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US Marshals Seize Police Stingray Records To Keep Them From the ACLU 272

Posted by timothy
from the not-even-in-the-sunshine-state dept.
An anonymous reader writes 'A routine request in Florida for public records regarding the use of a surveillance tool known as stingray took an extraordinary turn recently when federal authorities seized the documents before police could release them. "This is consistent with what we've seen around the country with federal agencies trying to meddle with public requests for stingray information," Wessler said, noting that federal authorities have in other cases invoked the Homeland Security Act to prevent the release of such records. "The feds are working very hard to block any release of this information to the public." ... "We've seen our fair share of federal government attempts to keep records about stingrays secret, but we've never seen an actual physical raid on state records in order to conceal them from public view," the ACLU wrote in a blog post today.'
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US Marshals Seize Police Stingray Records To Keep Them From the ACLU

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  • Ha! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05, 2014 @05:49PM (#47175285)
    Just another example of the "open administration"!
    • Re:Ha! (Score:5, Funny)

      by jc42 (318812) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @05:52PM (#47175313) Homepage Journal

      Just another example of the "open administration"!

      All Your Doors are Open to US.

    • Re:Ha! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fufufang (2603203) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @08:48PM (#47176325)

      I think the difference between Bush and Obama is that Bush wasn't hypocritical. Bush didn't tell everyone that he was going to make his government more open, whereas Obama did.

      P.S. I would upvote you if I had mod points.

      • Re:Ha! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by dryeo (100693) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @09:49PM (#47176547)

        People have been demanding open government so politicians now need to promise openness and transparency to get voted in. Once voted in they realize they really don't want to be open after all and lately seem to go in the opposite direction totally, namely it's the people who are expected and forced to be open and transparent while we get record secretive governments.
        Both my Provincial and Federal governments, right wingers both, have done the same and I expect it'll continue no matter who is in power.

    • Re:Ha! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @10:08PM (#47176637)

      nothing to do with obama.

      everything to do with entrenched TLA's who refuse to be called on their illegal and immoral behavior.

      would happen with any modern US president.

      obama is not helping but I don't blame him. he's just a high level pawn, afterall. he is not the one we have to worry about. he goes in a few years. the TLA's stay and continue their raid on america.

      mark my words: if we end up with a republican in office next time, NOTHING WILL IMPROVE. and if we get a D in office, again, NOTHING WILL IMPROVE.

      please stop blaming the wrong levels. its not the symbolic figurehead we have to worry about. its the ones we don't see that really screw us over.

      sorry to say this guys, but nothing will improve until the revolution comes. this generation or next one or the one after that, but we can't fix ourselves with the system we have in place now.

      • We don't need a revolution. Things are the way they are because the American people don't give a shit. Polls prove it. The public accepts the "if you're not doing anything wrong then what do you have to hide?" mentality. These are the same people who broadcast their daily irrelevant activities on Facebook. You think they really care about the government *maybe* reading what any yahoo could find following their twitter account?

        As soon as any politician starts hearing people screaming into his answering

        • Re:Ha! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by gnasher719 (869701) on Friday June 06, 2014 @05:37AM (#47177875)

          We don't need a revolution.

          Not really. There's a judge who wants to see these papers. US marshals took the papers, claiming they own them. That's of course totally irrelevant - judges see papers that are _owned_ by someone all the time. So all the judge needs to do is sent out some cops with a warrant to get the papers. If they can't get them because some other cops refuse to hand them over, arrest the other cops. If they refuse to let themselves be arrested, arrest them for resisting arrest. If that doesn't work, send out more cops. That's the same as if you wanted to search the home of well-armed drug dealers: You just sent enough cops to search the home.

      • Re:Ha! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by pablo_max (626328) on Friday June 06, 2014 @02:14AM (#47177429)

        I was going to mod you up, but I can see others have taken care of that for me.

        I say more or less what you have just written to people all the time and I would encourage others to do the same. Just look at all the nonsense which is posted on FB for example. I try to explain to these people that it makes no difference at all who is elected. They are all the same person. It is only a question of which industry group is pulling the strings.
        The USA and NOT a democracy. It has be proven scientifically. Look to the recent paper published by Princeton. http://www.princeton.edu/~mgil... [princeton.edu]

        Look to history people. It is a very rare thing indeed for an entrenched ruling class to be tossed out without blood in the street. The worst part is, the ones fighting you back are your brothers and neighbors who the ruling class have tricked into dieing to keep them in power, even though it is clearly not in their long term interest.

