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Careful What You Post, the FBI Has More of These

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the do-you-see-what-i-see dept.

Government 761

jamie writes "A comment posted to a website got its author's *friend's* car an unwanted aftermarket addon. The Orion Guardian ST820, a GPS tracking device, was attached to the underside of the car by the FBI. No warrant required. The bugged friend, a college student studying marketing, was apparently under suspicion because he's half-Egyptian. As Bruce Schneier says, 'If they're doing this to someone so tangentially connected to a vaguely bothersome post on an obscure blog, just how many of us have tracking devices on our cars right now ...' The ACLU is investigating." This follows up on our earlier mention of the same student, who turned the tracking device over to the FBI.

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761 comments

frist psot (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33884278)

The FBI is pants.

Re:frist psot (2, Funny)

alop (67204) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884322)

Don't you hate pants?

get a lawsuit (4, Informative)

Ryanrule (1657199) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884306)

and get it to the supreme court. if they say this is legal, burn it down. simple really.

Re:get a lawsuit (5, Insightful)

hrvatska (790627) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884478)

After making that comment you might want to check your car for a tracking device.

Re:get a lawsuit (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884554)

How will I know one when I see one?

I mean if its a little square box with a blinking red light, I think I can figure it out. If it looks inconspicuous enough, how do I know if I'm removing a GPS device or the bolt that seals my oil pan?

Re:get a lawsuit (3, Informative)

Surt (22457) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884590)

I'd recommend you go look at the pictures of the device that have been posted. It will not be hard to recognize. And this is not a thing they can easily disguise, the biggest part of it is a battery.
http://www.google.com/images?q=fbi+tracking+device&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=og&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wi&biw=1600&bih=1047 [google.com]

Re:get a lawsuit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33884682)

I'd recommend you go RTFA where it says the device planted on this dudes car is old and not used much anymore. The new ones are smaller and get wired to the car battery so they have no need for their own.

Re:get a lawsuit (4, Informative)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884696)

A former FBI agent commented on one of the stories that this is a rather old model, the newer ones hook in in the engine compartment directly to power and don't need batteries, so it might be harder then you think.

Re:get a lawsuit (2, Insightful)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884760)

A former FBI agent commented on one of the stories that this is a rather old model, the newer ones hook in in the engine compartment directly to power and don't need batteries, so it might be harder then you think.

Well, to get to the power they would have to patch into some wires, or go in through the hood. Ignoring the fact that they do not own the gasoline that powers my vehicle, the interior of my vehicle is not a public place.

Re:get a lawsuit (1)

MichaelKristopeit 29 (1916936) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884786)

so they are stealing power from suspects without warrants?

Re:get a lawsuit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33884780)

You mean my bike? I don't think they could hide one that size on there.

Here's a story about this from August (5, Informative)

ConaxConax (1886430) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884600)

The link was http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/08599201315000 [yahoo.com] but that seems to be dead.
The link can be searched on Google: http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/08599201315000 [google.co.uk]

Here is the text from when it was active as the best I can do:

