody, a judge said, “Go get him.” Or if I encounter you and I run you and the system comes back and it's a habeas warrant for your arrest, I have to arrest you. It's the same thing.


Robert Hansen

Makes sense. What about shoplifting or something like that, where someone has committed some crime?


Frank Artes

They committed the crime. We've gone in. They've been magistrated, if the process is followed. It's your civil right. You get arrested, and you get processed through. In Texas, you're brought to a jail, an actual jail run by the sheriff.


There you are magistrated, if you haven't already been magistrated prior to, which can happen sometimes. You enter a plea, and then a bond is set. You can pay the bond and leave and then come back. Or you can sit out your time until you can go before a judge for the hearing on the crime.


That's where we align. If you're setting the bonds on crimes, any crime, doesn't even matter at that point, where somebody who is impoverished now has to lose their job because they're not going to work. They're in jail.


They're going to not be able to eat, not make their mortgage payment, not make their rent, whatever. Because they have to post real numbers. Let's talk about that. A $10,000 surety bond against them. They have to at least put $1000 of that down. Yes, 10%. So the bondsman will cover the rest if they were able to get a bail bondsman.


Otherwise, they have to puke $10,000 from somewhere. The average person doesn't have $10,000. Let's just not talk about impoverished. Let’s just talk about the average family.


Can the average person sit there and go, “Oh, right. I'm going to take $5,000 out of our bank account and leave it in probate with the court on my promise to come back. I get my money back, and then we have a hearing. But in the meantime, I can go about my regular life.”


That's where I always have had a problem with it. Because in a lot of cases, they are still humans. You're still human, whatever they did. Very rarely did I have somebody in the back of a police car that wasn't remorseful for what they did, whether I believe them or not, or how good the waterworks were with them.


It could vary. But by and large, it's a first-time offender, it's something like that. And it's starting to dawn on them. All those pieces of the puzzle are falling in place for them.


They're realizing, “Shit, I’ve got to be at work tomorrow. I'm not going to be at work tomorrow. They're not going to like the reason I'm not at work tomorrow. I could very well lose my job. Oh, I'm not only not going to be at work tomorrow. I'm not going to be at work for several weeks. I'm going to be living in here eating bologna sandwiches. I have all these other things I'm supposed to be doing. My family depends on me. My spouse depends on me. My children depend on me.”


All those pieces start falling into place. Usually, that's why you're seeing adults start to cry because they're starting to realize the consequences of what they just did. It's not, “I'm going to jail.” It's literally the very short term pieces like this.


It is the whole, “Oh my god, I have to come up with a whole bunch of money. Right, wrong, or indifferent, there's enough probable cause that the arrest was made. So let's hope it wasn't a bad arrest.” Let's just assume that was the case. Because by and large, that is how it works. “What am I going to do?”


Now, if you're super destitute, you can beg the judge. But the judge hears 4,000 cases a single day. What are you going to say that's different than the last five people that were in here crying over the same thing?


At the same rate, the flip side, I think you gave me as well, which was, oh, and then certain crimes of a level above with this proposed change, bond isn't even an option. Now, you just did the exact same thing. But now you made it so they can't go back. Even if they had the $5,000, they can't continue with their life. So what are the consequences of that?


Let's say the person gets found innocent, at the end of all this, for whatever reason. In the meantime, they've lost their job. Their house is being repossessed. All their stuff is out on the curb.


That's why I have an issue with it. Can we do something with bond? So it's somewhere within the realm of what the average person might have in surplus cash, which, let's all be honest, sometimes is zero. What can we do to find a balance in there for society?


Robert Hansen

A percentage of maybe their bank account.


Frank Artes

Something. Clearly, we can do something slightly different. Can we do something that is along the lines of what you just read me? The big problem that I have in that one is, “Oh, congratulations. You've been accused of committing a state jail felony or above. No bond for you.”


What the hell? I've only been accused of crime. I haven't even been found guilty. I haven't even presented any evidence of that. But the actual consequences of the fact that I'm stuck here for weeks and I can't work and so forth are astronomical.


It's the exact same problem with a person even for a minor crime who just doesn't have the money to post bond. You're going to cause them impact as well. So there has to be some way to look at that. I've not learned it enough, and I haven't had enough time to bring up that argument.


Robert Hansen

I'm glad I asked that question. There's this concept of legislating from the bench. I think there's a similar thing. I would love to hear your take on it about legislating from the cop car, where you get to decide, as you said, whether this person goes home or whether they stay in the cop car.


How much do you think that really happens where someone says like, “I just don't like this crime. This isn't my favorite crime. There's some crimes I'm all about, but this one.”


Frank Artes

Again, police officers are people. So you will find certain police officers that have crimes that just trigger them. And I don't mean trigger them in a bad way. But that's the crime. If you did that, I'm taking you to jail.


I think almost universally, anything involving harming a child, they're going to decide to take you to jail. If there's enough probable cause to show that you did it, they're taking you to jail.


You stole a loaf of bread to feed your family, by and large, probably most of them are going to look at you and go, “I'm going to figure out how to do this. I can write you just a ticket for doing that. Summons or a warning or something. I'll work it out.”


Again, the officer may even look at your actual financial situation as you talk to them and go, “I'll make it a warning so you don't have to pay a fine.” So I don't know if that's legislating so much because you're not changing the laws. It’s selectively enforcing.


