Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Privacy United States Cellphones

Help Crowd-FOIA Stingray Usage Across America 89

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the muckrock-reclassified-as-terrorist-threat dept.
v3rgEz (125380) writes "Collaborative investigative news site MuckRock is trying to take a national look at Stingray usage across America, and is looking for people to submit contact information for their local police departments and other law enforcement groups for a mass FOIA campaign. The submissions are free, but the site is also running a crowdfunding campaign to cover the cost of stamps, etc. on Beacon Reader." This comes after news broke that the federal government has been pushing for local police to avoid disclosing their use of Stringray devices.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Help Crowd-FOIA Stingray Usage Across America

Comments Filter:
  • by magamiako1 (1026318) on Monday June 16, 2014 @10:10PM (#47251375)
    I know a lot of people whom like to put on their tinfoil hats and cry about government surveillance at every chance, but the reality is that we have never actually defined what is or isn't private in the digital age. The Internet is an amazingly complicated set of patents, protocols, technologies, and developments over the past 30-40 years of computing.

    All of this is boiling over to what exactly is considered "YOUR" information in the digital age? Nobody seems to be asking this question. What information on your digital phone device belongs to you? And what information can the company/provider share with whomever they want?

    Tracking your IMEI, Wifi MAC Address, and other tools is considered part of the network operations. The providers routinely keep logs of all of this information and use it to track you for a whole host of reasons. It's correlated across the organizations that control the hot spots. Companies do this all of the time, in perhaps significantly more intrusive ways than LEO using their "stingray" system, which no doubt is something that is a targeted-type application. Whereas the LEO will utilize these systems to target specific groups, events, or behaviors--marketing companies will track you and your device until the end of time. And, at the behest of a warrant, will provide as much information on your whereabouts, shopping habits, and intimate information as quickly as they can.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      But the Stingray enables unrestrained fishing by LEO (however immoral or legally questionable), as opposed to targeted access that requires specific cooperation, and thus expenses, by the cooperating commercial entity, unlikely to be done en mass.

      • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

        by magamiako1 (1026318)
        Do you really think there are expenses?

        A single entity can gain the contract for wireless in all of a particular operator's malls. Say, the Mills malls. That's say, 4 malls in the Maryland region for which one operator could potentially connect. The wireless operator scores a contract to install wifi. They can work out a deal where the wireless operator can work with the mall to provide coupons for various stores inside of the mall and work as a central mall hub. They can make it appear like it's helping th
        • by plover (150551)

          Generally, this tracking is justified as "non-identifying". To be valuable to the mall owners and retailers, they track IDs as they move around, so they can provide insight like "people who shop at the Dizzknee store are more likely to cross the mall for a cookie", and "72% of shoppers walked past location X, place advertising there." And state DOTs are using such systems to track traffic flows and speeds. The data does have legitimate uses.

          But what they don't generally advertise is that a single act of co

        • by AntiSol (1329733)

          I was against this whole surveilance state thing until you pointed out that it could be used to find freaky girls...

    • by saloomy (2817221) on Monday June 16, 2014 @10:29PM (#47251499)
      But that means this is a chance for the nation (and by nation I mean the public), to stand up for what they believe to be right and true in this regard. As an American, you can ask yourself what the freedoms and "spirits" of the founding laws intended, and fight to make it so. So often on slashdot, there are comments that ring with "it can't ever happen, the MAN is too powerful for us peons to do anything to change this". I always feel like I should (but seldom do) remind those folks of the Civil Rights movement. A group of citizens rose up and stood in the face of so many gov't entities and achieved their goal. I also feel that happened when President Obama ran in 2008. The results have been a little underwhelming vs. what the youth of the day thought they would get, but they did achieve it. I think the Civil Rights movement of my generation (30's) and the one that follows will be digital rights, privacy, and freedom to conduct your business without the watchful eye of big brother giving you a second glance, or a nod of approval.
      • Well, I don't necessarily separate tracking for LEO purposes (and by extension, government agencies from top to bottom) and privatized tracking for "marketing" when I think of how we should proceed with privacy laws. More importantly, it's hard to apply the "spirit" of the law when there was never really a precedent for which the laws could have even begun to apply.