        I have no idea what the real solution is, but I hope someone smarter than me can come up with something.

      • That's a BS excuse. Obama could fire the people responsible for this, or just order them to release the records. There ARE jbts in the US government, and as head of the government, Obama is head of the jack booted thugs.

    • by Richy_T (111409)

      If you like your secret unlawful government spy program, you can keep it.

      (I'm getting so much mileage out of that)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Orwell was just 30 years late on his predictions...

    • by causality (777677) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @05:57PM (#47175353)

      Orwell was just 30 years late on his predictions...

      What I wonder every time I see this: do the law enforcement officers involved ever think something like, "wow, by doing this I become one of the jack-booted thugs working hard to bring tyranny and corruption to this nation!" Are they complete myrmidons? Are they "true believers" who really managed to convince themselves this is all for some kind of nebulous greater good? Are they simply sociopaths with no conscience? Are they somehow brave enough to take on an armed criminal yet too cowardly to refuse bullshit orders?

      What exactly goes through their minds? That's what I wonder.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05, 2014 @06:03PM (#47175403)

        > What exactly goes through their minds?
        "I'm just doing my job." Just like you they have families too that need to be fed.

        Whether it's being a jack booted thug violating laws in order to spy on everyone or escorting prisoners to the gas^H^H^Hshower chamber and then disposing of the bodies in an oven, these people are merely doing their job and getting paid for it.

        Why ask beyond that?

        • by causality (777677) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @06:15PM (#47175501)

          Why ask beyond that?

          Because the police state apparatus could not function if these people remembered their humanity.

          • by ah.clem (147626) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @06:55PM (#47175745)

            Because the police state apparatus could not function if these people remembered their humanity.

            I have known several police officers in my lifetime - almost to a person, they had the attitude that the world was made up of two kinds of folks - them and the "perps" - and we're all the perps. To paraphrase Bryant in "Blade Runner", "You now the score, pal; if you're not cop, you're 'little people'".

            An interesting aside from an ex-LEO in the town I live in; according to him, they figure it's about 7 years from rookie to bad cap. Not sure if that is true all over, but it seems reasonable; they're average HS grad/CJ AAs to start out with, and they see the worst of humanity on daily basis - pretty easy to lump everyone together after a while, I bet.

            • by msauve (701917)
              " they figure it's about 7 years from rookie to bad cap"

              Power corrupts...
            • Just like it is to lump them all in with the bad cops. And if I get you right, it's not even wrong to do so. Provided they've been in the force for 7 years or longer.

              • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05, 2014 @08:12PM (#47176191)

                Each and every single cop is a 'bad cop' when they refuse to apply the law to their peers.

                The LAPD shot at a truck full of old women because "it matched the description of Dorner's truck" (except that it didn't, and don't they have these things called license plates?). What happened there? Cops watched other cops fire on a vehicle with no indication of the occupants posing an imminent threat to anyone. What was the aftermath? It certainly wasn't placing cops in jail and removing their special cop status which makes them above the law. How many times do incidents like this occur in the United States? Probably so many that it would make you sick.

                Each and every single cop will never protect you or your family, ever, under any circumstances. Each and every single cop is out to harass you, detain you, steal from you, beat you or shoot you. The only interaction you can ever, EVER have with a cop winds up with you on the losing end. Even if you are in a coma and can pose no danger whatsoever, a cop will get away with shooting you due to 'officer safety'.

                Yes, it really, REALLY has gotten this bad with police misbehavior.

            • by localroger (258128) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @09:28PM (#47176455) Homepage
              He himself retired from the redacted state police after 12 years, some spent undercover. He said that for the most part the idealists who want to save the world get washed out by the corruption by 5 years and anyone who's stayed longer than that is getting more out of it than their salary.
        • by TiggertheMad (556308) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @07:18PM (#47175897) Homepage Journal
          A majority of people in society aren't deep philosophical thinkers. They want to do their 40 hours, and go have a beer and watch football. Police are a fair cross section of society, so most cops aren't going to stop and ask if what they are doing is a fundamental violation of a person's constitutional rights, unless it is a pretty sever deviation for normal behavior. (Ex: beheading perps caught in the act)

          I don't think most cops think too much about it, they have plenty of more immediate problems to keep busy with.
        • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @08:36PM (#47176289)

          "I'm just doing my job." Just like you they have families too that need to be fed.