The Government's New Right to Track Your Every Move With GPS Government agents can sneak onto your property in the middle of the night, put a GPS device on the bottom of your car and keep track of everywhere you go. This doesn't violate your Fourth Amendment rights, because you do not have any reasonable expectation of privacy in your own driveway - and no reasonable expectation that the government isn't tracking your movements. That is the bizarre - and scary - rule that now applies in California and eight other Western states. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which covers this vast jurisdiction, recently decided the government can monitor you in this way virtually anytime it wants - with no need for a search warrant. (See a TIME photoessay on Cannabis Culture.) It is a dangerous decision - one that, as the dissenting judges warned, could turn America into the sort of totalitarian state imagined by George Orwell. It is particularly offensive because the judges added insult to injury with some shocking class bias: the little personal privacy that still exists, the court suggested, should belong mainly to the rich. This case began in 2007, when Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents decided to monitor Juan Pineda-Moreno, an Oregon resident who they suspected was growing marijuana. They snuck onto his property in the middle of the night and found his Jeep in his driveway, a few feet from his trailer home. Then they attached a GPS tracking device to the vehicle's underside. After Pineda-Moreno challenged the DEA's actions, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit ruled in January that it was all perfectly legal. More disturbingly, a larger group of judges on the circuit, who were subsequently asked to reconsider the ruling, decided this month to let it stand. (Pineda-Moreno has pleaded guilty conditionally to conspiracy to manufacture marijuana and manufacturing marijuana while appealing the denial of his motion to suppress evidence obtained with the help of GPS.) In fact, the government violated Pineda-Moreno's privacy rights in two different ways. For starters, the invasion of his driveway was wrong. The courts have long held that people have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their homes and in the "curtilage," a fancy legal term for the area around the home. The government's intrusion on property just a few feet away was clearly in this zone of privacy. The judges veered into offensiveness when they explained why Pineda-Moreno's driveway was not private. It was open to strangers, they said, such as delivery people and neighborhood children, who could wander across it uninvited. (See the misadventures of the CIA.) Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, who dissented from this month's decision refusing to reconsider the case, pointed out whose homes are not open to strangers: rich people's. The court's ruling, he said, means that people who protect their homes with electric gates, fences and security booths have a large protected zone of privacy around their homes. People who cannot afford such barriers have to put up with the government sneaking around at night. Judge Kozinski is a leading conservative, appointed by President Ronald Reagan, but in his dissent he came across as a raging liberal. "There's been much talk about diversity on the bench, but there's one kind of diversity that doesn't exist," he wrote. "No truly poor people are appointed as federal judges, or as state judges for that matter." The judges in the majority, he charged, were guilty of "cultural elitism."

I don't know how well this stands, but hey, it's something!

Re:get a lawsuit (5, Insightful)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884608)

You know what the retarded thing is? The friend's comment that supposedly aroused suspicion is completely innocuous. All he's doing is pointing out how easy it is to attack the 99% of targets we haven't tried to harden, rather than the 1% we have, and concluding terrorism isn't much of a threat as a result.

Agree with his conclusions or disagree, it's hard to shake the idea that the FBI is punishing him because he had the nerve to think rationally, and point out how retarded our whole "anti-terrorism" thing is. How dare he see through the farce?!

Re:get a lawsuit (0, Troll)

uniquename72 (1169497) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884650)

But then there's always the possibility that he actually IS a terrorist. We only have his word that he's a law-abiding citizen, and no evidence at all that his friend's post is related to the tracking device.

Re:get a lawsuit (5, Informative)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884722)

No, we have the presumption of innocence that says that he is a law-abiding citizen. If the FBI suspects he's not, they can gather evidence with due fucking process.

got spyware? (4, Funny)

Gary W. Longsine (124661) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884314)

Post to this thread, and be the first person on your block to receive a free GPS tracking device! (The device will be mounted under your car, hidden. Peel slowly, and see!)

iCock (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33884350)

By Apple, for all the cock lovers.

Re:got spyware? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33884378)

You know, I'd do just that if I wanted to undermine your government (and were in your country).

This sort of publicity recruits for terrorist organisations, after all.

Re:got spyware? (3, Informative)

WCMI92 (592436) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884432)

Try this on my property, you WILL get shot. No warrant, not invited, attempting to tamper with something of mine means risking lawful execution by Castle Doctrine law.

Ignore the Constitution by taking some judge's opinion over the written law at your own risk.

Re:got spyware? (2, Insightful)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884482)

What a gentle and meaningful way to solve a problem!

Instead, why not drive a bugged vehicle to some interesting destinations?

After all, a paranoid Castle Doctrine threatening to execute federal workers or contractors wouldn't get you under any kind of real suspicion, would it? After all, this is just between us, right?

Re:got spyware? (2, Funny)

lwsimon (724555) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884640)

Hush. Maybe he's planning to hunt over a baited field.

