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Author Topic: Confiscating the Phone Records of US Citizens  (Read 26437 times)
patric
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« Reply #210 on: November 02, 2015, 12:05:51 pm »

e documents.

While the FBI has claimed that aerial surveillance is allowed without a warrant under the Fourth Amendment because they are recording things that are in plain sight,

(of infrared cameras that see thru walls) ...people will complain that a hobby drone with a wide-angle lens on the other side of a football field is violating their privacy.   Undecided






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« Reply #211 on: December 22, 2015, 07:44:42 pm »

A Secret Catalog of Government Gear for Spying on Your Cellphone

https://theintercept.com/2015/12/17/a-secret-catalogue-of-government-gear-for-spying-on-your-cellphone/


THE INTERCEPT HAS OBTAINED a secret, internal U.S. government catalog of dozens of cellphone surveillance devices used by the military and by intelligence agencies. The document, thick with previously undisclosed information, also offers rare insight into the spying capabilities of federal law enforcement and local police inside the United States.

The catalog includes details on the Stingray, a well-known brand of surveillance gear, as well as Boeing “dirt boxes” and dozens of more obscure devices that can be mounted on vehicles, drones, and piloted aircraft. Some are designed to be used at static locations, while others can be discreetly carried by an individual. They have names like Cyberhawk, Yellowstone, Blackfin, Maximus, Cyclone, and Spartacus. Within the catalog, the NSA is listed as the vendor of one device, while another was developed for use by the CIA, and another was developed for a special forces requirement. Nearly a third of the entries focus on equipment that seems to have never been described in public before.

The Intercept obtained the catalog from a source within the intelligence community concerned about the militarization of domestic law enforcement. (The original is here. https://theintercept.com/document/2015/12/17/government-cellphone-surveillance-catalogue/ )

A few of the devices can house a “target list” of as many as 10,000 unique phone identifiers. Most can be used to geolocate people, but the documents indicate that some have more advanced capabilities, like eavesdropping on calls and spying on SMS messages. Two systems, apparently designed for use on captured phones, are touted as having the ability to extract media files, address books, and notes, and one can retrieve deleted text messages.

Above all, the catalog represents a trove of details on surveillance devices developed for military and intelligence purposes but increasingly used by law enforcement agencies to spy on people and convict them of crimes. The mass shooting earlier this month in San Bernardino, California, which President Barack Obama has called “an act of terrorism,” prompted calls for state and local police forces to beef up their counterterrorism capabilities, a process that has historically involved adapting military technologies to civilian use. Meanwhile, civil liberties advocates and others are increasingly alarmed about how cellphone surveillance devices are used domestically and have called for a more open and informed debate about the trade-off between security and privacy — despite a virtual blackout by the federal government on any information about the specific capabilities of the gear.

“We’ve seen a trend in the years since 9/11 to bring sophisticated surveillance technologies that were originally designed for military use — like Stingrays or drones or biometrics — back home to the United States,” said Jennifer Lynch, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has waged a legal battle challenging the use of cellphone surveillance devices domestically. “But using these technologies for domestic law enforcement purposes raises a host of issues that are different from a military context.”

MANY OF THE DEVICES in the catalog, including the Stingrays and dirt boxes, are cell-site simulators, which operate by mimicking the towers of major telecom companies like Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. When someone’s phone connects to the spoofed network, it transmits a unique identification code and, through the characteristics of its radio signals when they reach the receiver, information about the phone’s location. There are also indications that cell-site simulators may be able to monitor calls and text messages.

Domestically the devices have been used in a way that violates the constitutional rights of citizens, including the Fourth Amendment prohibition on illegal search and seizure, critics like Lynch say. They have regularly been used without warrants, or with warrants that critics call overly broad. Judges and civil liberties groups alike have complained that the devices are used without full disclosure of how they work, even within court proceedings.

“Every time police drive the streets with a Stingray, these dragnet devices can identify and locate dozens or hundreds of innocent bystanders’ phones,” said Nathan Wessler, a staff attorney with the Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project of the American Civil Liberties Union.

