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Old 06-12-2014, 10:36 PM  
Taco John Taco John is offline
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Obama admin tells local cops to keep cell phone surveillance secret

US pushing local cops to stay mum on surveillance

US pushing local police departments to keep quiet on cell-phone surveillance technology

The Obama administration has been quietly advising local police not to disclose details about surveillance technology they are using to sweep up basic cellphone data from entire neighborhoods, The Associated Press has learned.

Citing security reasons, the U.S. has intervened in routine state public records cases and criminal trials regarding use of the technology. This has resulted in police departments withholding materials or heavily censoring documents in rare instances when they disclose any about the purchase and use of such powerful surveillance equipment.

Federal involvement in local open records proceedings is unusual. It comes at a time when President Barack Obama has said he welcomes a debate on government surveillance and called for more transparency about spying in the wake of disclosures about classified federal surveillance programs.

One well-known type of this surveillance equipment is known as a Stingray, an innovative way for law enforcement to track cellphones used by suspects and gather evidence. The equipment tricks cellphones into identifying some of their owners' account information, like a unique subscriber number, and transmitting data to police as if it were a phone company's tower. That allows police to obtain cellphone information without having to ask for help from service providers, such as Verizon or AT&T, and can locate a phone without the user even making a call or sending a text message.

But without more details about how the technology works and under what circumstances it's used, it's unclear whether the technology might violate a person's constitutional rights or whether it's a good investment of taxpayer dollars.

Interviews, court records and public-records requests show the Obama administration is asking agencies to withhold common information about the equipment, such as how the technology is used and how to turn it on. That pushback has come in the form of FBI affidavits and consultation in local criminal cases.

"These extreme secrecy efforts are in relation to very controversial, local government surveillance practices using highly invasive technology," said Nathan Freed Wessler, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, which has fought for the release of these types of records. "If public participation means anything, people should have the facts about what the government is doing to them."

Harris Corp., a key manufacturer of this equipment, built a secrecy element into its authorization agreement with the Federal Communications Commission in 2011. That authorization has an unusual requirement: that local law enforcement "coordinate with the FBI the acquisition and use of the equipment." Companies like Harris need FCC authorization in order to sell wireless equipment that could interfere with radio frequencies.

A spokesman from Harris Corp. said the company will not discuss its products for the Defense Department and law enforcement agencies, although public filings showed government sales of communications systems such as the Stingray accounted for nearly one-third of its $5 billion in revenue. "As a government contractor, our solutions are regulated and their use is restricted," spokesman Jim Burke said.

Local police agencies have been denying access to records about this surveillance equipment under state public records laws. Agencies in San Diego, Chicago and Oakland County, Michigan, for instance, declined to tell the AP what devices they purchased, how much they cost and with whom they shared information. San Diego police released a heavily censored purchasing document. Oakland officials said police-secrecy exemptions and attorney-client privilege keep their hands tied. It was unclear whether the Obama administration interfered in the AP requests.

"It's troubling to think the FBI can just trump the state's open records law," said Ginger McCall, director of the open government project at the Electronic Privacy Information Center. McCall suspects the surveillance would not pass constitutional muster.

"The vast amount of information it sweeps in is totally irrelevant to the investigation," she said.

A court case challenging the public release of information from the Tucson Police Department includes an affidavit from an FBI special agent, Bradley Morrison, who said the disclosure would "result in the FBI's inability to protect the public from terrorism and other criminal activity because through public disclosures, this technology has been rendered essentially useless for future investigations."

Morrison said revealing any information about the technology would violate a federal homeland security law about information-sharing and arms-control laws legal arguments that that outside lawyers and transparency experts said are specious and don't comport with court cases on the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.

The FBI did not answer questions about its role in states' open records proceedings.

But a former Justice Department official said the federal government should be making this argument in federal court, not a state level where different public records laws apply.

"The federal government appears to be attempting to assert a federal interest in the information being sought, but it's going about it the wrong way," said Dan Metcalfe, the former director of the Justice Department's office of information and privacy. Currently Metcalfe is the executive director of American University's law school Collaboration on Government Secrecy project.

A criminal case in Tallahassee cites the same homeland security laws in Morrison's affidavit, court records show, and prosecutors told the court they consulted with the FBI to keep portions of a transcript sealed. That transcript, released earlier this month, revealed that Stingrays "force" cellphones to register their location and identifying information with the police device and enables officers to track calls whenever the phone is on.

One law enforcement official familiar with the Tucson lawsuit, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak about internal discussions, said federal lawyers told Tucson police they couldn't hand over a PowerPoint presentation made by local officers about how to operate the Stingray device. Federal officials forwarded Morrison's affidavit for use in the Tucson police department's reply to the lawsuit, rather than requesting the case be moved to federal court.

