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Feds: We're Pulling Data From 100 Phones Seized During Trump Inauguration (arstechnica.com) 233

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: In new filings, prosecutors told a court in Washington, DC that within the coming weeks, they expect to extract all data from the seized cellphones of more than 100 allegedly violent protesters arrested during the inauguration of President Donald Trump. Prosecutors also said that this search is validated by recently issued warrants. The court filing, which was first reported Wednesday by BuzzFeed News, states that approximately half of the protestors prosecuted with rioting or inciting a riot had their phones taken by authorities. Prosecutors hope to uncover any evidence relevant to the case. Under normal judicial procedures, the feds have vowed to share such data with defense attorneys and to delete all irrelevant data. "All of the Rioter Cell Phones were locked, which requires more time-sensitive efforts to try to obtain the data," Jennifer Kerkhoff, an assistant United States attorney, wrote. Such phone extraction is common by law enforcement nationwide using hardware and software created by Cellebrite and other similar firms. Pulling data off phones is likely more difficult under fully updated iPhones and Android devices.
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Feds: We're Pulling Data From 100 Phones Seized During Trump Inauguration

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    They confiscated all of their diaries. One of them didn't get confiscated though, and became a best seller.

    • RICO (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sycodon ( 149926 )

      Can we say RICO?

      If they can establish the violence was planned and coordinated, how many years is that?

      • Re: RICO (Score:2, Insightful)

        You can say it, you just have no idea what it actually applies to, because there is absolutely zero chance that there was any racketeering involved. You seem to think RICO is about crowd mobs rather than Italian ones.
        • If some of these protesters are being paid to do this, and if they have done it before (within the last 10 years), and if there is a common plaintiff then yes, there could be RICO charges.

          That being said, its a super long shot and there would have to be a huge investigation into who was funding this kind of activity. This would not be like the Italian mob where their presence was known and their ability to avoid prosecution was a thorn in the side of law enforcement. This would be the discovery of a whole

          • by dbIII ( 701233 )

            This would not be like the Italian mob where their presence was known and their ability to avoid prosecution was a thorn in the side of law enforcement

            That was due to a single problem that was skirted around by such complicated things as odd new laws. Hoover.
            The dirty little secret about why the IRS took down Capone is because they were the agency he did not bribe.

        • by Salgak1 ( 20136 )

          Problem is, RICO has long been abused. A law designed to stop the Mafia and similar criminal organizations has been used to smear political opponents, prosecute anti-abortion activists, and attack corporations over alleged collusion over 'climate change'.

          It's also a favorite tool to employ when a prosecutor or law-enforcement agency wants to grab assets, under criminal AND civil forfeiture. . .

      • Can we say RICO?

        No.
        No we can't. [popehat.com]

        • by msauve ( 701917 )
          I'll give the OP the benefit of doubt, and say he probably meant to reference conspiracy [cornell.edu], which would mean greater penalties than simple disturbing the peace or incitement to riot, etc. charges.
    • You scum don't even bother to try and avoid invoking Godwin on the first post, eh?

  • by Powercntrl ( 458442 ) on Thursday March 23, 2017 @05:26PM (#54098493)

    ...if you're going to a protest, bring a burner phone. Bonus points if you set the wallpaper to goatse.

    • by epyT-R ( 613989 )

      or don't bring one at all..

      • by Shatrat ( 855151 ) on Thursday March 23, 2017 @05:31PM (#54098543)

        But the entire point of going to the protest is to put selfies of it up on social media to impress your friends and piss off that one uncle.

        • by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Thursday March 23, 2017 @07:18PM (#54099247)

          The people arrested didn't seem to be the deluge of selfie taking people. The recommendation should be to simply not be violent at a protest so that you are not arrested, which results in the confiscation of your phone (and generally a good chuck of cash, and perhaps anal virginity).

          I'm probably one of the most pro Free Speech people you will ever meet. Free Speech does not include any form of violence. See the Non Aggression Principle

          • Pffft

            One well placed undercover officer or paid nobody can turn a peaceful demonstration into a violent one in a hurry.

