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Careful What You Post, the FBI Has More of These 761

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the do-you-see-what-i-see dept.
jamie writes "A comment posted to a website got its author's *friend's* car an unwanted aftermarket addon. The Orion Guardian ST820, a GPS tracking device, was attached to the underside of the car by the FBI. No warrant required. The bugged friend, a college student studying marketing, was apparently under suspicion because he's half-Egyptian. As Bruce Schneier says, 'If they're doing this to someone so tangentially connected to a vaguely bothersome post on an obscure blog, just how many of us have tracking devices on our cars right now ...' The ACLU is investigating." This follows up on our earlier mention of the same student, who turned the tracking device over to the FBI.
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Careful What You Post, the FBI Has More of These

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  • by bigstrat2003 (1058574) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @01:16PM (#33884370)
    Unfortunately, no it won't. It'll cause the general public, which is composed of idiots, to shake their heads at how awful those anonymous internet people are.
  • I am a Muslim (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mapkinase (958129) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @01:16PM (#33884374) Homepage Journal

    .. and most of my friends do not care about this. It's part of the religion to care less about possible adversities as a result of your good action.

    Albanian emigrant - one of those that were trapped by FBI via Egyptian scumbag into the army base plot - famously said to that informant at some point (pre-arrest, of course): "I do not care if you work for FBI, I will do what I have to do". (something to that avail).

    That's the attitude unbelievers should learn from Muslims: if you stand for something right, do not be afraid of adversary consequences.

  • Re:get a lawsuit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hrvatska (790627) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @01:23PM (#33884478)
    After making that comment you might want to check your car for a tracking device.
  • Re:got spyware? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by postbigbang (761081) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @01:24PM (#33884482)

    What a gentle and meaningful way to solve a problem!

    Instead, why not drive a bugged vehicle to some interesting destinations?

    After all, a paranoid Castle Doctrine threatening to execute federal workers or contractors wouldn't get you under any kind of real suspicion, would it? After all, this is just between us, right?

  • Motorcycles (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @01:26PM (#33884506) Homepage Journal
    Here is one other advantage of using a motorcycle as your primary means of transportation. It's a lot harder to hide anything on a motorcycle than it is to hide something on a car.
  • Re:got spyware? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Surt (22457) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @01:26PM (#33884510) Homepage Journal

    Yeah, because the FBI sucks at finding good times to do these things. Good luck with that. They'll shoot you dead before you make it out your front door with your gun. Unless you happen to be that one navy seal who posts on slashdot, you lose in this confrontation.

  • Re:Bzzzt. Wrong. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kellyb9 (954229) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @01:29PM (#33884540)
    Agreed, the only part that's troubling is that none of this required a warrant. If they had an issued warrant, I wouldn't care.
  • Re:I am a Muslim (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dan667 (564390) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @01:29PM (#33884542)
    Actually this is the attitude of all religious nuts. Extremist Christians blew up a Planned Parenthood in California last month even though it is clearly illegal. Israeli Extremists are occupying the West Bank, because they think it was given to them by God. All religious extremism has this same type of stupidity.
  • by nyvalbanat (1393403) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @01:32PM (#33884584)
    ... to use public transportation. Go green!
  • Re:get a lawsuit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bigstrat2003 (1058574) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @01:33PM (#33884608)

    You know what the retarded thing is? The friend's comment that supposedly aroused suspicion is completely innocuous. All he's doing is pointing out how easy it is to attack the 99% of targets we haven't tried to harden, rather than the 1% we have, and concluding terrorism isn't much of a threat as a result.

    Agree with his conclusions or disagree, it's hard to shake the idea that the FBI is punishing him because he had the nerve to think rationally, and point out how retarded our whole "anti-terrorism" thing is. How dare he see through the farce?!

  • Re:got spyware? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @01:35PM (#33884628)
    That is not how Castle Doctrine works, and you do a great disservice to all responsible gun owners by spreading such FUD, not to mention being a poor example of character. There would be insufficient evidence from somebody just walking up to your vehicle, stooping down, and then walking away for you to 'reasonably believe' that they were committing an act sufficient enough to warrant a response of deadly force. You would not *ever* get that to stand up in court.