Re:got spyware? (2, Funny)

blennidae (650683) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884674)

Had my next door neighbor dealing with a bad divorce and his soon to be ex-wife hired a private investigator who placed a gps tracker on this guys car. He found it and asked me what to do about it. I told him to use google to find some address in the Far East and send the gps tracker via the slowest mail service he could get to there. Don't know if he ever did it, but . . .

Re:got spyware? (2, Insightful)

Surt (22457) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884510)

Yeah, because the FBI sucks at finding good times to do these things. Good luck with that. They'll shoot you dead before you make it out your front door with your gun. Unless you happen to be that one navy seal who posts on slashdot, you lose in this confrontation.

Re:got spyware? (1)

lwsimon (724555) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884630)

Law Enforcement in general are not just incredibly great marksmen. Statistically, an armed citizen is far more likely to hit the target and stop the threat. Don't take that to mean the GP isn't a moron for his post, however. I'm just pointing out that a badge doesn't make you a good shot.

Re:got spyware? (4, Funny)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884678)

Yeah, because the FBI sucks at finding good times to do these things. Good luck with that. They'll shoot you dead before you make it out your front door with your gun. Unless you happen to be that one navy seal who posts on slashdot, you lose in this confrontation.

He's not a Seal, but he's logged about 5,000 hours on Halo II in his mom's basement, and since he's 28 years old now, he could actually buy a firearm. So you shadow-government federal toadies better watch out, man.

Re:got spyware? (2, Funny)

straponego (521991) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884580)

Okay, given Law Enforcement's propensity to mix up addresses in no-knock, flash-bang, run-in-shooting raids, I would like to ask the fine, upstanding gentlemen of the FBI to note that despite the fact that my UID is similar to WCMI92's, and we're both on the same site, I have never even heard of him before and have nothing to do with the parent statement.

Wait, now we're in the same thread... crapcrapcrap....

Re:got spyware? (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884622)

Castle doctrine doesn't work that way.

If you tried it you'd be rightfully thrown in prison.

Re:got spyware? (2, Informative)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884698)

It greatly depends on what state you are in.

In Texas [state.tx.us] , for example, if you saw somebody tampering with your car at night you would be justified in using lethal force to stop them in many cases.

Re:got spyware? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884758)

Would legal force really be justified, or would it simply be allowed under Texas law?

Re:got spyware? (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884774)

What is retarded is that he is being modded 'informative' for his complete ignorance of the conditions and responsibilities of Castle Doctrine.

Re:got spyware? (4, Insightful)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884628)

That is not how Castle Doctrine works, and you do a great disservice to all responsible gun owners by spreading such FUD, not to mention being a poor example of character. There would be insufficient evidence from somebody just walking up to your vehicle, stooping down, and then walking away for you to 'reasonably believe' that they were committing an act sufficient enough to warrant a response of deadly force. You would not *ever* get that to stand up in court.

People like you are an embarrassment to those of us who work hard to get things like Castle Doctrine in place, and then you interpret it, in complete ignorance, to mean that you can kill any person for any reason so long as they have a foot over your property line. I wouldn't be surprised if you were a false flag plant of gun control advocates out to make gun owners look bad.

Re:got spyware? (0, Flamebait)

WCMI92 (592436) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884740)

That is not how Castle Doctrine works, and you do a great disservice to all responsible gun owners by spreading such FUD, not to mention being a poor example of character. There would be insufficient evidence from somebody just walking up to your vehicle, stooping down, and then walking away for you to 'reasonably believe' that they were committing an act sufficient enough to warrant a response of deadly force. You would not *ever* get that to stand up in court.

To get to my vehicle means breaking into my garage, which means invading my home.

If you break into my home, how am I to know the difference between a FBI person taking advantage of a horrible judicial opinion that will be overturned by the Supreme Court and a rapist breaking into my home to rape my wife/daughters?

Answer: There isn't any way. That's why the Castle Doctrine was passed into law. There are lawful ways for law enforcement to bug me, or even to gain entrance into my home and it involves showing sufficient probable cause to a judge. Not breaking and entering on a whim.

