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 ...
“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.