    People like you are an embarrassment to those of us who work hard to get things like Castle Doctrine in place, and then you interpret it, in complete ignorance, to mean that you can kill any person for any reason so long as they have a foot over your property line. I wouldn't be surprised if you were a false flag plant of gun control advocates out to make gun owners look bad.
  • Re:got spyware? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rednip (186217) <rednip@noSpaM.gmail.com> on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @01:40PM (#33884686) Journal

    lawful execution by Castle Doctrine law.

    Can you tell me the last time a citizen was able to successfully use weapons to defend his property from 'intrusion' by any determined authority, local or federal? Rambo fantasies are so lame.

  • Re:I am a Muslim (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @01:45PM (#33884748)
    Dan667 has already said what I was going to say. This is why people are afraid of Muslims and other religious fundamentalists. All you apparently need is to feel what you're doing is right and then you ignore everyone and everything else. It's a dangerous mindset that is divorced from reality and responsibility by design. It is the very mindset that has enabled and empowered all of the atrocities committed in the name of religion, and for that matter, ideologies in general.
  • Re:get a lawsuit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @01:46PM (#33884760)

    A former FBI agent commented on one of the stories that this is a rather old model, the newer ones hook in in the engine compartment directly to power and don't need batteries, so it might be harder then you think.

    Well, to get to the power they would have to patch into some wires, or go in through the hood. Ignoring the fact that they do not own the gasoline that powers my vehicle, the interior of my vehicle is not a public place.

  • Re:I am a Muslim (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Abcd1234 (188840) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @01:54PM (#33884872) Homepage

    and most of my friends do not care about this. It's part of the religion to care less about possible adversities as a result of your good action.

    Yeah. See, *sane* people fight for the fucking rights their government is supposed to guarantee them. Shrugging your shoulders, grinning, and bearing it because you feel it's some tribulation placed upon you by god is a brilliant way to ensure your continued persecution at the hands of those who would use you as a scapegoat in an ugly political climate (like, say, a period dominated by a weak economy, a couple of ugly wars, and a highly divided populace).

    You help *no one* with your high-minded apathy. All you do is enable the bigots and the opportunists, implicitly validating their actions by refusing to fight against them.

  • Re:Strange (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @01:58PM (#33884938)
    interestingly from a fairly conservative judge appointed by Reagan

    Ah yes, because we all know how much the libs just love the constitution... Hope and change! All the old NeoCon policies against American freedom were going to fall by the wayside! How's it going with the PATRIOT Act repeal again?
  • Re:I am a Muslim (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Culture20 (968837) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @02:16PM (#33885190)

    if you stand for something right, do not be afraid of adversary consequences.

    Actually this is the attitude of all religious nuts. Extremist Christians blew up a Planned Parenthood in California last month even though it is clearly illegal. Israeli Extremists are occupying the West Bank, because they think it was given to them by God. All religious extremism has this same type of stupidity.

    You interpreted his statement 180degrees. He was saying "Don't be afraid of what others will do to you" (ie expect to be brutalized for what you believe because people will misunderstand) Of course, he chose one of the _worst_ possible examples since the FBI clearly understood correctly that the dude wanted to attack an army base.

  • Re:Legal tracking. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by aekafan (1690920) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @02:22PM (#33885288)
    Oh, that's easy: Because the government said they could. When you make the laws, you can do whatever you want.
  • Re:get a lawsuit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @02:23PM (#33885322) Homepage Journal

    and get it to the supreme court. if they say this is legal, burn it down.

    From what I can tell, the FBI's only reason to place this bug on the guy's car is that he's "half Egyptian".

    I suppose next is having your car bugged if you're half-Mexican (in Arizona) or half-a-fag, or half liberal, or have uTorrent installed on your computer, or don't go to church on Sunday or if you don't have a little metal fish attached to the back of your car.

    What a second-rate nation the US has become in the past thirty years.