          NO. Absolutely not. Won't fly.

          The entire world rejected the "I was just doing my job" and "I was just taking orders" excuses during the Nuremberg trials.

          There comes a point at which anyone who can lay claim to being human has to either say "No, I won't do that", or accept personal responsibility for their actions by NOT saying it.

          Period.

      • by amxcoder (1466081) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @06:06PM (#47175419)
        They are union workers, making good union pay, with an awesome retirement package, and are granted power and authority over everyone else, including the ability to be armed at all times. My guess is they don't want to give that up, for any price. I would re-write your last sentence, and say most are "have the 'adrenalin junky' need (and life insurance) to take on an armed criminal and too enticed by their job benefits to refuse orders and loose it."
      • by lgw (121541) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @06:06PM (#47175423) Journal

        I'm waiting for the police to begin wearing actual jackboots again!

        In a sense they are though. In the 40s, the boots cavalry officers wore were seen as how elite troops dressed, so police who would never ride a horse wore jackboots and black uniforms and the rest of it to look as intimidating as possible. Now we have militarized police in the US with armored cars, assault rifles, body armor, and sure enough black uniforms on raids. Sigh.

        • by Atzanteol (99067)

          They still do - particularly motorcycle cops.

        • by Grishnakh (216268)

          Jackboots probably don't make much sense to wear if you're not riding a horse or a motorcycle, and probably make it harder to walk. Infantry troops don't wear them after all.

          • by lgw (121541)

            What does sense have to do with it [wikipedia.org]. But since it's not how elite soldiers dress today, I doubt the cops will be either (well, except motorcycle cops, but they actually have an excuse).

            • by Grishnakh (216268)

              That's a military dress uniform, not a combat uniform. It was never meant to be used in battle, and doesn't make sense to. It's no different than modern dress uniforms in the US military, except that the Germans back then did have a pretty good sense of style you have to admit (thought I'm not so sure about the pants). Dress uniforms have no bearing on combat clothing.

              Police uniforms aren't quite as utterly utilitarian as BDUs, but they do have to be utilitarian to a good degree because cops really do we

              • Considering that the legend says "Dienstuniform der Allgemeinen SS", which means "Duty uniform of the common SS", I'd guess that this WAS actually the service uniform, not the dress uniform.

                And unless my history knowledge serves me wrong, that was actually the "ordinary" uniform of the SS.

              • by youngone (975102)
                Designed and made by Hugo Boss.
              • by lgw (121541)

                The SS cared not for logic, rationality, nor utility. It was all about the murder, and the nifty uniforms.

        • by Krishnoid (984597)

          I'm waiting for the police to begin wearing actual jackboots again!

          In a sense they are though.

          At this point, I won't be surprised when they get out the nail polish remover and the Kragl.

      • by BoberFett (127537) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @06:07PM (#47175433)

        It's us vs them. They're the good guys, and everybody out there is a bad guy.

        Why let red tape get in the way of taking down the bad guy?

      • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Thursday June 05, 2014 @06:10PM (#47175451)

        Are they "true believers" who really managed to convince themselves this is all for some kind of nebulous greater good?

        Pretty much.

        There's a degree of self-serving included. They work for the government so any attempt to reveal what they do and how they do it is an attack on them.

        And if you're attacking them, that makes you the "bad guy". And they have to stop the "bad guys".

      • by Sentrion (964745)

        I imagine the following stream of un-consciousness:

        "Crap! That's not what I signed up for! But if it stops terrorists then I guess it's OK. Times aren't what they used to be. Things change. Somebody smarter than me probably has this all figured out to make sure we don't fall into tyranny. Oh, it's time for my 'No Hesitation' target practice. Last week was armed pregnant women. I hope we get armed children this time. Those are my favorite - probably because they are so disturbing. Good time

      • by GIL_Dude (850471)
        They are probably more Pollyannas than Myrmidons. Either way, not good. Hopefully something will break this seeming juggernaut of government action suppressing information that people should have available to them.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 05, 2014 @06:35PM (#47175611)

        You ask a complex question. Much too complex for much of what passes for insight on /. these days, but I'll try to chime in.