At least in Texas, that comes back to that whole police officer mentality. We used to have a joke before legislation changed in the state where it used to be any usable amount of marijuana was a Class B misdemeanor. And then it got higher with more weight.


But any use of it, it literally meant any, except stems and seeds were the only things that didn't count. So if I found a little bit left in the end of your one hit pipe, you’re going to jail. Six months in jail. Congratulations.


Police officers 20 years ago, even in the country but definitely in the cities and so forth, would find that and look at you and go, “All right, I'm going to write you a citation for possession of drug paraphernalia.” That's literally the citation, which is like the equivalent of running a stop sign.


“You're going to pay a fine. I'm going to seize the one hit pipe. We're going to destroy it. We're going to check it into evidence. Plus, it will be checked in for destruction not being held for an investigation.” Nobody's keeping your one hit pipe, which is always a weird thing that people point out.


“I'm going to write you a Class C ticket.” Same thing that you would get if you were jaywalking or whatever else. And that was the way police officers handled it for a very long time. It wasn't an amount they were distributing.


It was obviously a personal amount of marijuana.


Most police officers were like, “So you get mellow, and you tell me about how we're all dust inside of a marble. And then you just take a nap. I don't see why that's a problem.” And they wouldn't bust you up for it.


Again, that's a police officer's view on things. I can charge you for what I can prove. I can prove that you had drug paraphernalia. I can play dumb and act like I can't prove it was marijuana inside of it. And I'll write you the citation. So you see a lot of that that always takes place.


Again, that comes back to that humanization. As a citizen, I want police officers to be able to, again, look at what is the spirit of the law versus the letter of the law? Do I consider that to be corruption? Do I consider that whatever, by and large?


Now, when I see a judge legislate from the bench, they're creating laws that don't exist. So that, to me, is completely different. Because that's not how our system is supposed to work.


Robert Hansen

Different but you can see why they're in some ways quite similar. If the judge says this is the law and cops don't enforce it, is it the law?


Frank Artes

Well, yes and no. We all also, as a society, recognize the fact that we have a lot of laws. I don't know if you've seen the books, there's a lot of laws. Thousands and thousands and thousands of pages of laws.


Robert Hansen

How many are there?


Frank Artes

Oh my god, I don't know a number.


Robert Hansen

I would love to find somebody who just actually knows-


Frank Artes

Actually knows that number?


Robert Hansen

“Oh, it’s 5,380.” Or whatever the number is.


Frank Artes

Yeah, some crazy number. I know that the transportation code itself, all the reasons I can pull you over and write you a ticket, cadets aren't given physical books anymore. They get them all as PDFs, which is nice, because they're quickly searchable.


I'm so old that when I did it, we still got books. You had this big bag that you had to carry them with, and it was like a workout because the transportation code itself was bigger than a phone book. Thousands of pages.


I was out with a field training officer when I was first starting. And he was like, “If you can't figure out a reason to pull anyone over in five minutes, you just simply haven't read enough of the laws in the transportation code." Because literally, I could drive behind anybody, pull them over and be like, blah, blah, blah, if I knew it well enough.


Everything is covered in there. From the height of the lights from the ground to the spacing between them, how many of them, what colors should they be? Everything is covered inside. Any one of those things is a reason to pull you over and write you a ticket.


Robert Hansen

It's not the right shade of red.


Frank Artes

It's yellow not red. You see people change the lenses all the time because they're doing it because they like the stylization of the car. Do I pull them over for that? No. Could I? Yes. Am I changing the law by not doing that? No.


But at the same rate, it's probably some 19 year old in the car, some 20 year old in the car, and he thought it looked cool to change the lenses out.


So, they're all smoky black. And now all of them have white bulbs behind them. And as another driver, I'm supposed to figure out is he turning or stopping. You look at criminal law, when I went through the police academy, we were instructed absolutely do not arrest two men for sodomy.


Yes, it's against the law. Do not arrest them for it. At the time, of course the Supreme Court had ruled that was unconstitutional, but Texas hadn't taken it out of the law. There's also other weird laws in the state of Texas. If you own more than a certain number of dildos, that's a crime.


Robert Hansen

I would love to hear the story about you popped into somebody bedroom, "Aha."


Frank Artes

"I have nothing else to arrest you on, but I see there are five of those. You're only allowed to have three."


Robert Hansen

"What are you holding behind your back, ma'am?" So, one of the things that has kind of always worried me about these types of laws in general is one day things are completely legal and the next day they're not.


So, in Colorado, for instance, one day if you pulled someone over and they had a certain amount of drug paraphernalia on them, they go to jail the very next day. For whatever reason, some law got passed and now it's completely okay.


And if we don't allow a certain amount of latitude for the general population to commit crime, it sounds weird, but it's true. Certain amount of crime or visibly protest against laws that are, I'm not going to say bad laws because that implies sort of a moral standing on it.


And I don't really want to do that, but laws that they don't find just or don't agree with or whatever. You're never going to get those laws passed. And not that I think necessarily that that law is good or bad. I'm just saying in general, one day drinking alcohol was bad and the next day it was fine in the United States.


Frank Artes

Literally.


Robert Hansen

Literally. And that's a very dangerous thing to decide that, by fiat, the government gets to decide this thing is bad and you can never do it.


And therefore it is done, and anybody who shall dare have a drink is suddenly needs to go to jail. Obviously there's certain places where I think the government needs to step in and protect people from themselves. If they're literally about to throw themselves off a building would be a good example or about to shoot somebody else or something, by virtue of some drugs they're on or whatever.