            Even IF you're following all the rules, if someone in charge decides they're tired of your cute little protest, they'll put the undercover in play to " justify " the use of force to remove you.

            • by s.petry ( 762400 )
              People that have no ability to control their own actions should not leave a mental institution, let alone attend a protest.
      • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Thursday March 23, 2017 @05:32PM (#54098559)

        or don't bring one at all..

        Then how are you going to coordinate the riot?

        • Some way that doesn't leave an electronic trail that will make conspiracy charges easy peasy?

          This couldn't happen to a bigger group of assholes, so good.

        • by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Thursday March 23, 2017 @06:07PM (#54098795) Homepage

          or don't bring one at all..

          Then how are you going to coordinate the riot?

          I should ask my mom how they coordinated these protests in the black pre mobile phone ages http://www.lubin82.pl/fotograf... [lubin82.pl] I was (9) at those, still have the smell of tear gas show up once in a while when I smell certain chemicals.

          • by namgge ( 777284 )
            A predecessor to Twitter was the 'telephone tree'. The leader phoned N supporters, who each phoned N supporters, etc.
            • Very few people had phones in Poland at that time. Usually it was a few people meeting at someones house and then passing the info along as it spread though the city through small get togethers.

        • A) There was no riot. B) I'm pretty sure there have been riots before phones. These are just the obvious ones: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
    • That was a bit more than just a "protest".
    • by swb ( 14022 ) on Thursday March 23, 2017 @05:36PM (#54098589)

      More than a burner, they should coordinate their burners. Load them up with tantalizing information that wastes a ton of investigation time, but being careful not to have any actual prosecutor conspiracies.

      Use burners with known weaknesses or backdoors and set them up with passcodes or weak encryption so they look legitimate but are easily broken with diagnostic software.

      Emails about stuff supposedly buried in parks, or sunk in lakes at specific GPS coordinates. Treasure-map fantasies. Rent a storage space and decorate it with Independence Day decorations, but make it sound like it's full of anarchist equipment.

      Bonus points if you can capture video streams of the Feds digging up a park or walking into a storage locker filled with decorations.

      If you did it right, they might get tired of grabbing phones with the idea that they won't know which ones have real solid info and which ones will leave them chasing their tails.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by HornWumpus ( 783565 )

        That would require intelligence. Remember who we're talking about.

        Losers throwing emotional hissy fits aren't known for well thought out plans.

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        According to the latest vault 7 https://sputniknews.com/world/... [sputniknews.com] (I simply could not resist using that particular news resource), grabbing phones is not about getting stuff off the phone, it is about getting stuff on the phone. You take someone's phone and then hand them back, 'your', phone because they do not own it any more, it just spies on them from there in on.

        Once they take your digital gear, just accept it as lost for ever, buy an new replacement (it has to be new) and sell the old, pretty guarant

        • Been through customs with you phone and you lost sight of it for a couple of minutes, well, sucker you should have dumped it right away because the chances that phone that someone else now owns has been spying on you since then.

          So I will just take a nandroid before I fly and then restore it on the plane, easy peasy. It takes more than a couple of minutes to make a new backup. And if I actually use encryption then I get a password which they would have to know in order to fake my backup.

      • Maybe not (Score:4, Insightful)

        by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Thursday March 23, 2017 @11:22PM (#54100329)

        Load them up with tantalizing information that wastes a ton of investigation time

        Maybe not.
        Your time gets wasted a lot as well answering questions.
        As an (old) example Steve Jackson Games employees had a lot of trouble over the "GURPS Cyberpunk" game rules after a Secret Service raid despite it being extremely obvious fantasy/SF (1990, so the computer you are using today would have been wild SF let alone cyberpunk stuff).
        http://www.sjgames.com/SS/
        Your obvious fabrication, selectively quoted, could end up resulting in serious prison time for you if it looks like somebody can get a promotion for catching conspiritators.


        Thinking about it as if you are going to be dealing with an ideal justice system is probably a very bad idea. I'd say expect less comic book more Kafka (or similar eastern european writer describing a corrupt justice system).