The controversy around cellphone surveillance illustrates the friction that comes with redeploying military combat gear into civilian life. The U.S. government has been using cell-site simulators for at least 20 years, but their use by local law enforcement is a more recent development.

The archetypical cell-site simulator, the Stingray, was trademarked by Harris Corp. in 2003 and initially used by the military, intelligence agencies, and federal law enforcement. Another company, Digital Receiver Technology, now owned by Boeing, developed dirt boxes — more powerful cell-site simulators — which gained favor among the NSA, CIA, and U.S. military as good tools for hunting down suspected terrorists. The devices can reportedly track more than 200 phones over a wider range than the Stingray.

Amid the war on terror, companies selling cell-site simulators to the federal government thrived. In addition to large corporations like Boeing and Harris, which clocked more than $2.6 billion in federal contracts last year, the catalog obtained by The Intercept includes products from little-known outfits like Nevada-based Ventis, which appears to have been dissolved, and SR Technologies of Davie, Florida, which has a website that warns: “Due to the sensitive nature of this business, we require that all visitors be registered before accessing further information.” (The catalog obtained by The Intercept is not dated, but includes information about an event that occurred in 2012.)

The U.S. government eventually used cell-site simulators to target people for assassination in drone strikes, The Intercept has reported. But the CIA helped use the technology at home, too. For more than a decade, the agency worked with the U.S. Marshals Service to deploy planes with dirt boxes attached to track mobile phones across the U.S., the Wall Street Journal revealed.

After being used by federal agencies for years, cellular surveillance devices began to make their way into the arsenals of a small number of local police agencies. By 2007, Harris sought a license from the Federal Communications Commission to widely sell its devices to local law enforcement, and police flooded the FCC with letters of support. “The text of every letter was the same. The only difference was the law enforcement logo at the top,” said Chris Soghoian, the principal technologist at the ACLU, who obtained copies of the letters from the FCC through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The lobbying campaign was a success. Today nearly 60 law enforcement agencies in 23 states are known to possess a Stingray or some form of cell-site simulator, though experts believe that number likely underrepresents the real total. In some jurisdictions, police use cell-site simulators regularly. The Baltimore Police Department, for example, has used Stingrays more than 4,300 times since 2007.

Police often cite the war on terror in acquiring such systems. Michigan State Police claimed their Stingrays would “allow the State to track the physical location of a suspected terrorist,” although the ACLU later found that in 128 uses of the devices last year, none were related to terrorism. In Tacoma, Washington, police claimed Stingrays could prevent attacks using improvised explosive devices — the roadside bombs that plagued soldiers in Iraq. “I am not aware of any case in which a police agency has used a cell-site simulator to find a terrorist,” said Lynch. Instead, “law enforcement agencies have been using cell-site simulators to solve even the most minor domestic crimes.”

WHILE INTEREST FROM local cops helped fuel the spread of cell-site simulators, funding from the federal government also played a role, incentivizing municipalities to buy more of the technology. In the years since 9/11, the U.S. has expanded its funding to provide military hardware to state and local law enforcement agencies via grants awarded by the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department. There’s been a similar pattern with Stingray-like devices.

“The same grant programs that paid for local law enforcement agencies across the country to buy armored personnel carriers and drones have paid for Stingrays,” said Soghoian. “Like drones, license plate readers, and biometric scanners, the Stingrays are yet another surveillance technology created by defense contractors for the military, and after years of use in war zones, it eventually trickles down to local and state agencies, paid for with DOJ and DHS money.”

Information on such purchases, like so much about cell-site simulators, has trickled out through freedom of information requests and public records. The capabilities of the devices are kept under lock and key — a secrecy that hearkens back to their military origins. When state or local police purchase the cell-site simulators, they are routinely required to sign non-disclosure agreements with the FBI that they may not reveal the “existence of and the capabilities provided by” the surveillance devices, or share “any information” about the equipment with the public.