That's why we have a Constitution.

Re:got spyware? (1)

iammani (1392285) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884788)

Yeah, all that means is that you can attack (with a gun or with bare hands) as a means of self-defense. Shooting someone just because they stepped foot in your property, is well, moronic.

To quote from the wiki...
  The occupant(s) of the home must reasonably believe that the intruder intends to inflict serious bodily harm or death upon an occupant of the home

Re:got spyware? (2, Informative)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884804)

There would be insufficient evidence from somebody just walking up to your vehicle, stooping down, and then walking away for you to 'reasonably believe' that they were committing an act sufficient enough to warrant a response of deadly force.

If it happened at night and in Texas it just might. Note the section on criminal mischief:

Sec. 9.42. DEADLY FORCE TO PROTECT PROPERTY. A person is justified in using deadly force against another to protect land or tangible, movable property:

(1) if he would be justified in using force against the other under Section 9.41; and

(2) when and to the degree he reasonably believes the deadly force is immediately necessary:

(A) to prevent the other's imminent commission of arson, burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, theft during the nighttime, or criminal mischief during the nighttime; or

(B) to prevent the other who is fleeing immediately after committing burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, or theft during the nighttime from escaping with the property; and

(3) he reasonably believes that:

(A) the land or property cannot be protected or recovered by any other means; or

(B) the use of force other than deadly force to protect or recover the land or property would expose the actor or another to a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury.

So what is criminal mischief?

Sec. 28.03. CRIMINAL MISCHIEF. (a) A person commits an offense if, without the effective consent of the owner:

(1) he intentionally or knowingly damages or destroys the tangible property of the owner;

(2) he intentionally or knowingly tampers with the tangible property of the owner and causes pecuniary loss or substantial inconvenience to the owner or a third person; or

(3) he intentionally or knowingly makes markings, including inscriptions, slogans, drawings, or paintings, on the tangible property of the owner.

Re:got spyware? (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884658)

Castle Doctrine doesn't necessarily apply in your state (some have codified a duty to retreat), doesn't necessarily apply to someone on your property, versus unlawfully entering your home, and:

In general, one (sometimes more) of a variety of conditions must be met before a person can legally use the Castle Doctrine: [ . . . ] The intruder must be acting illegally—e.g. the Castle Doctrine does not give the right to attack officers of the law acting in the course of their legal duties

(source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castle_doctrine [wikipedia.org] )

Better be careful with that hair trigger, cowboy.

Re:got spyware? (3, Insightful)

rednip (186217) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884686)

lawful execution by Castle Doctrine law.

Can you tell me the last time a citizen was able to successfully use weapons to defend his property from 'intrusion' by any determined authority, local or federal? Rambo fantasies are so lame.

Re:got spyware? (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884700)

Read about Ruby Ridge and the Waco Siege. Both didn't end very well. It was not handled properly. But buy the time you're dead, no "sorry" from the Feds will ever turn back the clock.

Re:got spyware? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33884782)

Try this on my property, you WILL get a lawsuit. Or a harsh talking to. Or maybe an ice cream if you are nice about removing the device. Please.

(PS: I'm in Canada)

Re:got spyware? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33884800)

Even if Castle Doctrine applies, you can't just yell "Castle Doctrine" when they come to arrest you and they shrug and leave. You're gonna have to go through a lot of crap . . .

Re:got spyware? (2, Interesting)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884444)

Hell yes. I wouldn't give it back either.

I would disassemble it and post it on youtube. Or try to hack it and see if I can come up with a neat use for it.

Why give it back? If they put it on your car, do they still own it? I'd like to think not.

Re:got spyware? (2, Interesting)

jandrese (485) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884518)

They're going to bust you for destruction of federal property. You can argue that it was put on your car on your property, but I wouldn't expect to get very far. If a police car pulls into your driveway and parks there for 15 minutes while the cop runs down some suspect, you don't suddenly own the car.

That said, the FBI should really put a sticker on the things that says something like "Property of the US Government, if found, call 1-800-XXX-XXXXX".