        • by swb ( 14022 )

          Well, if you start with the premise that you're engaging in an unsanctioned protest with violent elements you're already risking a lot of legal exposure. You can be charged in Federal court with felony riot, so if you want to avoid exposure to non-ideal justice then maybe the best advice is stay home and rant on social media.

          Obviously coordinating a disinformation campaign targeted at undermining and misleading Federal police agencies is dicey business to put it mildly. That being said, planting useless i

          • by dbIII ( 701233 )
            Playing head games with people who can beat you up without consequence if you frustrate them - not clever.
            Things are a bit different to the movies here kiddies. It's time to pay attention to policing lessons from the third world because those rights you thought you had vanish in dark places.
    • Define "protest" (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Thursday March 23, 2017 @06:09PM (#54098813)

      Setting fires to cars and smashing windows is not a "protest".

      You would think criminals would already know to use burner phones...

      But then how would these gangsters be able to adequately send a selfie to Instagram in front of a smashed up store or burning vehicle? The cameras on burner phones suck, not to mention it would't have your Starbucks card loaded.

      • They think they are smart and everybody else is stupid, their * studies profs told them. Overconfidence will get them every time.

        Conspiracy laws are a bitch. The 'crime' spreads like herpes.

    • by ichthus ( 72442 )
      Or, make sure that when George Soros hires you to protest, he also provides you with a phone.
    • we need to make them really work, to the point of being overloaded.

      imagine if 10,000 people showed up and were 'violent enough' (not that I even believe this crap) to get their phones stolen. yes, stolen, not 'seized'. and they put nothing but encrypted random bytes on it.

      the so-called authorities would spend man-years trying to get nothing.

      imagine if it was 100k or 1M people.

      the ultimate DOS of the feds that no longer work for us, but seem to be a rogue arm of the government.

      it would bring a big smile to

      • > magine if 10,000 people showed up and were 'violent enough' (not
        > that I even believe this crap) to get their phones stolen. yes, stolen,
        > not 'seized'. and they put nothing but encrypted random bytes on it.

        > the so-called authorities would spend man-years trying to get nothing.

        > imagine if it was 100k or 1M people.

        Or you may be in a similar situation, and if you're in a situation like
        That, there's only one thing you can do:

        Walk into the shrink wherever you are, just walk in, say, "Shrink,

    • Why will that help you? If you get arrested for firebombing a bank and they find a burner phone on you and crack it, it's still evidence.

    • by Agripa ( 139780 )

      ...if you're going to a protest, bring a burner phone. Bonus points if you set the wallpaper to goatse.

      But that would be evidence that you planned ahead.

  • by SlashDread ( 38969 ) on Thursday March 23, 2017 @05:28PM (#54098503)

    became violent protestors during his inauguration? WTF did the man even say?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Feds gain access to cell phones which may provide evidence of Trump's link to Russian election hacking
    -CNN

  • Two things: (Score:5, Funny)

    by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Thursday March 23, 2017 @05:33PM (#54098571) Journal

    All of the Rioter Cell Phones were locked, which requires more time-sensitive efforts to try to obtain the data," Jennifer Kerkhoff, an assistant United States attorney, wrote.

    Every last one of the seized phones were locked? That seems hardly representative of the general population, although I suppose "violent protesters" may indeed be more security conscious.

    Jennifer Kerkhoff. J. Kerkhoff. I mean, no surprise in her career selection of prosecuting attorney after what must've been some pretty tough early years in school.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by iggymanz ( 596061 )

      Hilary's thug wranglers told them to do that when they were hired

      • Hilary's thug wranglers told them to do that when they were hired

        Impossible. Every body knows Trumps Russian assassins killed all of Hillery's thug wranglers right after they killed those three million Mass. residents that illegally voted in New Hampshire. That was Putin's "congratulations" present to all the Trumpanzees.

        Now, for a serious question; Is there anyone at all that really thinks this? Because wow man, you dudes are supposed to be way too unhip to trip.

