Skip to comments.Justice Dept. Wants to Track All Cellphones Without a Warrant
Posted on 05/11/2012 5:19:24 AM PDT by Mikey_1962
In its relentless never-ending quest for more power to track and follow American citizens through their cellphones, the Department of Justice (DoJ) requested last week that Congress give them easier access to location data stored by cellphone service providers.
Jason Weinstein, a deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justices criminal division, argued that requiring a search warrant to gain such access would cripple his departments efforts to investigate crime and criminals. Said Weinstein,
There is really no fairness and no justice when the law applies differently to different people depending on which courthouse youre sitting in.
For that reason alone, we think Congress should clarify the legal standard.
In other words, because the laws protecting privacy vary somewhat depending upon where an individual citizen lives, Congress should come along and override them all and provide a federal, looser standard, all in the name of security.
The increasing sophistication of cellphone and communications technology in general allows service providers to track virtually every movement of an individual, day or night, at home or work, in a bar or on a golf course. Malte Spitz, a German politician and privacy advocate, obtained his own tracking records from Deutsche Telekom (DT), his service provider, and then published what he found.
From August 2009 to February 2010 DT collected 35,831 pieces of location information which was used to build an interactive map of his movements, revealing a virtual profile of his life:
This profile reveals when Spitz walked down the street, when he took a train, when he was in an airplane. It shows where he was in the cities he visited. It shows when he worked and when he slept, when he could be reached by phone and when [he] was unavailable. It shows when he preferred to talk on his phone and when he preferred to send a text message. It shows which beer gardens he liked to visit in his free time. All in all, it reveals an entire life.
And this is the information the Department of Justice wants access to, just without the hassle of obtaining a search warrant as required under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution before doing so.
The DoJ claims that the Stored Information Act (SCA) should be the model for Congress to follow which allows a lower standard to be applied rather than that of probable cause in the Fourth Amendment. Under the SCA only a subpoena issued by an administrative agency along with prior notice of such snooping is necessary which then avoids crippling the Department of Justices pursuit of justice. The reasoning behind the law is the third party doctrine: when a person knowingly reveals information to a third party [he] relinquishes Fourth Amendment protection in that information.
Weinsteins comments have created a significant and growing protest against such demands, especially from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
For years, we've been arguing that cell phone location data should only be accessible to law enforcement with a search warrant. After all, as web enabled smart phones become more prevalent, this location data reveals an incredibly revealing portrait of your every move. As we've waged this legal battle, the government has naturally disagreed with us, claiming that the Stored Communications Act authorizes the disclosure of cell phone location data with a lesser showing than the probable cause requirement demanded by a search warrant
The problem with the DOJ's position is that it fails to take into account privacy. The only way to ensure "fairness" and "justice," is to demand that our Fourth Amendment rights not be violated by law enforcement without your knowledge.
In January, the Supreme Court rule in United States v Jones that it was illegal for FBI agents to plant a GPS device on Antoine Jones car without first obtaining a search warrant, and then following him around as part of their investigation of his activities. In that case, Justice Sonia Sotomayer came down on the right side:
I would not assume that all information voluntarily disclosed to some member of the public for a limited purpose is, for that reason alone, [not] entitled to Fourth Amendment protection.
Congress isnt likely to grant the DoJ such access, at least before the election. On the contrary, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) have proposed a bill that would require the DoJ or any other agency to obtain a search warrant first before proceeding with their tracking of individuals.
It failed to gain traction but it shows the mood of Congress in granting the DoJ any more power in their never-ending quest to track and follow the nations sovereign citizens through their cellphones.
They’re going to argue that the use of the King’s airwaves is not a right but a privledge, the same as driving on the King’s roads.
Simple enough to flood the network with false tracks.
Buy many cheap cellphones, register them, and then send aloft attached to some sturdy helium weather balloons.
Better yet take a trip cross country and set them aloft in every state.
Or as something really funny attach one to the collar of a dog.
And not your dog.
I just want to remind everyone the sound of heads exploding if the President was Bush.
Whether it is truth or fiction I don't know however it seems like a really decent government set up if it were possible.
Across this government the big push is now to regulate speech
If I were Eric Holder...I surely would want to know all the cross-talk between Issa’s staff and my “justice” dept....
Cell phone tracking? Why not? They always want to do something they shouldn’t be doing.
Can’t do it. It violates the 4th amendment.
Watch Person of Interest and follow how quickly it gets built in actuality.
Liberal heads did explode when Bush wanted to listen in on the muslim terrorists phone calls.
Now the libs want to track innocent Americans.
Shows whose side they are on.
It does violate the 4th.
But this gang ignores the Constitution.
Unless someone with legal power enforces the Constitution, they will continue on with their lawless ways.
they already track cell phone location data
coupling that with street light cams, passport biometric data, drivers licenses, and facebook is enough to yield a person’s location, their facial recognition information (FRI), their associates, their car, their path, and any people they may have met more then once or twice
facebook, passports, and drivers licenses yield the base FRI and assigns a simple database entry for the person (ie: a number). there can be multiple FRI data points as people can have altering events, but these primary points of identification help associate all ‘looks’ of the individual with an actual name
when you drive under a street cam, the FRI is gathered and used to identify the person using the FRI index.
additional passengers in the car will also be analyzed and identified. a strong relationship between the two people will be established.
cellphone location data will help track people with more accuracy... but also can be used to cross check with similar cellphones in the area at the same time. this can help determine whether or not a regular ‘meet’ is occurring and the participants. it can also be used to find other associates
aerial surveillance can also pick up FRI data along with location tracking. further associations can be determined from this data.
adding residential ip information along with FRI tracking and aerial surveillance allows for online identification, assuming simple account information wasn’t enough.
back doors in all telecomms allow for man-in-the-middle attacks for all communications. all ssl comms go through these filters and are essentially transparent to those watching. only sneaker net based ‘keys’ would be enough to obscure any information, but it would also flag the activity and immediately be the focus of further scrutiny
this is nothing more than Holder and the DOJ demanding the ability to use infrared and other high tech to look inside a person’s home without a warrent.
There is no sneaky peeky clause in the constitution.
If I turn off the GPS in my cell phone can they still track? Just asking.
Yes, they still track you.
That is how in Google maps the "traffic" button tells you how fast traffic is moving.
The only way for them to not track you is if you turn off the phone. If you can remove the battery, that's even better.
I need a new cell phone and now I’m thinking of getting a trac phone with cash ...of course, I’d like to keep my old number and it would be easy for the federales to trace my family’s numbers....