        I worked in law enforcement for several years. I was not with the federal government, but my state agency did quite a few joint operations with various federal agencies including FBI, DHS, ICE, EPA, and others. I've sat through the briefings and been part of the planning as well as the execution of many warrants. Here's my take on it -

        Federal agents are a different breed. They are largely self-selected into the ranks and definitely fall into the category of "true believer". Their personal mandate varies, though it sometimes falls in line with the agency mandate (i.e., EPA is definitely about the environment and collects staff with a very dogmatic mindset). One thing holds true - by and large, federal agents have a personality of a soldier in the field. They follow orders without question and largely without independent thought. If it's not in the procedure manual or passed on a memo, it does not exist. These are the people that will, without fail, always walk only on the sidewalk in designated spots. The exceptions to this rule generally do not make a career in federal law enforcement service. You will see them get in and get out as soon as the resume is adequately seasoned.

        So, if you want to know how this stuff happens, here's the break down. From on-high, some agency director or even the President sets out a mandate. Nothing too specific, but just a pet project or vision. It then filters down to the chiefs and assistant chiefs who begin to craft policy. Eventually, it winds its way through the machinations of the organization until it hits some SAC or ASAC's desk and then they issue a memo to their staff about the marching orders. From there, you get special agents who execute the orders. This can often be initiated because of a lead or other process, but it often happens with a phone call from some other agency that could use the assistance of a friendly. From there, the forms get filed, cases opened, and things escalate. Before you know it, it's on slashdot and people are asking WTF?

        In the end, the lower ranks execute the orders to try and be good soldiers and get the next promotion, raise, and favorable posting. The middle managers take a bow, but remain safe behind their desk. The senior managers build plausible deniability. No one ever really gets in trouble, because after all is said and done, what US Attorney or AUSA is going to go balls to the wall probing one of their own agencies?

         

      • by gweihir (88907)

        Read Bob Altemeyers "The Authoritarians" http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~a... [umanitoba.ca]

        These people literally do not understand the immeasurable damage they do. At the same time, they think whatever they do is good for society. It is a special, unfortunately widespread, mental disability and one that pushes people into law enforcement, law and government work.

        • Read Bob Altemeyers "The Authoritarians" http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~a... [umanitoba.ca]

          These people literally do not understand the immeasurable damage they do. At the same time, they think whatever they do is good for society. It is a special, unfortunately widespread, mental disability and one that pushes people into law enforcement, law and government work.

          What a bunch of hyper-partisan clap-trap. All on one web page. I've never seen so many Democratic party talking points crammed into one paragraph as they have managed on that web site.

          Sorry, but the issue is not attributable to one side of the 2-party duopoly coin, and, no, you can't blame Bush for 5 years of continuing down the same ruinous, tyrannical past. Republicans do not have an exclusive on authoritarianism, any more than Democrats have an exclusive on crony capitalism. If you're writing essays

      • by Darinbob (1142669)

        What goes through their mind is their training; official and unofficial. Their job in most law enforcement agencies is to catch bad guys, and that is the only focus. Issues such as preserving rights or avoiding mistakenly catching good guys is not included anywhere in their agenda. This is not a new thing, it's been around forever. Law enforcement people have a goal to catch the bad guy with whatever it takes and after awhile this becomes instinctual. And that's the thinking of the _good_ law enforceme

      • by Sir Holo (531007)

        What I wonder every time I see this: do the law enforcement officers involved ever think something like, "wow, by doing this I become one of the jack-booted thugs working hard to bring tyranny and corruption to this nation!" Are they complete myrmidons?

        Anyone with an IQ above 105-110 is barred from becoming a police officer.

        Examples abound, in the US and elsewhere, so I'll let you find examples of this long-known fact.

        • by causality (777677)

          What I wonder every time I see this: do the law enforcement officers involved ever think something like, "wow, by doing this I become one of the jack-booted thugs working hard to bring tyranny and corruption to this nation!" Are they complete myrmidons?

