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.

During the campaign, Donald Trump railed against "sanctuary cities" — generally understood to be jurisdictions where local law enforcement doesn't cooperate sufficiently with federal immigration authorities. Sanctuary cities were an especially hot issue because of the death of Kate Steinle , a tourist shot by a Mexican national in San Francisco in 2015. In an August campaign speech, Trump promised to "end" sanctuary cities by blocking their federal funding. But keeping that promise will be...

Gun control has been a minor theme of this year's presidential election, as Hillary Clinton promises to close "loopholes" in the background checks for gun purchasers, and Donald Trump pledges "unwavering support" for the Second Amendment. The real battle over guns, though, has been waged at the state level this year — with a new emphasis on ballot initiatives. Washington is a prime example. Like many western states, it has a tradition of permissive gun laws; there's no minimum waiting period...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. DAVID GREENE, HOST: When a New York police sergeant shot and killed a mentally ill woman last month, civic leaders responded quickly - very quickly. Within 24 hours, the mayor condemned the shooting, and the officer was stripped of his badge and gun. As NPR's Martin Kaste reports, the speed of that response has angered police around the country who say it's part of a new trend to blame cops first. MARTIN KASTE, BYLINE: The basic...

Law enforcement is increasingly worried about losing access to powerful tools for searching social media because of changing attitudes at the social media companies that allow the searches. Earlier this week, Facebook and Twitter restricted the bulk data access to users' information for a company called Geofeedia, after the ACLU of Northern California published a report revealing that Geofeedia had suggested to police departments that they could use the service to track protests. Social media...

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Americans are seeing more homeless camps, especially on the West Coast. A number of cities there have declared emergencies over the problem, and as they struggle to find solutions, an angry debate has broken out about how much tolerance should be shown to illegal camps that crop up in public spaces. Earlier this month, that debate got a lot more urgent in Seattle, when a young homeless man who was camping along Interstate 5 was killed by a car that careened off the roadway. A couple of hours...

The shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, a 43-year-old African-American man, by Charlotte, N.C., police is under investigation and the circumstances are very much in dispute, but when you listen to protesters , you hear that their frustration isn't about just this one case. "I can't watch another black man getting shot on another Facebook page, another newscast. I can't keep watching it happen and nobody else doing nothing about it," says Shahidah Whiteside. A lot of people feel this sense of...

In the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, many beloved public spaces were abruptly closed or had their access severely restricted. At the time, the public generally resigned itself to the new restrictions as a necessary evil in a time of war. Fifteen years later, the public has stopped noticing. In some cases, such as scenic overlooks at certain dams, the government spent millions on new roads and bridges to allow the public access from less risky positions. But in other places, the...

When should police be able to deactivate your social media account? The question is becoming more urgent, as people use real-time connections in the middle of critical incidents involving law enforcement. In the case of Korryn Gaines in Baltimore County, Md., earlier this month, police said that a suspect actively using a social media connection makes a standoff worse. Gaines posted videos to Instagram of the unfolding standoff with police, who were outside her apartment trying to get her to...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: As Joel mentioned, one reason Bratton became a household name was the remarkable drop in crime rates in New York starting in the mid-1990s. New York today has one-fourth the number of murders it had when Bratton first took the job as commissioner. Joining us now to talk about Bratton's legacy is NPR's law enforcement correspondent Martin Kaste. And Martin, first, just how much did William Bratton actually have to...

On Sunday, in the hours after the attack on officers in Baton Rouge, La., police reformers were quick to condemn the killings — and there were touching efforts to bridge the divide between the black community and police, such as a cookout in Wichita, Kan. Planned as a protest, it was repurposed as a community barbecue with local police . "You see African-Americans hugging Hispanics, you see Hispanics hugging Caucasians, citizens hugging police, citizens hugging sheriffs. This is amazing,"...

The recent targeted attacks on police in Dallas and Baton Rouge have law enforcement on edge. Some departments are telling officers to patrol in pairs when possible, and to be extra vigilant about possible ambush. Complicating matters is the question of how to interpret and react to the presence of a gun. With more Americans now exercising their legal right to carry firearms, police find themselves having to make rapid judgments about whether an armed citizen is a threat. While police are...

When you listen to the protesters, the message is clear: They think police are too quick to pull the trigger when faced with potential danger. The reality is that it's very difficult to tell whether this is something that's changing: The statistics on police use of force in the U.S. are too unreliable to say anything for certain. Still, Peter Kraska is among those who do think police have become quicker to use force. "From everything I can tell, even though, amazingly, we don't have good...