And that type of intervention makes a lot of sense.


Frank Artes

Driving the wrong way down a highway.


Robert Hansen

There's a lot of these things. Lots of examples of that. But I'm also very wary of the fact that a lot of these laws are based on some morality and not based on real, actual facts. And that's where I start going, "Ugh.".


Frank Artes

And again, that's where you see a lot of police officers, again, going to the spirit of the law versus the letter of law. And that humanity and that subjectiveness gets to come in for them to make that decision.


Is this a morality thing? During the late 90s and early 2000s was writing somebody a ticket for position of drug paraphernalia when they had marijuana, a morality call because oh my God, they had marijuana. Or is it a realistic thing where that person smoking marijuana was actually a threat to society.


Well, what were they doing? Were they operating a motor vehicle? Yes, I see that as no different than if they were drinking alcohol. Were they, I don't know, sitting in a cul-de-sac playing a guitar and smoking a doobie, all right. Not bothering anybody.


It's not hurting himself at the end of the day. It's not like he was sitting there shooting up methamphetamine or smoking methamphetamine or doing heroin on the end of the thing and leaving needles all over the ground or something like that.


He was smoking a little bud and playing his guitar and not bothering anybody. So, I agree with you right there. And that's one of the reasons I've always liked policing in Texas is just because there is that leeway to look at things.


Robert Hansen

Sounds like more states should do something similar. So, before I round out that whole thing, I know I used the word cops a lot. And I have been told by a someone who's very close to me that that is a semi-offensive term.


And I just realized I probably used it quite a bit during this part of the interview. So, do you find that offensive when someone says cops versus police officer?


Frank Artes

I don't.


Robert Hansen

I certainly wouldn't want to have offended you this whole time.


Frank Artes

I've never even heard it. And there's some people that for whatever reason take offense to it. But I think that's more, more of a modern thing. Because it derives from calling police officers, coppers and cops is the short version.


And they were called coppers because the buttons on their uniform and badge and the badge was all copper. That's just a throwback thing. It's weird.


Robert Hansen

So I'll have to beg forgiveness for the person who would be offended by my use of that. But I'm glad I didn't offend you, so it's good.


Frank Artes

Not at all.


Robert Hansen

So let's change this topic entirely to what you're doing these days.


Frank Artes

Excellent.


Robert Hansen

Which I know is a bit of a departure, but it's you.


Frank Artes

Yeah. I was doing it even in parallel.


Robert Hansen

I know. That's why it's so funny because I knew you, day one hour one is one thing and 20 minutes, 30 minutes later I found out you did this other thing. And so, this is just your life here. So, I don't know if you want to talk about your current job, what you do.


Frank Artes

What I do for a living?


Robert Hansen

Yeah.


Frank Artes

As long as I can remember since leaving high school I've done computer work. So, high tech work and before we really called it, it had a name for it.


I guess there was a hacker. And have done information security and security research my entire life. Computer forensics, big time IP protection and large scale security for very large entertainment companies.


So, before I went into law enforcement which is why I ended up in law enforcement doing law enforcement work, I was working for electronic arts. I was heading up their information security which was their very early fledgling version of what they have today.


Because this is the 90s, early 2000s, twenty something years ago. And in doing that, I've had a fantastic career moving through computer games, motion pictures, pure security research for a while, which is, I think about the time you and I met where I was breaking other people's security toys for a living.


And then, went back into the corporate world and do security for everything from casino gaming to casual games like I was doing at EA.


Robert Hansen

So, before we jump into some of the questions I've got, what do you think is the state of gambling these days? Is it doing well? Is it a fairly secure thing compared to days of old where you could kind of walk over and play a couple magic tricks some chines?


Frank Artes

You mean trying to be crafty. That's actually not the part of security that I deal with, which probably means I'm actually allowed to talk about it a little bit from what I know, because it fascinates me. Just like you asking that question.


I can tell that it fascinates you. The technology and what they do on the gaming floor is amazing. From physical gambling with cards and so forth there's cameras literally everywhere. They have experts that are watching, they have algorithms that now watch and so forth or aid and assist and so forth. That is all just really fascinating to me.


The gaming commissions themselves I think are fantastic. They generally watch out very well for all parties involved in what's happening. And nobody likes cheating because it throws off everything, all aspects.


The casino of course, doesn't like it because of the financial implications to the casino. The gaming commissions don't like it because of course, the implications to the consumer market.


The rest of us don't like it because then the casino's going to get money back somehow or it's going to go out of business and maybe I really like that casino. I don't want to see them go out of business.


So, what we wind up seeing there is just a lot of tech, a lot of experts. I find it really cool when I get to sit down with security heads and security individuals from the large casino gaming groups. And I get to hear all the really cool stories of what their general day is. It's as fascinating as you would think it is.


Robert Hansen

Just for the audience, because they know they're going to wonder, is there the one slot that's the very loose one that I can walk over and win a ton of money or is it much more algorithmically? Is it more even than that?


Frank Artes

What I can share with you is that the use and how systems are set up in casinos are all regulated by the gaming commission of that jurisdiction.


So, the slots, so to speak, won't be different drastically enough to cause you to be like, "Oh my God, that won over there." It's corrupt, there's a problem with it.


The coding standards and the quality control standards are there, and it must conform with the levels that have set. So, it can't be set to just take money like that. That would be illegal.