        Please come back to Planet Consensus reality

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I can't remember ever borrowing or watching someone open their phone and there wasn't a lock on it. Yes, an actual lock with some kind of code, not just "slide to unlock". Actually, and I'm really really thinking deeply now, I did see one phone without a lock on it. It was a flip phone that was owned by my mother and never used.

      I would wager that the number of unlocked phones at a violent protests is about the same as the number of flip phones. Very low, but non-zero. Will you see one in a sample of 100? M
      • Well I've tried unsuccessfully several times now to take a picture of my phone with my phone. I just can't seem to move it fast enough. But if I succeeded you would have been able to increment the number of phones you'd seen without a lock by one.

        My wallet is in one back pocket, phone in another. Neither has a lock, I'd be a lot more concerned if somebody stole my wallet. You can buy things with what's inside, with my phone you can call folks like the plumber, see pictures of my dog or the house I'm rem

  • DC Police have been going though all the available tape, identifying the protesters that broke the law then pressing felony charges.

    My guess is they are going to grab all the pictures and video off their phones to see if they can ID a few more folks to charge and amass more evidence for the cases they have already charged..

    My advice is.... If you intend to go protest, don't break the law.... If you choose to ignore my advice, I suggest you not take photos and videos of the proceedings and leave your elec

  • At first I thought this is some real progress! Wow, faith in my country restored! Then I continued reading and found out the phones were seized from protesters and not the trump administration.
    • by Somebody Is Using My ( 985418 ) on Thursday March 23, 2017 @07:26PM (#54099283) Homepage

      I really do not see that much of an issue with this.

      The government got a warrant to search the electronic devices. These devices were seized at the time of arrest. Rather than require the owners to unlock the phones - potentially violating our protected right against self-incrimination - they are using third-party software to hack the devices. The government intends - admittedly, as legally required - to share all gathered information with the defense lawyers - and are pledging to delete any information not relevant to the case.

      You can make the argument that some of the people arrested during the riots are innocent. That may be true, but irrelevant to the issue at hand: that the government is searching these devices. You might argue that the government may use the information gleaned from the devices in ways that are not covered by the warrant, and that is a legitimate worry but there is no evidence that is happening. But given that these people were arrested, we should expect the prosecutors to use all available legal means to build a case against the defendants. That they are searching the phones is as much a story if the police had gotten a warrant to seize the defendants diaries (which is to say, not much of a story) .

      The fact is, there were apparently riots [cbsnews.com] during the inauguration. I am no supporter of Trump but that's just shameful; there's nothing wrong with assembly and protest but some people went beyond that. People were arrested and honestly I would expect the government to try them for their actions. There is a lot I find worrisome about Trump's government, but this is not one of them; this is a case where everything seems to be done legitimately and by-the-book.

  • The "March for Science" is floundering [statnews.com] as various grievance groups push their diversity agendas into the fore. The event's "official diversity policy" is now on its forth revision amid the resignations of organization committee members.

    Some are concerned the event will — much like the vaunted Women's March — have conspicuously white optics. Others are concerned the March for Science is losing focus as sundry aggrieved interests try to attach themselves to the imprimatur of "science." In all

    • by gtall ( 79522 )

      Nah, I don't think the Republicans will show up, they don't believe in Science.

      G-d visits Mitch McConnell in the Garden of Eden

      G-d: Mitch, how come my apple is still on the Tree of Knowledge?
      Mitch: No Republican wants to be like Einstein, we heard he’s not like us.
      G-d: What? Jewish?
      Mitch: No, a scientist.

  • There are companies that make "plain" cell phones that do nothing but send and receive calls.

    They are mostly marketed to people who want "a land line in their pocket." One even advertises "it has dial tone!" (oooh, ahhh, shiney!).

    If the feds seize a phone like this, all they will get is the electronic serial number an, consequently, your phone number and whatever they can get with that information. They won't get anything else useful of the phone itself.

  • by erp_consultant ( 2614861 ) on Thursday March 23, 2017 @07:28PM (#54099293)

    Obviously an organized protest. Should be interesting.

  • I doubt there were that many at Trump's inauguration.

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