Investigators say a young African-American man named Micah Xavier Johnson was the sole attacker in Dallas Thursday night, when he shot 12 police officers, killing five. The attack came at the end of an otherwise peaceful march protesting police shootings. Speaking from Poland, where he'd been attending a NATO summit, President Obama rejected the idea that the attack was a sign of division in American society. "Americans of all races and all backgrounds are rightly outraged by the inexcusable...

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Future Shock by Alvin Toffler was a huge sensation when it was published in 1970. The book perfectly captured the angst of that time and prepared society for more changes to come. Toffler died on Monday at the age of 87. This story originally aired on July 26, 2010, on All Things Considered. Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

When cities settle cases of inappropriate or illegal force by police officers, they pay — a lot. Chicago alone has paid out more than half a billion dollars since 2004 . Yet some advocates say all those payouts haven't had much of an effect on policing practices. In Minneapolis, longtime activist Michelle Gross says when cities pay damages, individual police officers often aren't held accountable, which means they're not likely to change their behavior. That's why she and a group calling...

The horrific attack at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., has captured the nation's attention, but the great majority of homicides are not due to mass shootings. And in the last year or so, the murder rate has jumped in America's big cities. "We are in the midst of a very abrupt, precipitous and large crime increase," says Richard Rosenfeld, a respected criminologist at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He is the author of a study released Wednesday by the Justice Department examining...

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During the 2014 Ferguson protests, America woke up to a surprising fact: There are no good national numbers on police conduct. While the federal government collects reasonably accurate crime statistics, it doesn't know much about law enforcement patterns such as racial profiling and police use of force. It turned out even the government's most basic statistic — the number of people killed by police — was way off . The White House says it wants to change that with the Police Data Initiative....

FBI Director James Comey gave a speech this week about encryption and privacy, repeating his argument that "absolute privacy" hampers law enforcement. But it was an offhand remark during the Q&A session at Kenyon College that caught the attention of privacy activists: The thought of the FBI chief taping over his webcam is an arresting one for many. His comment Wednesday (which is around the 1:34:45 mark in this video) was in response to a question about growing public awareness of the ways...

When the FBI tried to force Apple to unlock an iPhone last month , it was a battle of titans. There were high-powered lawyers and dueling public relations strategies. But when police encounter a privacy technology run by volunteers, things can be a little different. For example, when Seattle police showed up at David Robinson's home shortly after 6 a.m. last Wednesday, he figured he had little choice but to let them in and hand over all his computer passwords. "They were there because I run a...

For all the talk in the last couple of years about reforming police, there are limits to what the government can do. But there may be another way, and it involves insurance companies. John Rappaport, an assistant law professor at the University of Chicago, says he spent years studying police reform before it dawned on him to ask a basic question: What were the insurance companies doing? "I just went on to Google and started searching and was just instantly amazed with the stuff I was finding,...

The legal dispute over whether Apple should be forced to help the FBI hack into the iPhone used by one of the terrorists in San Bernardino is making headlines in the U.S. But it's just one skirmish in a broader global conflict: American tech companies are feeling similar pressure from law enforcement agencies around the world, and they say the lack of international legal standards is creating a crisis. Just this week, a similar dispute in Brazil resulted in the brief arrest of one of Facebook...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript LOURDES GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Lourdes Garcia-Navarro in for Scott Simon. Microsoft has announced it's taking Apple's side in that company's dispute with the FBI over whether it should be forced to hack an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists. Other big tech companies are also supporting Apple after some initial hesitation. NPR's Martin Kaste reports on why the...

It's increasingly likely that the next time you have an encounter with a police officer, he or she will be wearing a body camera. And depending on how things go, you may be left wondering: "Can I get a copy of that video?" There's no single answer to that, or other pressing questions, such as whether you can tell an officer you don't want to be recorded. In the year and a half since the Ferguson, Mo., protests, police departments have been rushing to adopt the cameras. But when it comes to...

It's hard to overstate the tech world's fascination with the legal standoff between the FBI and Apple . Laymen might look at the dispute and shrug; after all, the FBI is just asking Apple to help hack into one phone, and it's not unusual for tech companies to help the police. "Apple does provide 'reasonable assistance' to law enforcement all the time," says Jeff Fischbach, a forensic technologist who specializes in retrieving data from devices for use in court. But he says what the FBI is...

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