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Cellphones Government Handhelds Privacy United States

NSA Tracking Cellphone Locations Worldwide 256

Posted by timothy
from the relax-citizens-we're-only-watching-you-closely dept.
tramp writes "The National Security Agency is gathering nearly 5 billion records a day on the whereabouts of cellphones around the world, according to top-secret documents and interviews with U.S. intelligence officials, enabling the agency to track the movements of individuals — and map their relationships — in ways that would have been previously unimaginable. Of course it is 'only metadata' and absolutely not invading privacy if you ask our 'beloved' NSA." Pretty soon, the argument about whether you have in any given facet of your life a "reasonable expectation of privacy" may take on a whole new meaning. Also at Slash BI.
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NSA Tracking Cellphone Locations Worldwide

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  • Love this quote (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @10:46AM (#45607543)

    Robert Litt, general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which oversees the NSA, said “there is no element of the intelligence community that under any authority is intentionally collecting bulk cellphone location information about cellphones in the United States.”

    The dude is quite the contortionist... the statement basically tells us absolutely nothing.

    On second thought - it tells us everything.

  • NSA Delenda Est (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Phoenix666 (184391) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @10:53AM (#45607621)

    I like the idea the folks in Utah had to cut off the water supply from the NSA facility so they're unable to cool their hardware and it melts. An across-the-board move to shun them and their conspirators in Washington would send the clear message that they had better change course and obey the law before the American people compel them through more drastic measures.

  • Re:No surprise (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nospam007 (722110) * on Thursday December 05, 2013 @10:55AM (#45607653)

    "Anyone surprised by this? I imagined they were doing that anyway"

    No. They said in the past, that they would log the metadata of citizens doing foreign calls.

    They just didn't mention that they also log all the metadata of "all foreign countries", because per definition all they are doing are 'foreign calls'.

  • Re:Fuck You, USA (Score:4, Interesting)

    by digitalchinky (650880) <dtchky@gmail.com> on Thursday December 05, 2013 @11:07AM (#45607745)

    What else is there to say? I would start by telling your telecommunications carrier to encrypt every single SS7 link they own. Different keys on every channel, in every trunk, everywhere, all of them. That one act would be utterly blinding. This 'meta data' problem could be solved easily and permanently, there is just no incentive to do so when your arms are tied or there is money to be made.

  • by ImOuttaHere (2996813) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @11:12AM (#45607797)

    Exactly!!! Well illustrated points.

    Standards of "reasonable-ness" in the US and UK are completely screwed up. More importantly, claiming illegal actions "reasonable" does not make them any less unlawful, now does it?

    Pretty soon, the argument about whether you have in any given facet of your life a "reasonable expectation of privacy" may take on a whole new meaning.

    No, it absolutely will not. People need to get through their heads that just because your rights are violated, that doesn't mean expecting them not to be becomes unreasonable. If someone breaks into your house every day, it doesn't become "reasonable" for them to do so, or unreasonable for you to expect people to stay out of your house.

    The logic espoused by the quoted idea is the same as saying if police were to start strip searching everyone without cause, it would be reasonable simply because it always happens.

    Stop that.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @11:13AM (#45607811)

    Yes. Oh, you mean in the US? No, are you nuts?

    Take a wild guess why.

    I used to make long and rather expensive vacations in the US. It was a great country to spend some fun time (and quite a few 1000 bucks) in. It's no longer the case, sadly.

  • by ImOuttaHere (2996813) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @11:16AM (#45607857)

    Er. No. Three letter agency spying on US citizens is illegal. Period. Ever read the 4th amendment to your constitution? Perhaps you should.

    The logic espoused by the quoted idea is the same as saying if police were to start strip searching everyone without cause, it would be reasonable simply because it always happens.

    Yes, it is. Gone through an airport lately?

  • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @11:19AM (#45607893)

    I agree with you, of course.

    But at the same time, I get what they mean too, and I think it's the result of some poorly chosen words on the part of judges decades ago. They never should have referred to it as an "expectation", since our expectations are shaped by the world around us, regardless of the legality of what is taking place in it. As such, if we're aware of widespread surveillance that is taking place, then technically we should have no reasonable expectation of privacy, even though we may have reason to believe that it should exist.

    What we need is a different word. Something that refers to an expectation that is only shaped by things occurring as they are supposed to. I suppose we have "wishful thinking", but I was hoping for something that sounded a bit better than that.

  • Re:Fuck You, USA (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday December 05, 2013 @11:27AM (#45607993)

    Actually, yes, that's how the human mind works. If you let someone get away with it, more will follow suit.

    I remember an experiment where a "No littering" sign was put up on a corner where people used to dump their trash. They cleaned up the place and put up the sign, and then they observed what happened. A few people came up with their bulky waste, saw the sign, saw that it was clean and turned around with their waste. Nobody dumped their trash.

    Then they placed a few items of "waste" underneath the sign and continued to observe. Again, people came by with trash and they had no qualms dumping their trash right underneath the "no littering" sign, simply because they were not the first to break the law. Someone else already did, so it's ok.

    Don't let any government get away with it. If one of them does it, it's ok for the others to follow.

  • Re:Love this quote (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chihowa (366380) * on Thursday December 05, 2013 @11:49AM (#45608245)

    The more qualified a statement is, the more likely it is a lie by omission.

    That applies to all areas of life, but is extremely useful when interpreting the statements of politicians and other "authorities".

He keeps differentiating, flying off on a tangent.

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