Robert Hansen

Sure. But could be set to give money. That's everyone's question.


Frank Artes

Also within parameters. So, you can't suddenly attract a bunch of people into your place of business by "setting them" so that they're paying out, I don't know, like 40% of the time or something like that. You also wouldn't stay in business for very long if you did it.


Robert Hansen

There's always a superstitious amongst us who really believe that that's how it's going to work. This one's going to be the winner.


Frank Artes

I do believe I'm allowed to share that. It's an algorithm. So, there's definitely math going on behind it. And those parameters exist, which should tell you that the parameters therefore can be measured.


So, there are times that, it's got to give back. Now it doesn't magically then change the way that it's playing the game, so it suddenly pays out for a while. It's just statistically the way that the algorithm is set up. It will pay out and it will collect.


Robert Hansen

Got you. So you might have noticed there's a war going on in Ukraine and Russia has decided to move in for a variety of reasons. They believe that that's a good idea.


What do you think the security industry should know about that or sort of react to when you have sort of this very kinetic war that affects us in all kinds of strange ways from supply chain management issues?


We'll get to it in a second, but it's new cyber army being created, the Ukrainian cyber army that is actually made up of effectively volunteers from all over the world. How do you think about that?


Frank Artes

I don't think you're asking me what I think about the cyber army, because I'm like, "That sounds cool. Sign me up."


Robert Hansen

We'll get to that in second.


Frank Artes

That was me being joking.


Robert Hansen

I'll get into that in a second. But I'm more curious how enterprises should be thinking about this.


Frank Artes

I think there's several aspects that we should probably be paying attention to here. First and foremost the more we see any state sponsored formalization of cyber armies, means that we are always going to end up with assuming they're training people, not just collecting already trained people that want to volunteer.


We're always going to end up with a spilling out later of more individuals that have been taught to work offensively. Let's just get to the middle of that. And they're not hiring them to configure firewalls to keep people out.


So, we are always, therefore they're going to be facing a future where there's just more and more trained individuals that do offensive security versus defensive security. And many of them can apply that to defensive security.


But we all should be making sure that we're now paying attention to the fact that our futures is looking like those of us that are security practitioners, where our job assurance is getting better for one thing.


The other aspect of that is, we probably, as corporations need to watch what is happening. So, these things do not get contained to for example government A, attacking government B cybernetically on their industrial control service I don't know, their power plant.


Yeah, they do that too, but it's not where it's just staying. Maybe disrupting that country also means disrupting some of their larger corporations. The suppliers and so forth of the munitions parts, pieces, so on and so forth of what they're doing.


So, we've always seen that in the United States as being part of our critical infrastructure.


Robert Hansen

And supply chain.


Frank Artes

And supply chain is part of that critical infrastructure is that umbrella continues to grow and what, what is defined underneath that.


Frank Artes

So, what's very interesting there is, you look at it and you go, "Okay, that's great, but does it spill further than the immediate supply chain?" Do they go after the actual economy?


So, are there companies or corporations or business verticals that supply a large percentage of in revenue generation for country A while Country B is attacking it? Where they could undermine that and that's slowing down cash flow, taxes, tax collection, financial ability as well.


Over and beyond the supply chain of, I don't know, let me make sure they can't make hand grenades.


Robert Hansen

Sweden's out of luck.


Frank Artes

Yeah. Exactly. Sweden and their hand grenades. Can't wait till next time I'm in Sweden. I'm going to walk up and be like, "Can I see your hand grenades? My friend said you have some. That's really weird." It's like one of my European friends visit and they want to see handguns. I'm like, "Here's some handguns."


And they're like, "That's so amazing." Go to Sweden they're like, "Can I see your hand grenades." These are all starting points of what to look at. Other aspects are, if you look at your table top exercises that you're doing and so forth.


How are we going to handle some event that impedes our business? And you look at every tabletop exercise that's done. Currently we all do a lot of them on ransomware. And these same groups, we'll do ransomware.


Robert Hansen

And for those who don't know what that is?


Frank Artes

Oh it's malware that infects a network and systems encrypts them and then pops up on the screen. If you send X millions of dollars or whatever in Bitcoin or whatever they're asking for to a certain location, they'll give you the decryption key and you can decrypt your systems and use them again.


So, it's a little bit worse than deleting everything because your systems are still there. They're just pointless.


Robert Hansen

And the bad guy might have all that data too.


Frank Artes

And the bad guy will exfiltrate the data, because that's the new escalation of it. And they're also using it in a play to I guess, out you and your dirty laundry and your secrets spin, "Pay the ransom. We'll give you the decryption key."


And you're like, "Well, that's nice, but I have a backup, so I'll just restore it." And they're like, By the way, I have all of your email and if you don't pay the ransom, I'm posting that up online." They don't even look at the email.


But of course, you are a human being, so you're all like, "Well, there was like that one woman that I wrote too that isn't actually my spouse and I might have said a thing."


So you're just like, "Fine, I'll pay you." So, it's now more of an extortion than a ransom but it's held as a ransom.


And so, that's the tip of the iceberg. But most corporations focus very heavily on that because it is also the number one type of large scale attack that we're seeing. They'll tabletop exercise, natural disasters. Fire, hurricane, earthquake.


Robert Hansen

Force majeure.