          Anyone with an IQ above 105-110 is barred from becoming a police officer. Examples abound, in the US and elsewhere, so I'll let you find examples of this long-known fact.

          I've met more than one person with a high IQ who possessed neither the emotional maturity to perform any sort of introspection nor the courage of character to think for themselves and question everything that someone else taught them to believe. People like this are shrewd and highly effective at getting what they want but have all the same unwise, shallow, and childish tendencies/priorities so common in the rest of the population.

          But I'm really not surprised that the police departments find intellectua

      • by NoKaOi (1415755) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @08:40PM (#47176305)

        Are they somehow brave enough to take on an armed criminal yet too cowardly to refuse bullshit orders?

        Absolutely. The probably of something bad happening to them when they take on an armed criminal is actually quite low, and if something bad does happen to them they will be hailed as a hero. When refusing an order to violate the constitution, however, they will not be hailed as a hero and their decision will not be respected by their peers. Their superiors will likely find a way to get them fired and possibly lose their pension to set an example, regardless of whether or not they would be able to prove their orders were illegal.

        What exactly goes through their minds?

        Usually something like, "I know better than the law and constitution. The laws are just red tape written to protect criminals. If we think somebody is guilty, then they absolutely are, judges and juries are just more red tape and technicalities. If I don't like something somebody is doing, then this badge and job title give me the authority to do as I please to them."

      • by Rigel47 (2991727)

        What I wonder every time I see this: do the law enforcement officers involved ever think something like, "wow, by doing this I become one of the jack-booted thugs working hard to bring tyranny and corruption to this nation!"

        Um, no.. the little American flag on their Gestapo storm trooper outfit tells them they're the good guys. Why else would it be there??

      • by Xyrus (755017) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @08:52PM (#47176337) Journal

        The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

        There have been more than a few stories that go this route. Some character starts with with the best intentions. They want to make things better. They finally win some small amount of power and try to change things for the better. But there's another obstacle blocking the way. Now there are two paths to take. One will get them to their goal quicker but requires some sort of morally gray compromise (maybe not much of one, but it's there). The other is a long arduous process which may end up in failure since their enemies aren't exactly moral. The character chooses the more expedient path and things seem to go well until they hit another obstacle where another choice is made. The process repeats again and again, with their choices going from morally gray to black. By the end of the story, the enemies are defeated but now the hero has become the very thing it was fighting against.

        In their mind, we simply don't understand that they are doing this "for our protection". It's a sacrifice for the greater good. Anyone who opposes that is obviously an enemy, and since they have the power they can go ahead and do whatever they deem "necessary" whether we "understand" or not.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      You mean the president's police state. Nothing here is specific to one particular president, or even to a particular political party. Any president in power be the nominal head of the federal law enforcement agencies, and those agencies will be doing what ever they like anyway while sweet talking the president into accepting it. The only way this would change is if the president or AG disapprove of such measures, recognize that they have lost control of their agencies, and take active and firm steps to r

  • Get used to it. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chas (5144) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @05:54PM (#47175333) Homepage Journal

    These kinds of shenanigans are going to continue until the American public puts a stop to it.
    Note, I said the public. Not the government.
    The government, and it's various tentacles, simply don't WANT it to stop. Even if diverse individuals composing said tentacles do.
    It is simply one more way of maintaining some form of leverage against an increasingly interconnected population that can make it's own decisions and plans without a bunch of stuffed shirts and their ridiculous budgets.
    It will continue until they are physically restricted from doing these things.

    • by Typical Slashdotter (2848579) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @06:13PM (#47175481)

      It will continue until they are physically restricted from doing these things.

      Get real. Putting the Green or Libertarian parties in charge of the presidency and both houses of congress, with an overwhelming mandate to fix these issues, would be much, much easier and more successful than waging a successful war of violence on the federal government. "Grab your rifles and rise up" only works when you have the public at large passionately on your side. When that is the case in a modern republic, there are better tools available.

      • by praxis (19962)

        Putting the Green or Libertarian parties in charge of the presidency and both houses of congress, with an overwhelming mandate to fix these issues, would be much, much easier and more successful than waging a successful war of violence on the federal government

        How do you know what the Green or Libertarians will do when they have that kind of power?