Sometimes it’s not even clear how much police are spending on Stingray-like devices because they are bought with proceeds from assets seized under federal civil forfeiture law, in drug busts and other operations. Illinois, Michigan, and Maryland police forces have all used asset forfeiture funds to pay for Stingray-type equipment.

“The full extent of the secrecy surrounding cell-site simulators is completely unjustified and unlawful,” said EFF’s Lynch. “No police officer or detective should be allowed to withhold information from a court or criminal defendant about how the officer conducted an investigation.”

“Because cell-site simulators can collect so much information from innocent people, a simple warrant for their use is not enough,” said Lynch, the EFF attorney. “Police officers should be required to limit their use of the device to a short and defined period of time. Officers also need to be clear in the probable cause affidavit supporting the warrant about the device’s capabilities.”

In November, a federal judge in Illinois published a legal memorandum about the government’s application to use a cell-tower spoofing technology in a drug-trafficking investigation. In his memo, Judge Iain Johnston sharply criticized the secrecy surrounding Stingrays and other surveillance devices, suggesting that it made weighing the constitutional implications of their use extremely difficult. “A cell-site simulator is simply too powerful of a device to be used and the information captured by it too vast to allow its use without specific authorization from a fully informed court,” he wrote.

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« Reply #212 on: December 23, 2015, 12:06:35 am »

A Secret Catalog of Government Gear for Spying on Your Cellphone

THE INTERCEPT HAS OBTAINED a secret, internal U.S. government catalog of dozens of cellphone surveillance devices used by the military and by intelligence agencies.

I'll guess someone is going to loose their security clearance.

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« Reply #213 on: December 23, 2015, 05:38:33 pm »

I'll guess someone is going to loose their security clearance.


https://theintercept.com/surveillance-catalogue/



“Ensnares bystanders, drains batteries, blocks calls”

“Will suck every last byte of data out of a seized cellphone”

“More than enough data to map an entire social network”

“Up to 10,000 targets”



Sounds like the perfect stocking-stuffers for paranoid parents.


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« Reply #214 on: February 19, 2016, 01:10:05 pm »

Great article by The Woz on the governments attack on personal encryption

http://www.cnet.com/news/woz-says-you-cant-trust-government-denies-apple-case-is-terrorism-related-iphone-san-bernardino/

...and not so much discussion from the federal agencies who insist they can keep back doors from terrorists, but just got hacked last week by a 16-tear-old in England.  http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/02/13/cops-arrest-teen-for-hack-and-leak-dhs-fbi-data.html

Seems the FBI is really fighting hard for the tools terrorists desperately need.


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Vashta Nerada
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« Reply #215 on: February 20, 2016, 06:42:56 pm »

Quote
It was a master stroke by the DOJ/FBI to use this case to try to force Apple to produce a master key to break encryption on all iPhones. The defendants are hated and dead, and no Trump level thinker is going to think past “Apple supports terrorism!!” This is their best shot to defeat encryption once and for all.
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« Reply #216 on: February 21, 2016, 02:19:02 pm »

So if the FBI hadnt ordered the resetting of that phones password, all the data on it would have essentially just fallen into their laps.
http://gizmodo.com/san-bernardino-county-calls-the-fbi-liars-over-terroris-1760317923

Maybe that phone really isnt the prize, but rather its using this case as a pretext to turning potentially EVERY iPhone into their personal data smorgasbord.

Getting caught lying didnt help the FBI's case, either.



This is what the FBI — and now the court — is demanding Apple do: It wants Apple to rewrite the phone’s software to make it possible to guess possible passwords quickly and automatically.

The FBI’s demands are specific to one phone, which might make its request seem reasonable if you don’t consider the technological implications: Authorities have the phone in their lawful possession, and they only need help seeing what’s on it in case it can tell them something about how the San Bernardino shooters operated. But the hacked software the court and the FBI wants Apple to provide would be general. It would work on any phone of the same model. It has to.