Frank Artes

Force majeure aspects. They're terroristic aspects, right? Something happened even in the city that they're in. Employees can't come into the office, that kind of thing. You rarely see a private corporation role playing and then we get invaded.


Or the office that we have in a location or manufacturing plant or employees, can't do what they're supposed to be doing because there's an attack. This is human.


And unlike most of these other things that we've talked about where there's like, you're moving along and everything's normal. An event happens, the event happened short-term usually, and then we're back to normal.


So, I really have to plan for and fix this spike. War doesn't have usually speaking a spike. I mean, I don't want to get into the reasons or rationale behind what's going on with Russia and the Ukraine.


But I think one thing we've all heard conclusively from anybody doing analysis on it, the Russian government rolled in and thought it was going to be three days. That's what they planned for. That's what they prepped for. And we're on how many months now?


Robert Hansen

About a half a year.


Frank Artes

They also didn't have a spike. That was February. So, they also didn't have a spike. So, they're also on the converse side, dealing with the fact that this is just persistent.


And ironically, if you look at it from their perspective of business continuity and disaster recovery, they're bleeding cash. There's no more income coming in. They're running out of supplies or their supplies are breaking down.


So, then they have extra costs, extra time, and so forth. And convert it, that's a business.


Robert Hansen

This actually quite a bit different. I'm assuming companies like yours do tabletop exercises now about COVID, for instance. What if one gets to show up at work at all?


But this is a little bit different because companies might have employees in one war-torn region or the other, or both.


So, you actually have to kind of analyze it from multiple different dimensions. Like well, what happens if my marketing team happens to be in some random country and they can't do marketing anymore?


Or what if you can't trust their marketing anymore because they are working potentially with the adversary or whatever. So, I don't know how that plays out from a table top perspective. Like what do you do?


Frank Artes

I've never actually seen a tabletop exercise that's that complex. Because if you even looked at it from that aspect the next angle that you might want to use is, well, that's great, but why just talk about A and B. Like if A invades B and there's, there's a conflict, it also affects C, D E, F, G, H and the I.


Like, "What the heck?" Maybe we don't have a business in A or B, but we have a business in C, but now C is dealing with a refugee influx that's causing problems. I don't know, maybe crime spiked through the roof.


But you don't see those conversations happening very often in very many corporations because the focus, and probably rightfully so, because mathematically it's more statistically plausible.


You're dealing with other insider threat type issues. You're dealing with forced Azure issues, you're dealing with other aspects and supply chain. Since last couple of years we're also looking at things like, you have a software supplier down the line that makes a major product that we use.


They got infiltrated and malware, and then the malware was installed by us unwittingly.


Robert Hansen

That kind of brings me up the next part of this. Balkanization is one of those things that I think is just going to get worse and worse and worse.


Like right now, we already have different firewalls manufactured in different locations that are only allowed to be used in those locations, or not allowed to be used in others or whatever. Through sanctions, let's say, but I think it's going to get worse than that.


I think there's just going to be a mug manufacturer in the United States and that's the one we trust and we can't trust a mug manufacturer somewhere else.


Frank Artes

Only will drink out of the mugs from the company you got these mugs from because these are the best mugs ever.


Robert Hansen

But more practically, operating systems. Why is everyone trusting operating systems that are built in the United States? Microsoft Windows being the primary or Mac OS, let's say, and to a lesser extent, even Linux. I mean, why isn't every contributor to Linux in every single country? Why aren't we distributing this out all over the place?


Frank Artes

I've never actually really looked into it because it's one of those things where you just take it for granted.


Robert Hansen

Well, North Korea has their own, Redstar operating system.


Frank Artes

No. That wasn't where I was going with this. Where I was going with this was, I've worked at a lot of software development companies throughout my entire career, and rarely have I ever worked on any one product that was made in only one country.


So, you made that comment, I thought to myself for a second. I was like, "Are all the programmers and developers that work on Microsoft Windows located in the United States?


Robert Hansen

Definitely not.


Frank Artes

That could possibly be correct.


Robert Hansen

It's not true.


Frank Artes

Right. Then my brain quickly jumped to, "Well, yeah. Different pieces have code being worked on by people in all different countries with all different views and all different aspects and it's very hard to do code sanitization."


Robert Hansen

Extremely.


Frank Artes

Very, very, very hard.


Robert Hansen

Well, I've got stories about both of these. So, in the case of Redstar operating system actually found issues in the narrow browser, which is one of the reasons I would probably never be allowed to visit that country.


Despite being once that was actually offered, like, "Would you like to go on a special tour? And like I don't think so." That would not be wise.


Frank Artes

Was it a three-hour tour in a little island?


Robert Hansen

I don't think so. But then, on the Windows side, I remember I was going to, there was a invite only conference called Blue Hat, Microsoft puts on their version of this big security conference for all their employees.


So, they can talk more openly amongst themselves and with security researchers. And I went there, but before I went, it was maybe a week or two before... And I hadn't told anyone I'm going to this thing. I think maybe I told my now ex-wife, wife at the time and maybe my business partner and that's it.


The only other people who knew were at Microsoft and no one else who knew this. Not even my admin at the time, no one knew. It just hadn't percolated out. It wasn't so much a hiding thing.


And also, I was pretty good at OPSEC and where I'm going and where I'm going and why I'm going. But I got this message on one of my chat boards that I was a member of and it like, "Hey, you're coming out to Microsoft?" I'm like, "Well, this is a board for Black Hats. You're sort of trolling or what's going on?"


