Martin Kaste

Martin Kaste is a correspondent on NPR's National desk. He covers law enforcement and privacy, as well as news from the Pacific Northwest.

In addition to general assignment reporting in the U.S., Kaste has contributed to NPR News coverage of major world events, including the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and the 2011 uprising in Libya.

Kaste has reported on the government's warrant-less wiretapping practices as well as the data-collection and analysis that go on behind the scenes in social media and other new media. His privacy reporting was cited in the U.S. Supreme Court's 2012 United States v. Jones ruling concerning GPS tracking.

Before moving to the West Coast, Kaste spent five years as NPR's reporter in South America. He covered the drug wars in Colombia, the financial meltdown in Argentina, the rise of Brazilian president Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, and the fall of Haiti's president Jean Bertrand Aristide. Throughout this assignment, Kaste covered the overthrow of five presidents in five years.

Prior to joining NPR in 2000, Kaste was a political reporter for Minnesota Public Radio in St. Paul for seven years.

Kaste is a graduate of Carleton College, in Northfield, Minnesota.

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4:35pm

Thu July 30, 2015
Law

Maryland Governor To Close Baltimore City Jail Over Corruption

Originally published on Thu July 30, 2015 5:27 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

6:12am

Wed July 22, 2015
Law

Sandra Bland Video Shows An Argument With Police Officer

Originally published on Wed July 22, 2015 6:22 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

5:37am

Tue July 21, 2015
Law

A Death In A Texas Jail Stirs Suspicion

Originally published on Tue July 21, 2015 3:04 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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4:03pm

Fri July 17, 2015
News

A Suicide Or Something Else? Young Woman's Death In Jail Incites Suspicion

Originally published on Fri July 17, 2015 7:39 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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5:02am

Thu July 16, 2015
Law

Is It Possible To Let More People Out Of Prison, And Keep Crime Down?

Originally published on Thu July 16, 2015 2:12 pm

Inmates at California's Chino State Prison exercise in the prison yard in 2010. A proposition that was passed in the state last year reclassified certain crimes, releasing thousands of inmates earlier than had been anticipated.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

President Obama has made incarceration reform a White House theme this week. On Monday, he commuted the sentences of 46 mostly nonviolent drug offenders; and on Tuesday, he spoke about reducing the prison population in a speech to the NAACP.

"The United States is home to 5 percent of the world's population but 25 percent of the world's prisoners," Obama said. "Think about that. Our incarceration rate is four times higher than China's."

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4:59pm

Wed July 1, 2015
U.S.

Nationwide Crime Spike Has Law Enforcement Retooling Its Approach

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 9:30 am

Metropolitan Division officers finish another "rollback" operation. They searched the apartment of a paroled armed robber and gang member. These rollbacks are a cornerstone of the Metro Division's strategy of tracking people who may re-offend, and suppressing crime before it happens.
Martin Kaste NPR

Crime in America may be on the rise again. It's too early to talk about a national trend, but there have been troubling spikes in shootings and murders in big cities such as New York, Baltimore and Los Angeles.

Until recently, crime decreased steadily for two decades, and the national murder rate is half what it was in the early 1990s — so police departments are under pressure to crack down. But at the same time, their tactics are under more scrutiny from the public, and they have to be careful not to appear too heavy-handed.

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5:04am

Wed June 17, 2015
U.S.

Scammers Turn To Caller ID 'Spoofing' To Pose As Police

Originally published on Wed June 17, 2015 6:18 pm

Most people know to hang up on con artists supposedly calling from the power company or the IRS, demanding money. The problem is, there's little the police can do — even when the scammers go so far as to impersonate the police themselves.

The fake police scam, or "spoofing," has been making the rounds for the last year or so.

Cmdr. Joseph Chacon of the Austin Police Department's intelligence division says they saw a wave of these calls this spring from people claiming to be Austin police.

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6:20pm

Fri May 29, 2015
All Tech Considered

As Police Body Cameras Increase, What About All That Video?

Originally published on Fri May 29, 2015 7:09 pm

Taser International is now selling police departments the technology to store videos from body cameras.
Patrick T. Fallon Bloomberg via Getty Images

You know what a pain it can be storing and organizing the millions of videos you've shot on your smartphone. Now imagine you're a police officer, and you wear a body camera every day.

Police cams have suddenly become a big business. In the months since Ferguson, share prices for the camera manufacturer Taser International have doubled. But in the long run, the real money is in selling police a way to store all that video.

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4:33pm

Wed May 27, 2015
All Tech Considered

Questions Remain About How To Use Data From License Plate Scanners

Originally published on Thu May 28, 2015 7:52 pm

License plate scanners have helped police locate stolen vehicles and have even assisted in murder investigations. But with their ability to track a person's every move, skeptics worry about privacy.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

License plate scanners have become a fact of life. They're attached to traffic lights, on police cars — even "repo" staff use them. All those devices have created a torrent of data, raising new concerns about how it's being stored and analyzed.

Bryce Newell's laptop is filled with the comings and goings of Seattle residents. The data comes from the city's license plate scanner, acquired from the police through public disclosure requests. He plugs in a license plate number, uncovering evidence of long-forgotten errands.

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3:29am

Thu May 14, 2015
U.S.

Police Rethink Tactics Amid New Technologies And Social Pressure

Originally published on Thu May 14, 2015 9:24 pm

Officers stand watch at the intersection of West North Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue as protesters walk for Freddie Gray in Baltimore in April. Gray died from spinal injuries about a week after he was arrested and transported in a police van.
Jabin Botsford The Washington Post/Getty Images

This week in Washington, thousands of sworn officers gathered for National Police Week, an annual commemoration of the lives of officers who've died on the job.

This year it was hard for participants to escape the shadow of the anti-police protests of the past nine months. One of the week's events, a memorial bicycle ride, even was rerouted away from Baltimore, to make sure the nearly 2,000 officers participating in the ride wouldn't become targets.

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