Make no mistake; this is what a backdoor looks like. This is an existing vulnerability in iPhone security that could be exploited by anyone.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/02/18/why-you-should-side-with-apple-not-the-fbi-in-the-san-bernardino-iphone-case/

Funny that Microsoft has no problem with backdoors (Windows10cough,cough)   http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2499844,00.asp
« Last Edit: February 23, 2016, 11:07:36 am by patric » Logged

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« Reply #217 on: April 14, 2016, 11:23:41 am »

An Israeli arms manufacturer that pedles software to governments around the world (including ours) to rifle thru cell phones wants to make it law that police have the right to seize the phones of drivers involved in traffic accidents...and to use their software to scoop up all the data.

Cellebrite, whose products have been used for years to crack passwords and suck data, wants to re-write motor vehicle laws so that the privilege of driving is dependent on "implied consent" that motorists cell phone data is just as safe from unreasonable search as their vehicles now are.



Cellebrite already has roadside devices to scrape the contents of a phone (Universal Forensic Extraction Device), so this technology would just dial it back a bit.
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/04/first-came-the-breathalyzer-now-meet-the-roadside-police-textalyzer/


My cell phone is usually out of reach (or sometimes even locked up) when I drive so im not sure how that would work.  Texting while driving is irresponsible and a growing problem, but I think there might be other solutions beside warrantless searches.


« Last Edit: April 14, 2016, 11:28:42 am by patric » Logged

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« Reply #218 on: May 30, 2016, 11:31:18 am »

Former Attorney General Eric Holder has made an extraordinary concession: that Edward Snowden did us all a favor by leaking classified surveillance documents.

We can certainly argue about the way in which Snowden did what he did, but I think that he actually performed a public service by raising the debate that we engaged in and by the changes that we made,” Holder told David Axelrod on “The Axe Files,” a podcast produced by CNN and the University of Chicago Institute of Politics.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnmcquaid/2016/05/30/eric-holder-makes-a-small-crack-in-the-wall-of-official-hostility-towards-edward-snowden/#52d4a4ff59d0





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« Reply #219 on: May 31, 2016, 07:59:40 am »

Texting while driving is irresponsible and a growing problem...

... so we need to be able to search your phone.

Drunk driving is a serious issue... we need to be able to stop and search everyone that drives.

Drug smuggling is a growing problem (and every road is a "known drug corridor")... so we need to be able to search your car.

Weapons are an increasing problem... so we need to be able to search your person.

"Revenge porn" is a new and growing problem... so we need to be able to search your internet records.

Making meth at home is a growing problem... so we need to be able to search your home.

Homemade explosives are a rising concern... so we need to be able to search your credit card records.

Armed robberies are an increasing problem... so we need to be able to track your location.
- - -

Name a crime, name some data that hypothetically could help find the perpetrators of that crime, carve out an exception to the 5th Amendment to make it easier for the police to catch criminals. Sounds great! I mean, who would care about enabling easier searches if it means catching criminals?

Stupid Founding Fathers setting up the 5th Amendment, they just didn't understand the power the government could have if we just chipped away at it a little more. Everyone would be safer.
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« Reply #220 on: June 06, 2016, 02:23:19 pm »

... so we need to be able to search your phone.

Drunk driving is a serious issue... we need to be able to stop and search everyone that drives.

Drug smuggling is a growing problem (and every road is a "known drug corridor")... so we need to be able to search your car.

Weapons are an increasing problem... so we need to be able to search your person.

"Revenge porn" is a new and growing problem... so we need to be able to search your internet records.

Making meth at home is a growing problem... so we need to be able to search your home.

Homemade explosives are a rising concern... so we need to be able to search your credit card records.

Armed robberies are an increasing problem... so we need to be able to track your location.
- - -

Name a crime, name some data that hypothetically could help find the perpetrators of that crime, carve out an exception to the 5th Amendment to make it easier for the police to catch criminals. Sounds great! I mean, who would care about enabling easier searches if it means catching criminals?