Re:got spyware? (1)

Stregano (1285764) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884648)

The hell I can't. That car is mine now. Well, either way I am driving it.

Re:got spyware? (4, Funny)

vandelais (164490) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884596)

You should attach it next to the one I stuck on Carly Fiorina's campaign bus.

Re:got spyware? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33884790)

My approach would be to toss the device in the trash, then let them follow it to the dump.

If they can put it on your car, you can remove it.

Obscure? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33884320)

The post was on reddit so was hardly an obscure blog.

Re:Obscure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33884396)

More than likely posted somewhere obscure and then reposted on Reddit. Most Reddit content is stuff thats been posted elsewhere first.

Re:Obscure? (1)

kg8484 (1755554) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884592)

There were two posts. The initial comment that got the FBI's attention was posted by the friend to an obscure blog. Later on, the owner of the vehicle then posted on reddit asking what the device was.

This is just paranoid (5, Funny)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884324)

Just because I criticize the US government's homeland policies doesn't mean... hey, what's this big red blinking thing on the underside of my laptop?

Re:This is just paranoid (0, Redundant)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884462)

Oh, that's just the latest FBI gadget which %!@#$ NO CARRIER

Re:This is just paranoid (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884594)

Don't cut the RED wire!

Re:This is just paranoid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33884634)

Just because I criticize the US government's homeland policies doesn't mean... hey, what's this big red blinking thing on the underside of my laptop?

Your battery!! Or is it.....?

Operation: Fearstorm (5, Interesting)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884332)

4chan / Anon should start a campaign called "operation fearstorm" in which local crimestoppers and FBI tip lines are flooded with anonymous terrorism and pedophile suspicions of random citizens, or perhaps the families of law enforcement, local politicians, and the clergy.

Mainstream media coverage of the fiasco will show just how stupid and bust-desperate the Feds are. And, of course, the most dangerous are the informants and provocateurs [globalresearch.ca] working for the feds. They should be rounded up and beaten brutally.

Re:Operation: Fearstorm (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884368)

I think the point of the article is that you've probably just earned yourself a tracking device, thanks to this post/idea. Enjoy that.

Re:Operation: Fearstorm (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884522)

I'm sure he will, he can sell it for a lot on ebay.

Re:Operation: Fearstorm (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884784)

Maybe we could just overwhelm them with suspicious activity, until the burden of tracking everyone becomes more than they have the budget for.

(More likely, they will just track whoever they do have the budget for, following the same logic as the DEA follows.)

Re:Operation: Fearstorm (2, Insightful)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884370)

Unfortunately, no it won't. It'll cause the general public, which is composed of idiots, to shake their heads at how awful those anonymous internet people are.

Re:Operation: Fearstorm (1)

embolalia (1561119) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884406)

The politicians probably deserve to be tracked anyway...

Re:Operation: Fearstorm (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884726)

Anon is a semi-organized sack of worthless.

Screw with them (1)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884352)

This makes me want to screw with them. Get their attention - get a tracker installed. Find the tracking device, duplicate it and its signal and start sticking them on strange things like freight trains, ships, delivery trucks, send one to space on a weather balloon ...

I wonder what RF they use. If it's cellular that could be a problem. But also not a particularly reliable situation for the FBI.

All commenters will be tagged (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33884360)

If you comment here you will be tagged and tracked. True story.

I am a Muslim (2, Insightful)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884374)

.. and most of my friends do not care about this. It's part of the religion to care less about possible adversities as a result of your good action.

Albanian emigrant - one of those that were trapped by FBI via Egyptian scumbag into the army base plot - famously said to that informant at some point (pre-arrest, of course): "I do not care if you work for FBI, I will do what I have to do". (something to that avail).

That's the attitude unbelievers should learn from Muslims: if you stand for something right, do not be afraid of adversary consequences.

Re:I am a Muslim (5, Insightful)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884542)

Actually this is the attitude of all religious nuts. Extremist Christians blew up a Planned Parenthood in California last month even though it is clearly illegal. Israeli Extremists are occupying the West Bank, because they think it was given to them by God. All religious extremism has this same type of stupidity.