And he's like, "Oh, well, let’s talk when you get here." I'm like, "You literally work at Microsoft?" He's like, "Yeah, I'll come up after the talk." So, after the talk was over, this guy comes up to me, he's like, "Hey, I'm so-and-so from this, this board." Are you really a Black hat guy?" He's like, "Oh, yeah, I just do it for fun." And he's kind of telling me some stuff. And I'm like, "I'm really hoping he's on the marketing team or something, just some sales droid or whatever." He's like, "No, I'm on the colonel team."


And so, for those who don't know, that's like the lowest level part of the operating system. And so this guy's extraordinarily technical. Like really knows what he's talking about.


Frank Artes

Has to be. He's doing zero colonel.


Robert Hansen

It doesn't matter if your operating system is only the United States. You have that guy. You may not be in China, but doesn't matter. He's a Black Hat.


So, I don't, I don't necessarily think Balkanization solves the problem that people are after. Not to mention you could have spies who go across the country lines and infiltrate in all kinds of different ways.


But at the same time, there's a lot of SaaS out there. There's software as a service out there that I could see people going. I really don't want to put all of our eggs in that one basket if that thing goes offline or if it's in a country that it's kind of a little dangerous.


It's just like we think that there might be war breaking out in this area in the next year or two. Or it's very close to conflict zone, so it might spill over onto them. Why don't we just build this over here? Why don't we just have a local version? Which of course the local governments are going to sponsor and say, "Yeah, that's great.


We've got our own version. It's a national pride thing as well. Why are we sending our money overseas? Why not spend it here? It's better localized and all that kind of thing that you might expect from something that's made in your own country."


But I also think that that's really dangerous because now we're going to have this massive fracturing of the internet. It's just going to get more and more and more fractured. Like what do you think?


Frank Artes

We're also going to have nation flavored SaaS applications. So, who knows? Maybe countrywide decides they're not using Salesforce, they're going to build their own. And it's going to be run and operated only within that country, for businesses that run in this country.


Can you imagine RSA at that point when you walk through the sales floor gauntlet and they're like, No, no. Should use our firewall. We're the firewall from Texas." And you're like, "But we're a California company." Where does that stop?


Robert Hansen

I think it's happening. I think it's happening already.


Frank Artes

And you're like, "Well, yeah, we want to use another Texas company because we trust Texas." I'm using state names instead of country names, just to say.


Robert Hansen

It's identical. It's the same problem.


Frank Artes

Exactly.


Robert Hansen

It's just more pronounced when it's across country lines.


Frank Artes

Country lines. And you do see that. Some of that comes from the standpoint of I guess nationalism and wanting to help your countrymen get ahead.


You're like, "Oh man, I know a guy who started a new identity access management. I am a SaaS based product. I want to use that." "Well, you don't want to use Okta or one pass or any of the other things that are out there?" "No, no. I want to help this guy out."


That happens. Because that's a normal level, I think of patriotism and so forth that you see sometimes with people. But I think you're right. That does get scary. And what does that do? Because I like when we're all working together and building a better utopian society everywhere.


Are there security advantages to that? I don't know. Because you're like, well, yeah, if you could keep the operating system super top secret, and the only people that ever see it or use it are the people on that specific network.


Let's say it's the government copies going to get out. And if you do it to the mass market, obviously a copy got out, right? So you're, you're back where you started. They'll reverse engineer it or at some point they'll get source code and so on and so forth.


Robert Hansen

I remember Microsoft was really very nervous about their bits. The actual underlying operating system components getting out.


And so, I mean, it's too late. That has already happened probably hundreds of times. Maybe doesn't hit the public internet normally, but these things do have a tendency to leak out. So, the Ukrainian cyber Army they claim as 400,000 people strong now.


Frank Artes

They just enlist all of anonymous. And they actually put their names down. Anonymous 142, Anonymous 500.


Robert Hansen

Yeah. I think that is largely what happened but also a lot of people within the country, I mean, Ukrainians have a lot of very technical people there.


Frank Artes

Oh yeah, absolutely.


Robert Hansen

I've worked with contractors there, for instance, very technical, very smart. But my concern is attribution of who is attacking who, has now become way more complicated.


Frank Artes

Oh, horribly complicated. Because you're cyber army, as you mentioned, aren't Ukrainians, and they're not in the Ukraine. They're not wearing uniforms. They're not confined to rules and so forth. You don't have to declare this was us. It's cybernetic Guerilla Warfare. And it's a free for all.


Robert Hansen

The problem with that, generally speaking, when countries really feel like other countries are getting involved in wars, they tend to then start engaging them in war.


Frank Artes

That is correct.


Robert Hansen

And to some extent, Russia has already done some rattling, which I would totally expect in the situation that they might actually go thermonuclear if they are so provoked to do.


So, if we are sending random citizens to go into this cyber war. They're out of the comfort of their own home naturally, but still coming from American soil, it's going to be really difficult to tell which ones are the NSA or CIA or some other secret shadowy agency or whatever.


And which ones are just some random guy who just wants to help out.


Frank Artes

Or a random guy now who used to work for one of these other groups that still implements the same trade craft, which now throws everything off.


So, when you're doing those kind of investigations and you're looking for that trade craft in tell tales and so forth to try and give some form of accreditation back or where did this come from?


And was this a nation state? Was it those guys? Or was it like, dude number four living in his mother's basement that was just bored and whatever. It gets messy, gets fast, and 400,000...