        If you limit the scope of your privacy arguments to Constitutional protections, you may find at one point in the next 10-20 years your employer
        • by saloomy (2817221)
          You make a few good points Maga. What I meant to say is that the "spirit" of the founding laws that coincide with American ideals against unlawful, unwarranted search and seizure are defined to protect the public, and the individual from a questioning government. Basically, the government can not come into your home, and search for without a warrant showing just cause.

          The fact that our digital culture has mechanized mass-surveilance, the likes of which were surely unimaginable when the founding laws wer
      • by operagost (62405)

        I also feel that happened when President Obama ran in 2008.

        HAHAHAno. He's just another member of the ruling elite. Is there any question, after having dispatched Hilary Clinton (of the "old" ruling elite), yet bringing her on board as SoS? And now the proles are clamoring for Hilary in 2016. How about his refusal to admit mistakes-- personified by the continued presence of Holder as AG?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'd personally feel a lot better about all of it if the government wasn't working so hard to hide it. That's the stickler to me.

    • All of this is boiling over to what exactly is considered "YOUR" information in the digital age? Nobody seems to be asking this question.

      As a minimum if you don't encrypt it before tossing it out onto unknown public and private networks you don't control, you've already said you don't care who sees / reads / hears / metabolizes your data.

      • This is absolutely, technically true.

        However, since most people think of computing as the magic box with voodoo magic that makes my cell phone use wireless, they wrongfully assume that there's some sort of inherent "protection" of this data. What we are seeing on Internet forums everywhere are people kind of peeling back the onion layers of how the technology works and they're getting frightened by what they see.
        • The people who talk about what could happen live in a very specific kind of fantasy. They perceive all threats as coming from the government, and capable of being defended by technical measures. They ignore political and social realities, and construct a world in which he with the best encryption will totally be passed over then the tyrants come for their first born.

          The reality is closer to "any delivery man could one day decide to just steal your mail, and this is pretty likely to happen actually". But why

          • I think the big mistake Orwell made in writing 1984 was to neglect the private sector. He imagined the dangers of a government spying on citizens to exercise and protect their power, but had no idea of the lengths to which businesses would spy on people in order to secure wealth - as well as power.

          • The reality is closer to "any delivery man could one day decide to just steal your mail, and this is pretty likely to happen actually". But why don't they? In fact why doesn't anyone with some control over your life use that position to screw you over and take what they want? It's the question never pondered.

            There's not much need to ponder the question, because it *does* happen. [go.com] Not on a huge, sweeping scale (not including the NSA stuff, anyway), but it's enough to be concerned about.
      • by AHuxley (892839) on Monday June 16, 2014 @10:41PM (#47251575) Homepage Journal
        yes "Stingrays: The Biggest Technological Threat to Cell Phone Privacy You Don't Know About" recalling
        https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/... [eff.org]
        You getting what federal/mil/security services would get over an area via a tame existing telco tower hardware/software at the local state and city level kit.
      • As a minimum if you don't encrypt it before tossing it out onto unknown public and private networks you don't control, you've already said you don't care who sees / reads / hears / metabolizes your data.

        If you use an RF scanner to publish conversations overheard which are none of your business you can be held accountable under section 705 of communications act esp for "metabolization".

        "No person not being authorized by the sender shall intercept any radio communication and divulge or publish the existence, contents, substance, purport, effect, or meaning of such intercepted communication to any person. "

        I don't accept the idea just because technical means to record conversation exists this somehow should a

    • by Anonymous Coward

      <grammar mode="nazi">I know a lot of people who ...</grammar>

      That aside, there are recent rulings on the topic of the 4th amendment. One in note:

      Federal Court Rules on One of the Major Outstanding Constitutional Privacy Questions of Our Time [aclu.org] -- 06/12/2014

      Based on this event a couple weeks ago:

      ACLU of Florida Files Emergency Motion Seeking Cell Phone Tracking Orders Hidden by Sarasota Police and U.S. Marshals [aclufl.org] -- June 3, 2014

      And this is from the 11th circuit, no less.

      Of course, your post is a lot

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Marketing companies aren't the government, and aren't bound by the 4th amendment. The 4th amendment *requires* that the government have specific, personalized, articulable suspicion to intercept your papers or effects -- and that includes your communications with other private persons or private companies. There's no ambiguity here, and suggesting there is does your continued future freedom a disservice.