Re:I am a Muslim (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33884692)

How is mass murder a "good action"? Why is the guy a scumbag for stopping it from happening?

Seriously?? On THIS story you identify yourself as muslim and side with convicted terrorists?

Have fun with your shiny new tracking device.

Re:I am a Muslim (4, Insightful)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884748)

Dan667 has already said what I was going to say. This is why people are afraid of Muslims and other religious fundamentalists. All you apparently need is to feel what you're doing is right and then you ignore everyone and everything else. It's a dangerous mindset that is divorced from reality and responsibility by design. It is the very mindset that has enabled and empowered all of the atrocities committed in the name of religion, and for that matter, ideologies in general.

Pascal's Wager for the Paranoid (3, Interesting)

embolalia (1561119) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884382)

Anyone else tempted to try and drive a route that spells "I know you're watching" when seen on a map?

Re:Pascal's Wager for the Paranoid (2, Funny)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884460)

Hah! Worlds largest etch a sketch. Draw on the FBI's maps today!

disgusting abuse of government power (1)

rebot777 (765163) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884384)

I really wish that the first thing he had done upon learning of the tracking device was contact the ACLU. I find this so disconcerting. I hope someone stands up to this type of government tracking so we can get some momentum going to protect our civil liberties.

This... (1)

Codename Dutchess (1782238) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884386)

Is just one more reason for me not to own a car. Not that I'd be the one getting a gps attached to it if I did...

Re:This... (1)

embolalia (1561119) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884440)

Well now they'll just have to put a chip in your brain. *dons tinfoil hat*

Re:This... (1)

Codename Dutchess (1782238) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884528)

"No, Mr. FBI agent, its just to keep the heat in. Its cold out."

Bzzzt. Wrong. (5, Informative)

Mr 44 (180750) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884388)

Well, this article doesn't "follow up" on jack. It's just less informative and more inflammatory than the original.

He wasn't being tracked becasue of a blog post at all. His father was a notable political figure, and he travels and sends money to suspicious locations. From the article linked on the original slashdot story:

The agents also knew he was planning a short business trip to Dubai in a few weeks. Afifi said he often travels for business and has two teenage brothers in Egypt whom he supports financially. They live with an aunt. His U.S.-born mother, who divorced his father five years ago, lives in Arizona.

Afifi's father, Aladdin Afifi, was a U.S. citizen and former president of the Muslim Community Association here, before his family moved to Egypt in 2003. Yasir Afifi returned to the United States alone in 2008, while his father and brothers stayed in Egypt, to further his education he said. He knows he's on a federal watchlist and is regularly taken aside at airports for secondary screening.

Re:Bzzzt. Wrong. (5, Insightful)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884540)

Agreed, the only part that's troubling is that none of this required a warrant. If they had an issued warrant, I wouldn't care.

Re:Bzzzt. Wrong. (2, Interesting)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884730)

Thus explaining why the FBI took the time to question him about the blog post?

Obscurity (2, Informative)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884404)

Alexa has Reddit at #239...Schneier at #36148. Just for the record.

Legal tracking. (4, Interesting)

Timmmm (636430) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884418)

One interesting thing from TFA is that newer GPS trackers are installed under the bonnet, and powered by the car battery. I can sort of see how one might say you can track cars without a warrant using magnetic, battery powered GPS trackers (like the one in the article), but how on earth can breaking into the car not require a warrant?

Re:Legal tracking. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33884494)

And using my power, which I paid for!

Re:Legal tracking. (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884756)

Because individual rights mean squat these days?

Possible easy means of detection. (1)

OnePumpChump (1560417) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884424)

How much do the new ones weigh, and would the scales used to weigh trucks (many of which are available for weighing cars) detect the difference? That one in the first story about this, allegedly an old model, looked heavy enough that they'd catch it, but if they've got something that weighs just a couple of ounces, maybe not. Of course, to do this, you would have to be absolutely meticulous about cleaning and emptying the car before each weigh-in, and you'd always need the same equipment in and on the car as you had on your baseline.

