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Electronic Frontier Foundation Cellphones Privacy Your Rights Online

Secret Stingray Warrantless Cellphone Tracking 62

Penurious Penguin writes "Last year a Slashdot story mentioned the case of Daniel David Rigmaiden, or 'the Hacker.' With the help of an IMSI-catcher device, law enforcement had been able to locate and arrest the elusive 'Hacker,' leading to U.S. v. Rigmaiden. But far more elusive than the 'Hacker,' is the IMSI-catcher device itself — particularly the legalities governing its use. The secrecy and unconstitutionality of these Man In The Middle devices, i.e. 'stingrays,' has caught some attention. The EFF and ACLU have submitted an amicus brief in the Rigmaiden case; and EPIC, after filing an FOIA request in February and receiving a grossly redacted 67 out of 25,000 (6,000 classified) pages on the "stingray" devices, has now requested a district judge expedite disclosure of all documents. Some Judges also seem wary of the 'stingray,' having expressed concerns that their use violates the Fourth Amendment; and additionally, that information explaining how the technology is used remains too obscure. Perhaps the most controversial aspect of ISMI-catchers is their several-kilometer range. When a "stingray" is used to spoof a cellphone tower, thousands of innocent users may be collaterally involved. And while the government claims to delete all gathered data unrelated to the target, it also means no one else can know what that data really was. The government claims that because only attributes of calls — but not their content — are captured in the attack, search warrants aren't necessary." (More, below.)
Penurious Penguin continues, "The use of a pen-register (outgoing) and trap & trace (incoming) device, requires little more than a mewl of penal curiosity before a court, and no warrant or follow-up on the case is needed. The pen/trap seems unwieldy enough, as the EFF explains:

"Most worrisome, we've heard some reports of the government using pen/trap taps to intercept content that should require a wiretap order: specifically, the content of SMS text messages, as well as "post-cut-through dialed digits" (digits you dial after your call is connected, like your banking PIN number, your prescription refill numbers, or your vote for American Idol). intercept information about your Internet communications as well."

Precisely what data these "stingrays" collect will hopefully be soon revealed through such efforts as those of EPIC. It should be noted that the Stingray is one of multiple devices with the same application. The Stingray and several others are trademarks of the Harris Corporation. Some are quite pricey ($75,000), and others are, as mentioned last year by a Slashdot reader, peculiarly affordable — and available. For a more comprehensive overview of the subject, see this Wall Street Journal article."

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Secret Stingray Warrantless Cellphone Tracking

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 27, 2012 @11:44AM (#41789433)

    What the fuck is going on here? The Slashdot summary says "Harrison Corporation" near the end, but looking at the links show "Harris" as the company behind these particular devices. I mean, it says the name right in the logo in the pictures of the device, and on the document! The logo basically is the name, for Pete's sake!

    I'm going to go on the assumption that the linked-to content is right, and that Harris Corporation is the correct name to be used in this case.

    Penurious Penguin , you need to get your shit together and use the right company name. Maybe it was an honest mistake, but it really makes me think less of what you're saying when you can't even express such basic facts correctly. Do you see where I'm coming from? Do you?

    And the Slashdot editors should have caught that right away. It is absolute rubbish that such an obvious mistake could be made. Absolute rubbish, I tell you!

  • Evil (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 27, 2012 @12:02PM (#41789555)

    The government is evil.

  • by MRe_nl ( 306212 ) on Saturday October 27, 2012 @01:07PM (#41789935)

    "There are many more laws than can possibly be enforced by, or even known to, our ever-growing army of cops, judges, lawyers, and lowly citizens. This isn't an accident of the system run amok, it's the way the government WANTS it. There are at least two reasons for this:

    One, the more laws there are to be broken (and the more obscure, the better ) the greater the stream of revenue from fines and violations and the more government jobs there are (cops, health inspectors, banking commissioners, etc.) in enforcing these laws and processing both the violators and the revenues.

    Secondly, the fact that since there are probably 1,000 times more laws on the books than are known to the citizenry all but ensures that everyone's guilty of something. And in the government's eyes, it's good that virtually everyone is a criminal of one type or another. Here's why: Because if you ever challenge any part of the government; the Housing Department, the Board of Education, the Bureau of Licensing and Regulation, the Election Board, the DNR, the DMV, the BLM, or whatever, it'll be able to find something, maybe many things, you're guilty of.

    And that, my friends, is its insurance policy against you. If you raise a stink about anything, no matter how legitimate, the full force and power of the government could be channeled into crawling up your wazoo with a microscope to find out everything you've ever done wrong and then using those transgressions to either discredit you or to bully you into staying mum about whatever gripe you've got or scandal you could expose. It's nothing but a racket. Blackmail. A seedy bastardization of the "checks and balances" system your nation's founders envisioned and engineered to protect you from governmental abuses".

    http://whiskeyandgunpowder.com/everyones-a-criminal-there-ought-not-to-be-a-law/ [whiskeyandgunpowder.com]

If graphics hackers are so smart, why can't they get the bugs out of fresh paint?