        • by Typical Slashdotter (2848579) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @06:40PM (#47175655)
          How do you know what the revolutionary army capable of defeating the US federal government will do when it seizes control? How is that any better? How is it not, in fact, far less predictable?
          • by praxis (19962)

            How do you know what the revolutionary army capable of defeating the US federal government will do when it seizes control? How is that any better? How is it not, in fact, far less predictable?

            I never said it was better. There are more than those two options.

          • Looking at social media, and seeing who exactly is yelling "guns and revolution!" I would bet it would actually turn out to be WAY worse. Most everyone I see wanting "revolution" are conservative Christians who want their particular religion studied in public schools, evolution is "evil", pro-choice=murder, Obama is a Muslim/terrorist/socialist/fascist/Kenyan/alien/Satan, BENGHAZI!!!, warmongers, etc. If they got their way, the US would politically be more like Victorian England, with the Bush family as o
            • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @10:11PM (#47176649)

              I want a revolution.

              I love what used to be my country, the old USA. I want the freedoms and privacy we once had, back.

              I'm not a christian, I'm a total non-believer in any religion.

              I'm not a gun nut, don't own guns, don't want to.

              but I still see the need for a reboot of our government. it would be nice if it could be non-violent. however, my xtal ball says that won't happen since the bad guys in power are not going to give back power willingly.

      • by Chas (5144)

        Yeah. No.

        I'm a Realist.

        There's a political monoculture in Washington. Everyone largely agrees about the big stuff. So they wrangle, endlessly, over the small stuff, inflating the appearance of importance in an attempt to differentiate themselves. In the end, the net difference is still zip.

        There's also the fact that these agencies are USED to lying to and misleading anyone with authority over them. Heads will nod, and people will scurry around, appearing to "do something". In the end, nothing will act

    • by causality (777677)

      These kinds of shenanigans are going to continue until the American public puts a stop to it. Note, I said the public. Not the government.

      The nation is full of people who cannot even control their own waistlines, let alone something with a will of its own like this.

      I really hope people are waking up and deciding to stop being so passive and unwilling to take a little responsibility. I really do hope so. If that is happening, it's not the sort of thing that would get reported by the mainstream corporate media. After all, that might encourage it.

      • by Chas (5144)

        These kinds of shenanigans are going to continue until the American public puts a stop to it. Note, I said the public. Not the government.

        The nation is full of people who cannot even control their own waistlines, let alone something with a will of its own like this.

        My point exactly.

        I really hope people are waking up and deciding to stop being so passive and unwilling to take a little responsibility. I really do hope so. If that is happening, it's not the sort of thing that would get reported by the mainstream corporate media. After all, that might encourage it.

        We can only hope.

    • Government is a leaving, breathing thing. It subsists on liberties. The more liberties it consumes, the bigger it gets. The bigger it gets, the more liberties it needs. It has no sense of moderation and will consume liberties until there no more. Then it will die. Then, like the Phoenix, another will rise from the ashes and start the whole process again.

    • by gweihir (88907)

      I completely agree. However it will likely require another global totalitarian catastrophe first (WW3 was the last one and we narrowly avoided one during the cold war). I predict the death count accumulated in WW2 will look insignificant when the US (and the UK) have clawed their way back to being free countries. Freedom always has to be won with blood and unless people that are willing to pay more blood for it defend freedom, it always goes away again in a few generations.

    • by Krishnoid (984597)

      The government, and it's various tentacles, simply don't WANT it to stop. Even if diverse individuals composing said tentacles do.

      Oooohhhh, now I understand what they mean when they say tentacle r--

  • by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @05:56PM (#47175347) Journal

    There could be a number of reasons why they don't want the info public

    1) It doesn't work that well, or there is an obvious defense against it they don't want public.

    2) They've been abusing their power some how by collecting info on people not really suspects, and don't want to be hit up by every divorce lawyer in the country. ( not sure if that's really illegal).

    3) They're idiotic power tripping jerks that think its an ultra secret thing that will cause all law enforcement to lose its effectiveness if more people know about it.

    4) It contains evidence of alien life forms visits to our planet, and their preference for blackberry cell phones.

    • There could be a number of reasons why they don't want the info public

      1) It doesn't work that well, or there is an obvious defense against it they don't want public.