Re:Possible easy means of detection. (2, Informative)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884610)

How much do the new ones weigh, and would the scales used to weigh trucks (many of which are available for weighing cars) detect the difference?

Too many variables. 1/2 gallon of gas either way would more than make up the difference.

Rules... (5, Interesting)

rotide (1015173) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884430)

If the government has a warrant to track your vehicle with a GPS device, I'm fine with them tracking it.

Some caveats.

1) They should _not_ be allowed onto private property to install said devices. That's a slippery slope. If your property is not private, then what is? If I'm on my driveway, apparently it's fair game "because the UPS driver can walk on it". But what if you park in the yard because too many cars are in the driveway? What if you park around back? What if you park in a car port? What if it's in the garage but the door is open enough to get in? What if... No. Follow me and tag my car when it's in a public place, again, if you have a warrant to do so.

2) If I find a device on my car and I don't know you put it there. It's mine, period. Now, if you tell me its there and that's its government property and I'm legally obligated to leave it there, fine. I can rent a car (I guess that's why they don't tell you). But you can't expect me to just inherently know that the device isn't mine when I had no idea you put it there without my knowledge. For all I know it's a part of the car right out of the factory.

This BS with agents/contractors going onto private property installing devices and then threatening you when you find it... It has to stop.

Not sure about getting this to the SCOTUS (2, Interesting)

crumbz (41803) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884448)

Given that the 7th and 9th Circuits have OK'd warrantless tracking, I am unsure how quickly the Supreme Court would grant cert on this issue. And given the current members of the Court, I might not like their decision.

More to it... (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884452)

If they're doing this to someone so tangentially connected to a vaguely bothersome post on an obscure blog,...

Um, no not really. It' looks as if there's more to it ...

From the Wired article:

Afifi’s father, Aladdin Afifi, was a U.S. citizen and former president of the Muslim Community Association here, before his family moved to Egypt in 2003. Yasir Afifi returned to the United States alone in 2008, while his father and brothers stayed in Egypt, to further his education he said. He knows he’s on a federal watchlist and is regularly taken aside at airports for secondary screening.

So, this "Muslim Community Association" could be tied somehow (maybe in the FBI's imagination) to terrorism or funding of terrorism and maybe the sending money overseas is somehow another red flag by the Feds which warrants the extra surveillance. The kid is being watched anyway and maybe the blog post got the tracking on his car - or not.

Re:More to it... (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884616)

Hell, it's entirely possible that some of the money from that Muslim Community Associate IS going to terrorist groups. Even if his intentions were as pure as driven snow, it's really hard to track what happens to money once it lands in the middle east.

Muslim (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33884466)

I think they're tracking him more because of his Muslim and foreign influences than because of any blog post. Of course the blog does reveal a bit about that kind of planning.

Strange (5, Interesting)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884492)

I read a series of the attached articles. A seperate instance upon which the apparent ruling that allows this particular abuse of power said: "On two occasions, agents sneaked into his driveway before dawn to affix the tracking devices to the undercarriage of his Jeep." Can't you at the very least say that this constitutes trespassing or illegal search? I'm shocked that this doesn't violate constitutionally granted freedoms (privacy, illegal search, etc.)

Re:Strange (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33884746)

The only ruling that says it doesn't is from the 9th circuit, the most overruled court in the nation. The Supremes will throw this out.

Re:Strange (2, Interesting)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884802)

The problem is that to the court's thinking, there's no "expectation of privacy" in a driveway unless there's obvious effort that's been placed at excluding random passers-by: e.g., fencing, and a gate. The thinking being, "Well if you care about keeping your driveway private, you should have made an effort to make it so people can't access it."

The dissenting opinion (interestingly from a fairly conservative judge appointed by Reagan) actually cited the fact that this creates an economic imbalance - poor people can't afford gated driveways & fencing, rich people can.