Robert Hansen

That's kind of an insane number.


Frank Artes

It is an absolutely insane number.


Robert Hansen

That's one of the largest armies on earth. And it's just comprised of largely volunteers from all over the place. It's amazing.


Frank Artes

So, I wonder if they give them all like a version of some hacker tool or something with a little Ukrainian flag on it. I don't know, something.


Robert Hansen

I half want to enlist just to see what it's like.


Frank Artes

I don't.


Robert Hansen

Yeah, me neither. But at the same time, kind of half want to. So, there's this kind of thing going around and I've heard enough people say it now. I think it's sort of out. Which is, there's this concept of a cyber marque, M-A-R-Q-U-E. I don't know if you've heard this.


Robert Hansen

No.


Frank Artes

So, back in the olden days when we wanted to, let's say have some of our privateers, some individual who with a boat go attack, so-and-so we would sort of say, "Look, you're flying under our banner, we realize you're not the military, you're not a regular. But you're allowed to go attack this foreign vessel."


Frank Artes

So privateer.


Robert Hansen

So, you go attack them, you're allowed to take whatever booty you find and bring it back. It's yours. But we need all the battle plans and anything else you find. And you're obviously only allowed to attack them, don't attack us. You're not a pirate, you're specifically going after them.


So, there is a concept, a very similar concept called a cyber marque. Which is being floated around as a potential...


Frank Artes

So, you can make them a cyber privateer.


Robert Hansen

Correct.


Frank Artes

And keep whatever digital goodies you get?


Robert Hansen

Yes.


Frank Artes

Okay. Which I'm hoping are huge Bitcoin wallets.


Robert Hansen

But it's targeted. You have to go after these very specific targets. You can't go after everybody. You have to go after these nation states or these specific crime organizations, cartels, let's say whatever you're allowed to do whatever you want. And you have to hand all this money over in some way back to the treasury.


Now you're going to take a good chunk off the top. That's going to be yours. You're not going to pay taxes on it. And frankly, you probably don't want anyone knowing that you are the ones who did that. So, you're going to take a lot of precautions to make sure that that isn't you.


At least in any digital sense. What do you think about that?


Frank Artes

Wow. Like the most awesome massively multiplayer game.


Robert Hansen

Isn't this a weird simulation we're living in?


Frank Artes

I was like thinking that all the time. I'm like, "Wow." I could see spending a lot of hours, but then you actually have something out of it. I think this is only the tip of the iceberg, right?


I think as time progresses, we are going to continue to see ways of leveraging and implementing things like this. Probably for the same reasons that you saw privateer actions happening. You couldn't have a navy big enough.


But you could get somebody with their own boat and a few cannons to go enforce your will over an area, not necessarily 100% linked to you. But working on your behalf and you legalized that action and took a portion of it. And they profited, chances that they were going to pirate anyway.


So, now you've quasi legitimized it and they can hold their head high in society. So, will we exit that for the same reason that we exited using privateers? I think that's the real question. But how long will that take? And are we just at the beginning of it? And will it really come to full fruition?


Robert Hansen

I think it will. I think it maybe already has. There's enough people talking about it and very seriously talking about it. Wouldn't it be interesting if like, "Oh, here's what we would plan on doing." Kind of thing.


So, I think one of my massive problems with it is it all comes down to their ethics because all they have to say is not that target, but that target right there. And all of a sudden this thing turns, "No, don't worry about it, I'll get this over the treasury. Don't stress about it."


Now, to some extent, there's a nice part about being on the good side of the law and you can sleep at night. The dollar figures they're talking about are so astronomical.


Frank Artes

Oh, they'd have to be.


Robert Hansen

You could easily live happily ever after somewhere else. These are not small dollar amounts. So, you rely entirely on the ethics of your team to do the right thing, which is a little dangerous because these people have already said that they're with being pirates, effectively.


The other thing is, I don't think you ever get out of that job. I think you're stuck doing that job for the rest of your life effectively.


Frank Artes

Yeah. And unless, like you said, you cash out and you just walk. I mean completely, like literally just don't use computers anymore. You're just like, "I'm done. I'm going to go become a ghost."


Robert Hansen

I think that's the only option to get out of that. And so, for those thinking about doing this, if there are any I think you get that job and you're working for the government effectively, whether you think you are or not, and you stay working for them.


Frank Artes

It's a very definition of a privateer.


Robert Hansen

But unlike a traditional privateer, you just say, I'm not really cool blowing up ships anymore, and you just call it a day. I don't think you get out of this job doing that.


Frank Artes

I don't think so. I'm still shocked over the whole 400,000 people in the Ukrainian cyber army. It's just an astronomical number of people.


Robert Hansen

I know.


Frank Artes

I'm a little bit scared. There's 400,000 people that have the skillset set to be in a cyber-army.


Robert Hansen

Oh. Probably not. I mean, I would assume a lot of them are doing administrative work and sorting and translations.


Frank Artes

That makes me feel... I was like, "There's 400,000 superbly effective hackers?"


Robert Hansen

There probably are that many.


Frank Artes

I'm unplugging everything now.


Robert Hansen

There probably are that many. In fact, there are probably more than that just in China alone. But it's very interesting to see them kind of pop up and say, "Okay, we're going to go attack this one target all at once."


One other story you told me once upon a time was how you did some analysis to identify people like war fighters and figure out where they lived. Would you be willing to share a little bit about that story? I think that's relevant to this?