      2) They've been abusing their power some how by collecting info on people not really suspects, and don't want to be hit up by every divorce lawyer in the country. ( not sure if that's really illegal).

      3) They're idiotic power tripping jerks that think its an ultra secret thing that will cause all law enforcement to lose its effectiveness if more people know about it.

      4) It contains evidence of alien life forms visits to our planet, and their preference for blackberry cell phones.

      5) They've been using it to track some for-real bad guys, and the release of the documents would compromise an ongoing investigation or investigations.

      I suspect it's a combination of mostly (2), some (5), and a sprinkling of (3).

      • by ewieling (90662)
        I suspect data related to ongoing investigtions would be excluded from an FIOA request and as such would not require censorship by the feds.
    • by jonwil (467024)

      5) The device works great but if the bad guys get the info, it will tell the bad guys how to tell if they are being monitored/tracked/etc by it (so they can make sure they dont do anything incriminating in a way that it would be captured with these devices)

      • the 'bad guys' have moles in key places in key companies.

        the 'good guys' also have insiders in key places in key companies.

        do you really think that the insider info is only available to the so-called good guys?

        get real.

    • The answer is, all of the above... and more.

    • by RyoShin (610051)

      The tinfoil in me says that these "stingrays" don't exist at all; instead, whenever law enforcement gets info from their NSA buddies concerning cell phone use/location, these mysterious "stingray" devices are stated as the way the defendant was found. The documents the ALCU would have obtained probably showed the devices (if there are even any physical objects) to be 100% useless at best, leading to further digging, and the eventual revelation of unconstitutional searches that these "devices" lead to.

  • Well, I'd just ask them to email the document. Then if some "federal agency" demand the documents, they can simply email them to that federal agency. Saves everyone time, and everyone's got what they want.

    Actually, I'm surprised they didn't handle it this way from the start. That way the "private citizen" wouldn't even know that another department had "seized" their documents.

    But maybe I've just been working on the Internet too long. I tend to be surprised when someone wants to deal with hard copy.

    • by amxcoder (1466081) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @06:11PM (#47175463)
      I wonder if the Feds went all out like they do to us civilians when they performed the raid. Did they perform a typical 'no knock' raid, at like 3AM, and knock the doors in and smash the windows, and toss 'Flash Bangs' in the room and enter the premises with a small military unit in order to perform the records seizure?

      That is how it's done with normal folks now days, for small stuff even.
      • Re:Hard copy? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Lloyd_Bryant (73136) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @07:02PM (#47175787)

        I wonder if the Feds went all out like they do to us civilians when they performed the raid. Did they perform a typical 'no knock' raid, at like 3AM, and knock the doors in and smash the windows, and toss 'Flash Bangs' in the room and enter the premises with a small military unit in order to perform the records seizure?

        There was no "raid" - what they did was deputize the detective in charge of the records as a U.S. Marshal, and then instruct him to transfer the records in question to other U.S. Marshals.

        Pretty questionable, legally (basically, they completely sidestepped state public records laws using this trick), but I'm not sure that "raid" is the correct word to describe the processes.

        • by causality (777677)

          There was no "raid" - what they did was deputize the detective in charge of the records as a U.S. Marshal, and then instruct him to transfer the records in question to other U.S. Marshals.

          Does that place him on their payroll? And, what happens if he immediately responds to that by resigning?

      • I'm going to correct your language. They're civilians. It's a fundamental principle of policing going back to John Peel that the police are members of the public who happen to be in uniform. Why? Because without that politically neutral core to their mission, public consent is not likely to be forthcoming.

        They're civilians.

        Of course, someone above quoted Blade Runner.

    • by causality (777677)

      Well, I'd just ask them to email the document. Then if some "federal agency" demand the documents, they can simply email them to that federal agency. Saves everyone time, and everyone's got what they want.

      Actually, I'm surprised they didn't handle it this way from the start. That way the "private citizen" wouldn't even know that another department had "seized" their documents.

      But maybe I've just been working on the Internet too long. I tend to be surprised when someone wants to deal with hard copy.

      "Seized the records" probably means the same thing it means when individuals are raided for computer crimes: grab all hard copies, all hard drives, and all other electronic storage media believed to be holding said records.

