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Privacy United States Cellphones

Help Crowd-FOIA Stingray Usage Across America 89

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.
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Help Crowd-FOIA Stingray Usage Across America

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  • 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 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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 16, 2014 @10:29PM (#47251517)

    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.

  • by lister king of smeg ( 2481612 ) on Monday June 16, 2014 @10:43PM (#47251583)

    You might end up on a fusion center list.

    You might end up with a chat down by locals under a federal task force.

    You might end up with a real federal chat down.

    If your aren't on at least one watchlist your doing it wrong.

  • by magamiako1 ( 1026318 ) on Monday June 16, 2014 @10:54PM (#47251633)
    I think you're underestimating just how easily it is to collect data on you or how much data is actually collected.

    You're assuming there are many hands in the pot, so to speak. That is, the information your wife and your doctor find can be different.

    What if I told you that the wife and the doctor are storing the stuff they find in the same database, and are acting as both your wife AND your doctor?

    Let me ask you this question: Can you list every single company that runs the rewards programs at various retail outlets? Grocery stores? Pharmacies? Who owns who? Who was purchased by who? etc.

    You can't, you ignore it, it's too complex to figure out--but I guarantee you they have already shared every bit of data on you that is humanly possible to collect. And you do it all in the name of saving $0.10 on a box of cereal.
  • 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?

  • 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.

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger