#1 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4368 posts) -

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 police weren't interested in seeing data about the other residents whose information was collected as a byproduct of his agency's tower dumps.

"We're not infringing on their rights," Lott said. "When they use that phone, they understand that information is going to go to a tower. 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.

#2 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4368 posts) -

Huh, the crippling weight of indifference is more disconcerting than anything else...

#3 Posted by TheHumanDove (2523 posts) -

Huh, the crippling weight of indifference is more disconcerting than anything else...

Cant stop big brother

#4 Posted by Andorski (5331 posts) -

I just assume that there is some government worker jacking off to all the data they collect from my internet usage.

#5 Posted by TruthTellah (9153 posts) -

Huh, the crippling weight of indifference is more disconcerting than anything else...

I think a lot of people(especially folks that would be frequenting a forum like this) already assume this is something they are doing. I mean, it doesn't seem that far-fetched. It does raise some questions about their use of such data, but when you're signing up to use a phone service, you should be aware that there isn't an assumption of privacy from the police. What should be restricted is how long they can store this data, and I believe metadata is still relatively long-lasting when it comes to being stored by your phone company. Actual content of messages is much more restricted for this very concern.

I do think that, in the wake of the NSA leaks and further understanding of just how widespread surveillance is, people in most developed nations should be putting more pressure on getting clearer restrictions that are more widely known to the public.

#6 Edited by TooWalrus (13218 posts) -

Anthrax mail bomb revolution Nader for president

#7 Posted by Slag (4455 posts) -

Huh, the crippling weight of indifference is more disconcerting than anything else...

yeah I'll say. Our freedoms are systematically being taken one by one and the most people seem to manage is "eh".

#9 Posted by Phart_Smears (8 posts) -

@slag said:

@colourful_hippie said:

Huh, the crippling weight of indifference is more disconcerting than anything else...

yeah I'll say. Our freedoms are systematically being taken one by one and the most people seem to manage is "eh".

I don't have time for this nonsense. When's the next episode of Glee?

#10 Posted by alwaysbebombing (1588 posts) -

@andorski said:

I just assume that there is some government worker jacking off to all the data they collect from my internet usage.

With the amount of porn I have. Hell yes. Wait till the can collect my text messages and see all the sexting I do. (Is that what the kids are calling it these days?)

#11 Posted by ninnanuam (283 posts) -

@colourful_hippie said:

Huh, the crippling weight of indifference is more disconcerting than anything else...

I think a lot of people(especially folks that would be frequenting a forum like this) already assume this is something they are doing. I mean, it doesn't seem that far-fetched. It does raise some questions about their use of such data, but when you're signing up to use a phone service, you should be aware that there isn't an assumption of privacy from the police. What should be restricted is how long they can store this data, and I believe metadata is still relatively long-lasting when it comes to being stored by your phone company. Actual content of messages is much more restricted for this very concern.

I do think that, in the wake of the NSA leaks and further understanding of just how widespread surveillance is, people in most developed nations should be putting more pressure on getting clearer restrictions that are more widely known to the public.

There used to be an assumption of privacy when using a telephone. Once upon a time in order to tap or monitor a phone line the police needed an actual warrant, then the organized crime measures were passed, then the anti-terrorism measures. Now it seems, surprise surprise, legislation with broad overreaching language combined with a combative paramilitary police culture is turning America into a surveillance/police state that the Stasi could only dream about.

But its not just the surveillance alone, its the weird combative police culture that seems to have infected the USA in the last 25 years or so. In the right hands (which really don't exist because everyone is corrupt) it could be very useful for collecting data on people in a terrorist cell, or an organised crime operation, but it also seems like a really good way to deal with activist groups, and other "undesirables". After watching some of the police response to the Occupy stuff and looking at the way many different police departments/agencies seem to treat the public as the enemy rather than people to be served (why do small town police departments have armoured cars and riot police now?), I don't think we should allow them such broad powers.

Thing is, while polls show that people dislike this stuff both major political parties have only paid lip service to it and they have no intention of changing it, and without an actual opposition what are "the people" to do, go grab their pitch forks?

#12 Posted by alwaysbebombing (1588 posts) -

I totally just realized this thread was started by someone named Colorful_Hippie (with the King's English spelling)

Just putting that out there.

#13 Edited by TheHumanDove (2523 posts) -

I totally just realized this thread was started by someone named Colorful_Hippie (with the King's English spelling)

Just putting that out there.

THE KING'S ENGLISH

#14 Edited by Colourful_Hippie (4368 posts) -
#15 Edited by CrazyBagMan (843 posts) -

I wish one of the biggest problems I had was someone potentially listening to me talk on the phone with my friends...

#16 Posted by TruthTellah (9153 posts) -
#17 Posted by Jacktrote (58 posts) -

@slag said:

@colourful_hippie said:

Huh, the crippling weight of indifference is more disconcerting than anything else...

yeah I'll say. Our freedoms are systematically being taken one by one and the most people seem to manage is "eh".

They can still buy Christmas trees every year, compete over career positions, and get into relationships with strangers and have sex and the illusion of love.

That's what life is actually about, so as long as they get those things, then they're happy. When you're happy you don't complain!

#18 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4368 posts) -

@colourful_hippie said:

Huh, the crippling weight of indifference is more disconcerting than anything else...

Cant stop big brother

I wish one of the biggest problems I had was someone potentially listening to me talk on the phone with my friends...

Learned helplessness and "it's not a problem until it affects me" are the reasons why our rights have been slowly eroding away without many people noticing.

#19 Posted by Xeiphyer (5605 posts) -

Stingrays have been around and in use for years. Kinda old news at this point =/ Super fucked up, but does have a few legitimate use cases.

#20 Edited by Colourful_Hippie (4368 posts) -

@xeiphyer: I know the tech isn't new, it's the part where they are being used more by local law enforcement which is new.

#21 Edited by Slag (4455 posts) -

@slag said:

@colourful_hippie said:

Huh, the crippling weight of indifference is more disconcerting than anything else...

yeah I'll say. Our freedoms are systematically being taken one by one and the most people seem to manage is "eh".

They can still buy Christmas trees every year, compete over career positions, and get into relationships with strangers and have sex and the illusion of love.

That's what life is actually about, so as long as they get those things, then they're happy. When you're happy you don't complain!

There's sadly a lot of truth to that.