Skip to comments.Feds push for tracking cell phones
Posted on 02/11/2010 8:58:30 AM PST by Cheap_Hessian
Two years ago, when the FBI was stymied by a band of armed robbers known as the "Scarecrow Bandits" that had robbed more than 20 Texas banks, it came up with a novel method of locating the thieves.
FBI agents obtained logs from mobile phone companies corresponding to what their cellular towers had recorded at the time of a dozen different bank robberies in the Dallas area. The voluminous records showed that two phones had made calls around the time of all 12 heists, and that those phones belonged to men named Tony Hewitt and Corey Duffey. A jury eventually convicted the duo of multiple bank robbery and weapons charges.
Even though police are tapping into the locations of mobile phones thousands of times a year, the legal ground rules remain unclear, and federal privacy laws written a generation ago are ambiguous at best. On Friday, the first federal appeals court to consider the topic will hear oral arguments (PDF) in a case that could establish new standards for locating wireless devices.
In that case, the Obama administration has argued that warrantless tracking is permitted because Americans enjoy no "reasonable expectation of privacy" in their--or at least their cell phones'--whereabouts. U.S. Department of Justice lawyers say that "a customer's Fourth Amendment rights are not violated when the phone company reveals to the government its own records" that show where a mobile device placed and received calls.
Those claims have alarmed the ACLU and other civil liberties groups, which have opposed the Justice Department's request and plan to tell the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia that Americans' privacy deserves more protection and judicial oversight than what the administration has proposed.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.cnet.com ...
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Right, since everyone has a cell phone they’ll just club people, take their cellphones and then pitch them. Great. And all the Lefty org’s that bashed W. over privacy concerns will A) Scream B) Engage in constructive challenging dialogue with O C) Sit Down and STFU.
No need to answer.
Bush couldn’t get away with this.
I believe it was this decade.
Or the internet.
Those crazy Amish again.
> Clearly the author thought that some invasions of privacy are unreasonable and some are reasonable.
I interpret the Warrants section to imply that even when a search is reasonable, a warrant is needed with specifics.
I suspect the courts interpret the Warrants section the opposite way: When a search is reasonable no warrant is necessary. And only when a search is unreasonable is a warrant necessary. But regardless of the interpretation, the crucial point is a definition of reasonable. If an male 6' 6' with dred locks and "black" features robs a bank it is not reasonable to put out an APB for a Black man. But it might be reasonable to put out an APB with the full description.
If a website is heavy with child porn, it might be reasoable to check out all visitors to that website. But it would not be reasonable to check all visitors to google or yahoo to find the child porn violator among that group that is overwhelmingly not into child porn.
Is there a way to define unreasonable that is not based on anecdotal examples?
“Reasonable” is whatever a judge wants it to be.
Yet. But wait. A year ago in my state some nutball made a bomb that was remotely activated by one of those throwaway phones. Killed a bomb squad tech and maimed a city police chief.
From the remains they were able to identify the phone down to where and when it was bought, and identified a suspect by store security video from that time. But they'll say, you know, it's for the common good that folks (that's what corpse-man calls them) should have to show papers to make a phone call. Any phone call. Technology exists to do that right now and just wait, some "patriot act" 3 or 4 will have that.
Since 2000 the federal government has hooked into almost all of the communications infrastructure in this country and much of the world. The telcos (most of them) gleefully hand over any records and information they want, in order to stay in business. Only one (QWest) in the US offered any resistance and I believe those days are done.
And yet you would be committing a crime if you modified a regular GSM phone to listen to someone else’s phone conversation, because they have an expectation of privacy.
It would be a waste of resource. All you would get were conversations ordering lobster and planning Latino night at the White House.
I like yer thinking :>>
And now we get to where we are now. Warrantless tracing and eavesdropping is considered acceptable because of ‘practical’ law enforcement purposes. Incrementalism does indeed work.
You are so right!
Or your snail-mail....
Heh heh, you know there are a LOT of special ops guys over 35 who would take offense at that. :)
LOL yeah I was just about to say! 20 successful bank robberies and they're too dumb to know they shouldn't use phones with traceable info!
The whole concept of “stare decisis” (stand on decided cases) assumes that the constitution will never be shredded, which of course *is* being shredded right before our very eyes. A more obvious attack on our sovereignty as well as privacy has never existed in the history of our country.