  • Re:Rules... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rotide (1015173) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @02:25PM (#33885348)
    Oh that's fine. If it's standard hardware just let me know what it looks like and I'll purchase a similar sized roll of copper mesh. Or a hammer to beat it to death with.
  • Re:Motorcycles (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Angst Badger (8636) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @02:29PM (#33885406)

    It's a lot harder to hide anything on a motorcycle than it is to hide something on a car.

    Eh, sort of. When's the last time you looked at the underside of your engine block? While there are fewer places to hide things on a bike, even one is enough if you don't check it.

  • Re:get a lawsuit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by catmistake (814204) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @02:29PM (#33885408) Journal

    and get it to the supreme court. if they say this is legal, burn it down. simple really.

    Too late. SCOTUS has already changed the meaning of the Second Amendment to something the Founders never intended. The purpose of the Second was so that those that carried arms could organize and could protect others from our own government. Now, it means self-defense. From selfless to selfish in just two, well-publicized cases.

  • Re:get a lawsuit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by shadowfaxcrx (1736978) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @02:29PM (#33885416)

    I don't think it's cops up their asses. I think it's the same old tired kneejerk "TERRIST!" reaction we've seen ever since 9/11. Any time someone wants to do something that's blatantly unethical or illegal (like, say, waterboarding people, or kidnapping them, chaining them to the floor of an airplane, flying them to Syria, and having them tortured with methods up to and including administering electric shocks to their genitals) (Yes, this actually happened, many times - research "extraordinary rendition") they just run to a judge who may not particularly like the cops, but who is terrified of the terrorists, and claim that what they're doing might prevent a terrorist attack.

    Well. Yes. It might. Hell, nuking the whole planet would prevent them too, but no one's suggesting that. Why not?

    And then after they've been doing the waterboarding or the extraordinary rendition or the illegal surveillance, they say "Well see, we haven't had any terrorist attacks and therefore it must be working!" which is a completely illogical train of thought. We haven't had any dragon attacks either, but that doesn't mean that the little boy 2 houses down from me who keeps waving a plastic sword around to drive the dragons away is actually having an effect.

    Yes, terrorists are out there and yes, we need to do everything we can to prevent them from pulling off another attack like that, but it has to be both logical and consistent with the laws of the land. To suddenly declare private property as public-property-for-the-purposes-of-government-spying goes against every founding principle of this country. To follow people around because of something they said in a political discussion on a message forum, or because they're not white enough, is un-American, unpatriotic, and anyone doing it or authorizing it should be jailed.

  • Re:I am a Muslim (Score:3, Insightful)

    by iammani (1392285) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @02:30PM (#33885430)

    Er, wouldnt you do what you think is right, irrespective of what others think about it? If thats the definition of a religious extremist, I would be an extremist too.

  • Re:I am a Muslim (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @02:31PM (#33885446)

    Blowing up a concentration camp to free Jews would have been illegal. Godwin, whatever. If an ethical theory can't handle extremes it's not worthy of being called a theory. Somebody could easily justify blowing up a Planned Parenthood as an atheistic consequentialist with a life theory of value. Government is temporal, it's just another system-- People knowingly do illegal things all the time, like smoking pot, bringing their families across the US/Mexican border, etc. If you want to really criticize an action, 'illegal' is simply not an effective word to be using.

  • Re:I am a Muslim (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sourcerror (1718066) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @02:32PM (#33885460)

    On the other hand the Holocaust was enabled by conformism.

  • Re:get a lawsuit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by poetmatt (793785) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @02:32PM (#33885476) Journal

    it's incredibly easy. Why would they have to have it hooked straight up the the battery? They can splice a wire and have it run off, and if it's hidden anywhere you pretty much wont' see it.

    This is not complicated, but it is pretty scary and definitely something we should hope the supreme court will strike down soon.

  • Re:Legal tracking. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @02:33PM (#33885480)
    Actually, you're probably wearing an even better FBI tracker on your belt right now. You even paid for it yourself, with two-year contract to a carrier who will gladly allow the FBI to follow you anytime they like. Hell, you've even given them a mic and video camera to use too. Think that sounds all tin-foil hat? Read all about it [cnet.com].
  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @02:33PM (#33885494) Homepage Journal

    The person writing the summary has no idea why the FBI bugged the man.

