Although not technically related to each other, the Secret Service and Immigration and Customs Enforcement have been quick and lax with their rules on cell phone tracking, and the FBI’s use of phone location data from commercial sources. Recent reports of purchases are an important wake-up call. They remind us that the handy mobile device that many carry around is the most cost-effective surveillance system ever invented. We have our own tracking We are happy to pay his beacon bills and tag whereabouts as well as check social media and make the occasional voice call.
The Rattler is a weekly newsletter by JD Tuccille. If you care about government excesses and visible threats to everyday freedoms, this is for you.
Trick your phone to reveal your presence
OIG reports refer to the use of what is commonly referred to as “.Stingraytechnology — a device that simulates a cell phone tower and tricks phones within range into connecting to revealing its location. “When used to track a suspect’s cell phone, it also collects information about the phones of countless bystanders in the vicinity,” the ACLU said. Warning about their use.
Due to their promiscuous nature, stingrays are to be used only with court approval. This usually means a warrant, and according to reports, authorities were obtaining warrants when needed. However, in “emergency” situations where quick action is required, law enforcement agencies are still expected to obtain fewer pen registration orders. You must apply for a pen registration order within hours, effectively allowing post-mortem monitoring. It doesn’t always happen.
For a subset of investigations from 2020 to 2021, “The Secret Service has not obtained a pen registration court order. [redacted] The OIG says it uses CSS to conduct investigations in emergency situations, as required by policy and law. During the same period, for the category of investigations compiled, “ICE HSI did not obtain a warrant and was unable to provide evidence that it applied for or obtained a pen register court order.”
Agents at each agency were also unable to document “supervisory approval prior to CSS use and data deletion upon mission completion.”
“The fact that government agencies are using these devices without the greatest regard for the privacy and rights of the individuals around them is surprising, but not surprising. commented Matthew Guariglia, Senior Policy Analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) said: “The federal government, particularly agencies such as his HSI and ICE, have a questionable and troublesome relationship with the excessive collection of personal data about individuals.”
Get your place at the right price
And that brings us to FBI cell phone surveillance. This revelation may be a little less dramatic, as it refers to the (probably) past practice of determining where people have been rather than where they are now, but it’s still an eye-opener. bottom.
“To my knowledge, we currently do not purchase commercial database information containing location data derived from Internet advertising,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. responded During the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on March 8, I answered questions from Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR). “As before, I understand that such information was purchased for certain national security pilot projects. However, it has been inactive for some time.” offered to provide more information at
“If we use so-called adtech location data, it will be through a court-approved process,” Ray added.
Ray’s “ad tech” are software and tools used to target digital advertising campaigns. To personalize ads, the apps we use on our mobile devices are: many Data about us, what we do and where we go is associated with a unique ID.
“An identifier called a mobile advertising identifier allows companies to track people across the internet and apps,” said Charlie Warzel and Stuart A. Thompson. I have written for new york times “They should be anonymous, and smartphone owners can reset them or disable them altogether. Our findings show that the promise of anonymity is a farce. Several companies offer tools that allow anyone with the data to match their identities against other databases.”
The nature of our cell phone tracking beacons is so overt and intrusive that the Supreme Court ruled that: Carpenter v. United States (2018) “Governments usually require a warrant to gain access. [cell-site location information]”However, adtech collects GPS data from commercial tools, not from mobile operators, and is considered marketing data. That data is openly sold.” carpenter decision.
Ray said that to his knowledge (a good hedge) the FBI did not. the current Buy adtech. However, even if it were true, it is a policy decision and not a legally binding guarantee. other institutions very definitely do Buy commercial cell phone location dataand the court has not yet considered.
hi-tech fishing expedition
And post-carpenter, even the most accurate phone company location data will continue to be available with court approval. The court now states thatgeofence warrantThis allows law enforcement agencies to ask for data about who carried the device in a specified area at a specified time, rather than an individual. Think high-tech fishing expeditions made possible by smartphones.
“These warrants provide police with good reason to believe that any of the devices are somehow related to the crime under investigation,” said Jennifer Lynch, director of surveillance litigation at the EFF. Since we didn’t ask for it, we argue that it’s an unconstitutional ‘general warrant’.” I have written in January. “Instead, they target everyone in the area, giving police unlimited discretion to decide who to investigate further.”
So the next time you leave the house to do something you don’t want anyone to see, think about what’s in your pocket. If it includes your phone, it may be carrying a tracking beacon.