I almost want to move to Canada (their privacy laws are a bit stronger than ours).
They probably don’t realize they are narcissists. Most don’t.
No doubt ;-)
Lots of people around here will say “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about.” Surely, they trust the good graces and intentions of Obama, Rahm, Clinton, Holder and the like much more than I do.
What straw will it be? Or do we continue to just stand by and do nothing about it?
I AM SICK AND TIRED OF THESE TRAITORS! IT'S WAY PAST TIME!
here is the more interesting thing.
Most drug dealers use pre-paid cell phones because they know that police can track them with their cells. Get warrants for their calls etc.
So the vast majority do use pre-paid where no name is required. Terrorists do the same thing.
That they think you have no expectation to privacy or that you should act as if you don’t?
because i see the two as different things.
Great graphic and commentary.
But what you are describing is not about safety but is about security. Security is about after the fact...id the perps. Safety is about defense in the now.
Safety is important. security less so
real simple, remove the battery until you are going to make a call.
Anyone calling you can just leave a voice mail!
What’s really nuts, is people here, and on DU change their definition of when the government has “gone to far” based on who is in office. Very shortsighted... Very very dangerous. Very stupid. But people over here talked about Bush as if he was a god. At DU they talk about the Obmessiah the same way. The sheeple love the golden calf.
And as I said they caught the guy who made the bombs with the throwaway phones even without him giving ID. And presumably a smart guy - built one easily found fake bomb and hid a similar real one a little better at the place next door to where he called in the threat. Wanted to kill people and accomplished that by instilling complacency in the pros with the fake bomb. The second bomb (the real one), the veteran bomb squad tech just picked it up and carried it in to an occupied building to get out of the rain. The perp, from a vantage point, just called the rigged phone and kaboom.
Now, among the baddest of the bad we have bin Laden. Everybody knows and knew who he is (was?) and his whole life story, and I dare say knowing all that did nothing to stop him.
I got a question for everyone out there....notice the police has moved slowly from the six shooter neighborhood cop to this military tactical equipment flash bang wearing storm trooper ? I get the role of law enforcement even though I believe man in general can not be given power to wield, but the force they can apply is very, very, disconcerting.
I dont hear the ACLU screaming the way they did under Pres Bushs Patriot Act.
Only foreigners and terrorists and people who use the PUBLIC library deserve privacy protection.
Today we have people putting everything about themselves out there in public forums. Obviously, they have no expectation of privacy, or seemingly any desire for it. Such is their choice. But that doesn't give the police or the Feds the right to trace or tap at will.
The line of thinking the .gov is pursuing could be used by hackers to get free of charges. ‘Hey, you have no expectation of privacy when using electronic mediums, so I can hack all I please!’. Slippery slope and all that.
But the US Constitution's Bill of Rights was never meant to be an enumeration of rights like it is now being treated as.
I agree with what you say. But as slippery slopes go, the more we look back to the constitution the more people like Clinton try to change it by it’s own words.
being a living document as they say, they think times have changed so much with technology and all that there is a right to change it.
While people like us think there is a duty to preserve it.
Maybe I am just thinking out loud, but I just wish we could go back to some simpler times in many respects.
Is there an expectation to privacy. Certainly, but only in so far as what you do in the privacy of your own home. The very minute that you allow what you do to leave your domicile, being a smart person, you should expect that it will no longer be private.
Also the moment that you or your actions interact with any other person you might as well figure the rest of the world can and may know about it.
Is this right? No, I wish it were more secure, But it is what I live by.
they CAN be used when part of a totality of evidence.
they just busted a shooter on the U of M(MN) campus here this week using this method.
My point was that cell phone evidence cannot be used to establish an alibi since while the cell phone may have hit a certain tower at a certain time, that doesn’t establish who was carrying the phone.
For example, a murder was committed at 10pm. At 10:20pm, the suspect’s cell phone hits a tower signal 55 miles away and an hour later hits one 100 miles away along the same interstate. The suspect’s attorney argues that his client was miles away from the crime by virtue of his cell phone being logged miles away. In the case I vaguely recall, the judge ruled that evidence inadmissible because a confederate could have been carrying the phone.