    I'd bet that the FBI has no idea why the FBI bugged the man, except that some lazy SAC got a boxful and decided to put them on the car of anyone with brown skin or a middle-eastern name.

    Remember, the burden of proof for why this tracking device was placed is always on the authorities who placed it. I really don't think you want a situation where someone has to explain why they should not have tracking devices on their car.

  • Re:get a lawsuit (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TrisexualPuppy (976893) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @02:39PM (#33885590)
    Big fail on your part. Presumption of innocence and suspicion are NOT mutually exclusive.

    This should go without saying, but law enforcement should give the benefit of the doubt to the suspect while investigating as carefully and fully as reasonably warranted. What "law enforcement" operates now basically boils down to is a bunch of blokes shoot up testosterone and then go out for blood as they are the most important persons on the face of the earth. Amen.

    What the people here on slashdot are never going to understand is that the motivation for most men's actions is just the power trip.
  • Re:I am a Muslim (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wolf12886 (1206182) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @02:42PM (#33885648)

    So your suggesting that If the people writing the laws tell you and action is wrong, that makes it intrinsically true? He said nothing about ignoring popular opinion, only that his ultimate choice of the correct course of action was not based on the personal consequences of said decision.

    I hate to pull a godwin, but if you'd lived in Nazi Germany would you have sided [ethically] with the Nazis, simply because theirs was the prevailing ideology?

  • Re:get a lawsuit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PRMan (959735) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @02:58PM (#33885924)

    or don't go to church on Sunday or if you don't have a little metal fish attached to the back of your car

    Or do.

  • Re:I am a Muslim (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ElectricTurtle (1171201) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @03:12PM (#33886156)
    Where 'conformism' is getting a enough people to agree to disregard everyone and everything else together, yes, but it's just scaling up the individual problem to a group problem. The difference between a person who hates homosexuals because of his personal interpretation of a religious text who goes on to commit murder on that pretext and a group of people who hate homosexuals because of a collective interpretation of a religious text who then go on to abuse the authority of state to execute the otherwise innocent on that pretext is purely organizational.
  • Re:get a lawsuit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by houghi (78078) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @03:20PM (#33886290)

    So basically what you are saying is that first they came after the Arabs ...

  • Re:get a lawsuit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jimrthy (893116) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @03:32PM (#33886466) Homepage Journal

    In order to get a warrant, the cop has to swear to the judge that there's probable cause to believe there's some connection with a crime.

    The 4th Amendment was written for situations like this and civil asset forfeiture. Our legal system has gotten turned completely upside down. Judges have forgotten that they're supposed to protect innocent victims, whether the perpetrators were other civilians or Congress.

    Yes, there is the point about having a cop follow the suspect around all day. But cops are always short-handed, and technology like this lets them crack down tighter on the whole "Big Brother" thing. If they have to have an actual person dedicated to following the kid around, odds are they'll limit themselves to suspects who are actually worth investigating.

  • Re:I am a Muslim (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Raenex (947668) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @03:35PM (#33886526)

    Stop kidding yourself. You're living in an extremely sinful country (according to Muslim beliefs) and enjoying its benefits. You don't want to move because of the adverse consequences to yourself. You said as much by saying, "it's not a very easy decision the last half of your life".

  • Re:got spyware? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @03:50PM (#33886700)

    They're going to bust you for destruction of federal property. You can argue that it was put on your car on your property, but I wouldn't expect to get very far.

    The lesson here is do not post to the internet about the issue until you've fully taken it apart and documented it.
    Then post anonymously via an internet cafe or an unsecured wifi access point.
    But please do make the effort so that the rest of us can find out as much about it as possible.

  • Re:got spyware? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by guzzirider (551141) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @03:57PM (#33886774)

    That is when having 3 or 4 Pit Bulls around is real handy ...kind of difficult accessing the underside of a car wit a Pit jaw locked on you’re ass

  • Re:get a lawsuit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nabsltd (1313397) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @04:12PM (#33887000)

    you can access the engine compartment from the underside of the car...

    Not every car.

    I know of several models where you have to have a pit or ramps to do anything significant under the vehicle. Sure, if you can find a person who is less than about 5" thick, they could get under the car, but that doesn't mean they could do any real work.