    • by tragedy (27079)

      I know a lot of people whom like to put on their tinfoil hats and cry about government surveillance at every chance, but the reality is that we have never actually defined what is or isn't private in the digital age.

      Might be that we haven't defined if phone calls are private in the digital age because they were legally affirmed as private way back in the analog age. Re-reading your post, I'm not sure you understand what the stingray is for.

    • I don't care about how a private organization uses data about me, or generated by my devices. That a matter of contract law between me and a party that does not involve you or the government.

      I do care that my papers and effects are protected. It is a God-given right to my papers and effects are secured against unreasonable searched and seizures, including against general warrants, and warrants that are not specific to the place and time to be searched. It matters not if the data comes directly from the p

    • I know a lot of people whom like to put on their tinfoil hats and cry about government surveillance at every chance, but the reality is that we have never actually defined what is or isn't private in the digital age.

      "Sir, I cannot define private information, but I know it when I see it..."

      Ok, I am trolling you with the quote, but your statement is bullshit and I think you know it. Law enforcement agencies shouldn't be collecting ANY information on anyone until they have a crime report in their sweaty little hands or enough evidence to go get a real warrant. Anything more is just the first step on the slippery slope to police state.

    • How stupid do you think we are with this post? I cannot believe that the government goes to the trouble to astroturf Slashdot, but this post proves it.
    • The standard is reasonable expectation of privacy. Would a reasonable person think they are not being spied upon, when doing stuff.
      • That depends. What is the definition of "reasonable". In this day and age we are massively Internet connected with a great many software developers . Software dev is one of the highest paid professions today. "Big data", "cloud", "Hadoop", all are used for correlating this data.

        It's reasonable to assume a LOT of people not only know they're being spied upon but are actively participating in this process.

        So to me, a "reasonable" person should be able to infer they're being tracked by every thing they do onli
        • That depends. What is the definition of "reasonable".

          In the case of personal information, I would say the definition is "anything I don't actively and knowingly make public."

          Facebook post? Not private.

          Text message history? Totally private.

          It's really not all that complex, the problem is that people who want access to your private information pretend that it is in an attempt to confuse us into giving up more than we should.

  • Funny (Score:5, Insightful)

    by agm (467017) on Monday June 16, 2014 @11:13PM (#47251703)

    Your government forces you to pay for the police system and the many spy systems in place, and you have to pay *again* to find out how they've been using your money to spy on you.

    Land of the free indeed. How did you let your government gain so much control?

    • Freedom is not free, and it never has been.

      • by agm (467017)

        You cannot have freedom if the means to acquire it to remove some freedoms. That makes no sense.

        • You're not free to yell fire in a crowded theater.

          • by agm (467017)

            Of course, because one of the conditions of entry is that such dangerous things are not done. That's called property rights and is a core part of freedom.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Actually, you are. Absent any resulting harm *caused* by said yell, you haven't broken a single law.

            The whole "can't yell 'fire' in a crowded theater" meme is based on an old Supreme Court decision, which was later recognized as unconstitutional prior restraint, and *OVERTURNED*.

          • You're not free to yell fire in a crowded theater.

            You are if the theater is, in fact, on fire.

      • America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. - Abraham Lincoln

    • by odie5533 (989896)
      The crowdfunding is to pay for stamps. I managed to get through the entire summary, so I'm here to share my wisdom.
  • The fundamental discussion is what's appropriate for the State to do in preservation of public order.

  • by WaffleMonster (969671) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @12:22AM (#47251889)

    Just create an app to aggregate tower data and funnel it thru a comparator to flag changes over time. For added bonus collect signal metrics with GPS location for flagged ID's to figure out exactly where these suckers are.

    From previous disclosures usage had been sloppy with the same devices/identifiers reused as they are shipped all over the country. Detecting same stingray being moved from place to place should be cake with enough participants.

    Stingrays would not be necessary if LEA's did their jobs and got a proper warrant. Dumber still use of these things cannot be concealed by the very nature of their operation... when you deploy this shit you unnecessarily run the risk of tipping off your adversaries.

    In short LEAs who think stingrays are a good idea are idiots.

Never say you know a man until you have divided an inheritance with him.

Working...