In Sarasota, Florida, the U.S. Marshals Service confiscated local records on the use of the surveillance equipment, removing the documents from the reach of Florida's expansive open-records law after the ACLU asked under Florida law to see the documents. The ACLU has asked a judge to intervene. The Marshals Service said it deputized the officer as a federal agent and therefore the records weren't accessible under Florida law.

http://news.yahoo.com/us-pushing-loc...174613067.html
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Old 06-12-2014, 10:41 PM   #2
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when you have people in leadership with a lack of morals than you have a pervasiveness of the idea that the "end justifies the means."



It doesnt take a constitutional scholar to see such action is a constitutional violation.
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Old 06-12-2014, 10:43 PM   #3
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At some point will his acolytes see him for what he is? Can the cosmos and direcks of the world continue to defend this?
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Old 06-12-2014, 10:47 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by HonestChieffan View Post
At some point will his acolytes see him for what he is? Can the cosmos and direcks of the world continue to defend this?
The men who supported Mordor believed they were doing the right thing.
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Old 06-12-2014, 11:08 PM   #5
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Warrantless cell phone tracking ruled unconstitutional in federal court
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Investigators must obtain a search warrant from a judge in order to obtain cellphone tower tracking data that is widely used as evidence to show suspects were in the vicinity of a crime, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.

A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals determined people have an expectation of privacy in their movements and that the cell tower data was part of that. As such, obtaining the records without a search warrant is a violation of the Fourth Amendment's ban on unreasonable searches and seizures, the judges ruled.

"The court soundly repudiates the government's argument that merely by using a cellphone, people somehow surrender their privacy rights," said ACLU attorney Nathan Freed Wessler, who argued the case.

The U.S. Supreme Court, while not yet ruling on cellphone tower records, in 2012 decided that attachment of GPS devices to suspects' vehicles also constituted a search under the Fourth Amendment. The justices did not, however, decided that investigators must always obtain a search warrant.

The 11th Circuit decision, which relied heavily on the GPS decision, applies in Florida, Georgia and Alabama.
the problem with Stingray technology is that:
1. its a 4th ammendment violation without a warrant

2. it may not be specifically targeted to a particular cell phone and instead can pick up a lot of information from cell phones in an area in which the technology is deployed. That has the potential to be sweeping or mass surveillance.
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Old 06-12-2014, 11:09 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by HonestChieffan View Post
At some point will his acolytes see him for what he is? Can the cosmos and direcks of the world continue to defend this?
Don't forget Patteau. He loves him some Big Brother.
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Old 06-12-2014, 11:48 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by GloucesterChief View Post
Don't forget Patteau. He loves him some Big Brother.
What are you talking about?
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Old 06-13-2014, 12:01 AM   #8
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What are you talking about?
your posting history. you shill for the military industrial complex.
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Old 06-13-2014, 12:16 AM   #9
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Local cops in 15 US states confirmed to use cell tracking devices
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Old 06-13-2014, 12:33 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by planetdoc View Post
your posting history. you shill for the military industrial complex.
He's got ya there, patt...
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Old 06-13-2014, 01:10 AM   #11
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Old 06-13-2014, 06:51 AM   #12
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By the way, there is a countermeasure to this technology:

1. use VOIP over wifi as much as possible. Republic wireless and Ringplus offer native VOIP over WIFI which allows calls and SMS to and from cellular or landline phones from an android smartphone. If the suspect's cellular signal is off, than the stingray wont work. WIFI location and information (such as IP) can be obfuscated.

2. seperate device attached to a cellular amplifier that knows (remembers) the signal strength of various towers in an area. When spoofed tower (stingray) shows up it can recognize it by either its name (if not faked) or suspiciously increased signal strength, and will send back a strong, amplified signal that can overwhelm the stingray (the same way as someone using a cellular amplifier can shutdown a cell tower). this is highly illegal.

3. Deploy such homemade/DIY technology on the watchers, gather intel and post it. Also, highly illegal. This information (combined with other info that a phone may be broadcasting) can be used to find out where LEO's live, along with unencrypted information (credentials). an example.

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Old 06-13-2014, 08:36 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by planetdoc View Post
your posting history. you shill for the military industrial complex.
Leaving aside your misuse of the word "shill", what does that have to do with the subject of this thread?
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Old 06-13-2014, 08:50 AM   #14
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Leaving aside your misuse of the word "shill",
not misused. Used as intended.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/shill
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Originally Posted by Meriam Webster definition of Shill (intransitive adverb)
to act as a spokesperson or promoter
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
what does that have to do with the subject of this thread?
the both have to do with, and can lead to, fascism



Quote:
Originally Posted by Meriam Webster definition of fascism
a political philosophy, movement, or regime...that exalts nation...above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government..

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Old 06-13-2014, 09:07 AM   #15
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I have no doubt that you intended to use it. I'm just saying you're wrong to use it. But again, it's irrelevant to the thread topic so let's not get sidetracked.

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Originally Posted by planetdoc View Post
the both have to do with, and can lead to, fascism

Fascists are humans. You're a human. Irrelevant connection!
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