A fairly thorough writeup can be found here [executivegov.com] . Interesting to note that that article also talks about a DC court recently deciding that extended GPS tracking requires a warrant - there's no clear precedent, and so it's very likely that this will end up in one form or another before the Supreme Court.

Call your local military IED disposal unit/base (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33884498)

after you have parked it in Times Square
and then tell them that you have found a blackbox with a red flashing light and an antenna clamped under your car, and see what happens
you wouldnt, as an observant patriotic citizen want to take any chances would you ?
let that happen a few times and the FBI responsible for causing the resulting clusterfuck will be spanked before they know whats hit them

Motorcycles (4, Insightful)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884506)

Here is one other advantage of using a motorcycle as your primary means of transportation. It's a lot harder to hide anything on a motorcycle than it is to hide something on a car.

Re:Motorcycles (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884568)

s/motorcycle/bicycle/

Good luck hiding anything on my bike...

Re:Motorcycles (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884606)

Motorcycle, bicycle, it's really the same thing. Mine just has a more powerful motor. =P

Re:Motorcycles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33884792)

Yeah, that's totally relevant for basement-dwelling /.ers - transportation. FBI probably already has white listed anyone who posts to /. - so do not worry about frantically searching your mom's car which you use once in a year to go to the barber shop.

gentlemen... (0, Redundant)

nimbius (983462) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884508)

begin the 'no carrier' FBI jokes in 3...2...#########$$NO CARRIER

Revenge Of The Nerds (2)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884520)

Search your car for the tracking unit. Remove it and try and be creative by placing it on a taxi or other highly mobile vehicle. I do wonder how long it would take the spooks to figure out they were accumulating data on the wrong car.

A legitimate question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33884546)

Just how important to national security is logging my trips to Starbucks? This is paranoid data mining hoping to find a pattern. One problem, patterns happen in life as well as nature. You might as well go hunting cloud animals cause gee they look like animals. Already people have been harassed because their car happened to get parked outside several hotspots. Now they weren't actually headed to those addresses but the location set off warnings. It's very similar to when I lived in LA. The police would pull you over for any reason they could make up just to search your car. I had my car searched numerous times without ever receiving a ticket and without a single warrant. It's trolling and they know every once in a while they'll get lucky.

Of *course* I want a tracking device (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33884550)

After all, there's now going to be a big market for detectors and GPS spoofing devices ("Hey, this guy just teleported to Alaska!"). I need one for testing.

Yet another reason... (2, Insightful)

nyvalbanat (1393403) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884584)

... to use public transportation. Go green!

Is it just cars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33884644)

I want a GPS on my unicycle, and the logs to show how many miles I've ridden it.

I found one (3, Funny)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884680)

I found one of those electronic thingeys in my car, with lots of wires plugged into it, so I ripped the sucker out. Then, according to my mechanic, someone stole my ECU, which cost me $300 to replace. And those damn FBI agents also snuck another one of those devices into my car. Talk about your bad luck. I'm off to get rid of this new one, so wish me luck.

Go ahead, make my day... (1)

Parhelion (857262) | more than 3 years ago | (#33884798)

'Castle doctrine' does not entitle you to just go out and shoot people (particularly government agents lawfully doing their job) in your driveway because they are under your car. You can go out with a gun and tell them to get off your property, but unless they attempt to fight back or chase you into your house, you're the one breaking the law, not them. Anyone who has taken a CCW class knows this. Here is part of the Castle Doctrine page on Wikipedia: "----Each state differs with respect to the specific instances in which the Castle Doctrine can be invoked, and what degree of retreat or non-deadly resistance (if any) is required before deadly force can be used. -----In general, one (sometimes more) of a variety of conditions must be met before a person can legally use the Castle Doctrine: ----An intruder must be making (or have made) an attempt to unlawfully and/or forcibly enter an occupied home, business or car. ----The intruder must be acting illegally--e.g. the Castle Doctrine does not give the right to attack officers of the law acting in the course of their legal duties"
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