      Maybe the next Snowden works for one of these police departments.

  • Out of control (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BobSwi (607571)
    This business will get out of control. It will get out of control and we'll be lucky to live through it.
  • BASTARDS! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @05:58PM (#47175363) Journal

    Well, I don't know about you, but I feel safer knowing the NSA is keeping those filthy terrorists, the ACLU, away from information of high importance to national security. Why we don't jail anyone who even reads the Constitution is beyond me.

  • by NynexNinja (379583) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @06:22PM (#47175549)
    So, I've been thinking of how could we prevent such a rogue device from operating on the cellular network? The way it is done is pretty easy actually:
    * First you have to create a database of longitude / latitude coordinates of where we find cell tower sites at 100% signal strength.
    * Next we allow Android's baseband processor to issue handoffs to cell towers that are within range of the GeoIP coordinate database
    * So when a Stingray device pretends to be a cell tower, and it is not within range of the geoIP coordinates database, it will be rejected

    This could be easily implemented in Android... and you could also add notifications when a cell tower was rejected due to being too far away from the known cell tower real location.
    • by dave562 (969951)

      Does it need to be that complicated with the signal strength readings? I am not up to speed on cellular technology, but don't cell towers have the equivalent of a MAC address? Surely there has to be some sort of hardware identifier that is visible. We are talking about TCP/IP here....

      If so, it would be easy enough to develop a database of legit addresses and do a look up against that list every time a hand-off occurs. The list could be easily paired down by county / state / zip code.

    • There are several projects based on mapping cell towers.

      There are also projects looking to use network diagnostic info from the phone itself. Everything is still very alpha at this stage, but hopefully that will change.

      The most well known is probably this one;

      https://opensource.srlabs.de/p... [srlabs.de]

      There is also a project on XDA that has attracted some attention;

      http://forum.xda-developers.co... [xda-developers.com]

      Unfortunately I don't think it is as easy as the parent suggests.

  • by Lord Kano (13027) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @06:46PM (#47175689) Homepage Journal

    That Haliburton, Enron, Koch Industries lackey!

    If only this country would have elected a constitutional scholar, like Barack Obama...

    Oh wait...

    LK

    • Re:Fucking Bush! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Friday June 06, 2014 @12:00AM (#47177021)

      power corrupts.

      extreme power corrupts extremely.

      obama was probably an OK guy, once. he seems like an OK bloke. but power of that level, and the office, it changes you and you are not the same person you once were. it was not an all-of-a-sudden thing, either; as you move up, you lose your soul bit by bit. it can't be helped and its been that way since man has walked the earth. its how we are, as a species.

      we are seeing what humans are really like, when they get so much power and want to hoard it and control everyone around them. they convince themselves they are good guys and that they are fighting the good fight, but that much power is just NOT controllable by humans. we can't do it. we always fail. always. eventually, we always show that we can't handle that much power over our fellow people.

      this is really an argument for smaller city-states. smaller companies. smaller groups of things. once things get big, they get too powerful and we fuck it up. by staying small, the power does not concentrate and so its more fair and we self-balance.

      I wish we'd learn this and change our society style.... but I'm not expecting this to happen ;(

      • by JDAustin (468180)

        See...I never saw the guy as a OK dude. When he has both his opponents (2004 Senate, Blair Hull in primary, Jack Ryan in general) sealed divorce records unsealed...he showed he playes very dirty politics. You knew he was more slimy the most politicians...it's people bought the whole Hope and Change con.

  • The feds are working very hard to block any release of this information to the public.

    Now are the referring to some records in Florida related to one specific investigation? Or Stingray records in general? Because if its the general case, too late. That info. is out there.

    Some unbelievably inept local law enforcement agencies are using this gear and if you know some of the people involved, there are no secrets left.

  • Militarization (Score:4, Interesting)

    by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Thursday June 05, 2014 @11:02PM (#47176829)

    Really I view this sort of thing as just another aspect of militarization of law enforcement. This sort of thing is wartime SIGINT gear. It should require judicial oversight and warrants for use in civilian populations. The fact that it's use is treated like a state secret is a big fat warning that the law enforcement agencies are trying to protect something that they realize would create a serious public outcry if people realized it's capabilities.

I'd rather be led to hell than managed to heavan.

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