The NSA isn't the only group that gets to spy on cellphone data, local law enforcement get to join that group too now thanks to tech being passed onto them called Stingrays.
The USA Today article goes into detail on how the tech works but the main key things are what they are getting access to:
- Identification/telephone numbers for cells that connect
- Numbers dialed by a connected cellphone, including outgoing calls or texts
- Location data of connected phone
What they can't get:
- Tech isn't set up to intercept content of calls or texts.
Seems fair enough, I mean I want as much privacy as possible but that's not reasonably going to happen as technology continues to advance and law enforcement logically will need new tools at their disposal to better do their job but reading into this stuff more made me notice some slippery slopes that will allow law enforcement to only respect our rights in the form of lip service and nothing more.
Law-enforcement records show police can use initial data from a tower dump to ask for another court order for more information, including addresses, billing records and logs of calls, texts and locations.
Cellphone data sweeps fit into a broadening effort by police to collect and mine information about people's activities and movements.
I really don't like the wording in how they can simply get another court order to actually get call and text content based on the cell tower dump data. What does that even mean? I'm assuming "reasonable suspicion" will be the excuse here, i.e. arbitrary judgement calls.
Some of the reasoning for the tower dumps by some law enforcement troubles me a bit too.
Lott, the sheriff in the South Carolina gun-theft case, said
"We're not infringing on their rights," Lott said. We're not taking that information and using it for any means whatsoever, unless they're the bad guy or unless they're the victim."
So they're not interested in the data of people who aren't persons of interest but they don't say what happens to that data, is it stored somewhere (and for how long) and is it ever deleted?
Also when people "use that phone" do they really understand that that information is going to go to a tower, but more importantly, if they even do understand that, do they understand that that data is being mined by law enforcement? That last bit seems like an important tidbit to leave out.
Anyways just felt like sharing that.