Stupid Founding Fathers setting up the 5th Amendment, they just didn't understand the power the government could have if we just chipped away at it a little more. Everyone would be safer.


We are a country that has decided that war crimes shall be standard operating procedure.  The ends justifies the means, even if the ends aren't really accomplished.  So a little bit of phone tampering is no big deal to these same people.

We tracked down, prosecuted, and executed hundreds (if not thousands) of Japanese war criminals after WWII for war crimes - one of the big ones which was waterboarding our POW's.   The truly disturbing thing to me is how casually we fall into that whole frame of mind now.

Trump's logo is to make America Great Again.  Then I heard the question posed, "When was America ever great?"   I immediately bristled at that when I first heard it, then thought about the follow on discussion behind it.  May not be an invalid question, considering our history for everyone who isn't a free, white, male over 21.


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« Reply #221 on: August 19, 2016, 10:25:38 am »

... so we need to be able to search your phone.

Drunk driving is a serious issue... we need to be able to stop and search everyone that drives.

Drug smuggling is a growing problem (and every road is a "known drug corridor")... so we need to be able to search your car.

Weapons are an increasing problem... so we need to be able to search your person.

"Revenge porn" is a new and growing problem... so we need to be able to search your internet records.

Making meth at home is a growing problem... so we need to be able to search your home.

Homemade explosives are a rising concern... so we need to be able to search your credit card records.

Armed robberies are an increasing problem... so we need to be able to track your location.
- - -

Name a crime, name some data that hypothetically could help find the perpetrators of that crime, carve out an exception to the 5th Amendment to make it easier for the police to catch criminals. Sounds great! I mean, who would care about enabling easier searches if it means catching criminals?

Stupid Founding Fathers setting up the 5th Amendment, they just didn't understand the power the government could have if we just chipped away at it a little more. Everyone would be safer.



For nearly 10 years, local police departments around the country have spied on cell networks using military grade surveillance tools in secret. This week, a coalition of civil rights groups lodged a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) seeking an enforcement action against the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) for using cell-site simulators—also known as IMSI-catchers or Stingrays—thousands of times since 2007 without warrants required by the U.S. Constitution, and without a license to use the electromagnetic spectrum required by the FCC.

https://act.eff.org/action/tell-fcc-to-enforce-its-rules-against-police-using-stingrays
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« Reply #222 on: October 04, 2016, 12:54:23 pm »

Thanks, Yahoo!   Angry



Yahoo Inc last year secretly built a custom software program to search all of its customers' incoming emails for specific information provided by U.S. intelligence officials, according to people familiar with the matter.

The company complied with a classified U.S. government directive, scanning hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts at the behest of the National Security Agency or FBI, said two former employees and a third person apprised of the events.

Some surveillance experts said this represents the first case to surface of a U.S. Internet company agreeing to a spy agency's demand by searching all arriving messages, as opposed to examining stored messages or scanning a small number of accounts in real time.

It is not known what information intelligence officials were looking for, only that they wanted Yahoo to search for a set of characters. That could mean a phrase in an email or an attachment, said the sources, who did not want to be identified.



http://www.reuters.com/article/us-yahoo-nsa-exclusive-idUSKCN1241YT


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« Reply #223 on: October 08, 2016, 02:16:45 pm »

The spy tool that the US government ordered Yahoo to install on its systems last year at the behest of the NSA or the FBI was a “poorly designed” and “buggy” piece of malware, according to two sources closely familiar with the matter.

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/yahoo-government-email-scanner-was-actually-a-secret-hacking-tool

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« Reply #224 on: October 09, 2016, 09:49:41 am »

But the government was responsibly reading your mail! They were only looking for bad guys. If you have nothing to hide etc. etc. etc.

It's like you people have never heard of the original draft of the 4th Amendment: "Persons shall be free from unreasonable search and seizure unless it helps the government do something they say they need to do." They shortened it in editing.
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