    Also, the last few cars I have owned have skid plates [wikipedia.org] that basically cover the entire bottom of the engine compartment. Removing them without putting the car on a lift means that you're going to be taking over an hour to plant the tracking device.

  • Re:get a lawsuit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LanMan04 (790429) on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @04:19PM (#33887100)

    Haven't you heard, the US is a "Christian Nation"!

  • Re:get a lawsuit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @05:36PM (#33888024) Homepage Journal

    although we're largely a nation of faith

    I don't believe that's true.

    Yes, we are a nation made up of people who predominantly self-identify as "Christians" when asked in a poll question, that's not really the best way to count. I would bet that if you asked people if they were "moral people" or "ethical people" we'd probably get 95% of people saying that of course, they were. That would hardly mean that 95% of Americans were either moral or ethical. Just that we like to think of ourselves that way.

    On the other hand, if you were to ask people if their neighbors were "Christian" you would get a much lower number than you get when people are self-identifying. It's because calling yourself a Christian or a "person of faith" is a long sight from actually being so.

    If you were to observe the people who call themselves "people of faith" you'd find that only a fraction of them really are. Most would probably turn out to be people who say a little prayer when they're betting on red or when they're afraid their wives are going to find out they've been banging the neighbor or when they're running for office.

    But I agree with you that to even suggest that "half-Egyptian" means you deserve to have surveillance put on you (even if your dad did die last year on a trip to Egypt) is to suggest that the American experiment is a complete failure, which it may well be.

    I think the main takeaway from the past few decades is that the United States has turned into a second-rate nation. And not for the reasons that the Tea Party would have you believe. It's because we've turned over our society, our culture and our government to investors who have not turned out to have our best interests at heart. We knew going in that multinational corporations were going to put profits ahead of the best interests of the country, so we shouldn't be a bit surprised. We knew going in that "supply-side" economics was a scam to concentrate wealth in a very few people. But apparently, the siren song of cheap consumer goods and E-Z credit was much stronger than our desire to fulfill the promise of our Founding Fathers. So corporate governance needs fear of the "other" and a selfishness that masquerades as "Liberty" to stay in power, which has begotten "libertarians" and the "tea party", so we end up, paradoxically, with a country that's on lock-down both physically and intellectually, where everyone is more worried about the abstract "national debt" than the very real credit card balances they've been racking up. Misdirection. Promoting make-believe Liberty in order to enslave a people is not a new idea, but in the hands of big money and corporate media, it's effective beyond belief.

  • Re:get a lawsuit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @06:18PM (#33888458) Homepage Journal

    You do realize the US wasn't exactly perfect before 30 years ago don't you?

    Of course, but at least most Americans until the '80s had a reasonable expectation that their kids would have a better life than they had, which for a parent is as much as one can hope. Whether you're talking about financially, or civil rights, or education, or however you measure "quality of life", things were getting a little bit better for each generation.

    Starting in the early 90's, after supply-side economics really started to do it's dirty work, the realization set in that our kids would not have it nearly as well unless you were a member of the top few percent. The trend accelerates.

  • Re:get a lawsuit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Wednesday October 13, 2010 @08:44PM (#33889374) Homepage Journal

    especially to those who determine the truth of a movement based on the actions of its members.

    If there is any way to evaluate the "truth" of a religion, I would say "based on the behavior of its adherents" is high on the list.

    But of course, you and I both know that evaluating the "truth" of a religion is like evaluating the mass of a poem.

  • Re:I am a Muslim (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Securityemo (1407943) on Thursday October 14, 2010 @08:04AM (#33891942) Journal
    This is not what I said, and this man is probably much less of a warmonger than me. Any interpretation of Sharia law is unacceptably oppressive from my point of view, but as he states further down, he supports the Saudi Arabic view of it. This includes corporal punishments (lashings) of children and even death for homosexuality, just to name one easily-identifiable thing (even if he does not seem to have this perception of it). It is the internal oppression within countries and families and culture I care about, even if it does not involve me. I have no fear of external action on Saudi Arabias part at all.

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