Frank Artes

I can talk a little bit about that. Absolutely. We have a mutual friend, I believe you know him. And before Orange Security was called Orange Security, it was Send Post and one of their researchers built this really cool thing for a while called Snoopy.


Which was just a great way of much like a pineapple and stuff does today, spoofing access point SSIDs based off of broadcasts that come from the client. And I played with a bunch of his scripts and as you do with scripts, you optimize them and so forth and utilized a lot of what he was doing.


And you throw them through different databases like Waggle. Which cross references it to war driving data, which is when hackers drive around, or people. I shouldn't say hackers, drive around and with GPS units and Wi-Fi antenna arrays and they map out the SSIDs of access points and it marks their GPS locations and they go to a giant database.


And just for giggles apparently, because there's no monetization of it that I know of, other than access to Waggle. And you could spoof any SSID that was out there because the device is asking for it.


Now, that's used a lot in Man in the Middle attacks or it used to be before modern TLS versions instead of HTTPS. But I didn't care about man in the middling. I cared about what access points you were looking for and I cared about the Mac address and so forth on your mobile device.


So, I had a fingerprint for it and I cared about putting all that into a relational database that I could then look at and say, "Okay I've been to these five spots. I've seen your phone in all five spots because it's connected to my fake access point."


Because I was at your house and I also said I was at the Starbucks that you go to and the whatever you were going to. Because as your phone asked if that network was there, my system came back and said, "Yes, I'm here."


And I could then very quickly extrapolate that I'd seen you at those different locations, but more importantly I could take the SSIDs from where you were trying to connect to. Waggle then, get the GPS locations, throw that into Google Earth and then do a flyby of your house and everywhere else that you've been.


So, I was doing a demonstration of this at one point for a special operations group. And we were doing it as an example of operational security and when your devices kind of tattle on you.


And we were invited to come out to the base prior to the demonstration and then again the day of the demonstration. And during the entire time I was collecting data on both different events because I wanted to show correlation between who was here both times. And in the background my scripts were running and getting the GPS locations for the SSIDs and so forth.


We kind of looked at the data that was coming out and I was looking at all the GPS locations for where these things were.


And we were able to show them that we could discern which mobile devices belonged to the forward or advanced teams versus the support groups that stay behind based upon the fact we could isolate which devices had been to Europe and other locations as well.


So, through process of elimination, there's probably some small percentage of fudge in there. If somebody went, I don't know, to London on vacation or something and it was looking for stuff.


But by and large, the isolation is there, and then of course we could isolate those devices and then we can look at the flyby of all the access points they've been to and then show their homes. And kind of made the mistake of doing that live in front of this large...


Robert Hansen

A bunch of murderers.


Frank Artes

A bunch of people trained to kill me with their pinky. Kill me with my pinky. So yeah, there were several of them that got up and went to the back room to the highest ranking officer that was back there, and were not very pleased with what we had done.


Robert Hansen

Assured permission to kill you.


Frank Artes

Yeah. I assured them I was deleting all the info before I left the building. But it was a good case in point that the device that you carry around with you will tell on you.


And there were early implementations and uses of tools like Pineapples and so forth. And for those that don't know, it's a Wi-Fi security testing tool. I think we have to do it in air quotes.


And it's called a Pineapple because the first ones were physically hidden in Pineapples as the centerpieces on tables at a conference.


So, nobody knew they were there. And they were doing this very similar techniques of collecting SSIDs. They were spoofing home networks that mobile devices connected to them, and then people would use the mobile devices not realizing they were on a Wi-Fi network.


And of course, the device was Man in the Middle and stealing usernames and passwords to everything and keeping logs of where everybody went and what they did, and so on and so forth while they were there. So, hence the name of the device.


Robert Hansen

Yeah. And similar things have happened before. I forget which App it was, but a running app of some sort where a bunch of special operators were just running around the base.


And there was this perfect rectangle going over and over in the middle of nowhere. It's like, "Why is a whole bunch of people running in the middle of nowhere?"


Frank Artes

Constantly in the same rectangle.


Robert Hansen

Exactly. Over and over and over. And so, they were able to de-cloak certain bases. A similar issue with, I don't know if this is true or not, but it's a mix for a funny story.


A lot of people connecting, especially in Russia coming into Ukraine, and they weren't able to use their existing telecoms for all kinds of reasons.


So, they started using local telecommunications. And then they're using Grindr and then they're able to identify exactly where they are through geolocation.


Frank Artes

The geolocation, and then they were setting up water wet work projects to get them to come in. So, the "girl" air quotes, the girl would say, "Yeah, you can meet me here." They'd show up.


Robert Hansen

Very funny. All right, well this has been great. It's been about two and a half hours now, so how do people find you online?


Frank Artes

You can find me on Twitter @franklyfranc. You can find me on LinkedIn. I hide my Facebook accounts. That's the one I use just for friends and family and so forth.


Robert Hansen

What am I? Chopped liver?


Frank Artes

You're on there. But yeah, other than that, I can find my GitHub if you want to go look at my bad code every once in a while. Otherwise I keep a very limited online social media thing.


Robert Hansen

Well, Frank, thank you for doing this and for being so candid. I really appreciate it.


Frank Artes

Absolutely. Thank you, my friend.


Robert Hansen

It was a lot of fun.


Frank Artes

Yeah. Cool.


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