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Did Feds' Use of Fake Cell Tower Constitute a Search?

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the law-review-editors-salivate dept.

Privacy 191

hessian writes with this story in Wired: "Federal authorities used a fake Verizon cellphone tower to zero in on a suspect's wireless card, and say they were perfectly within their rights to do so, even without a warrant. But the feds don't seem to want that legal logic challenged in court by the alleged identity thief they nabbed using the spoofing device, known generically as a stingray. So the government is telling a court for the first time that spoofing a legitimate wireless tower in order to conduct surveillance could be considered a search under the Fourth Amendment in this particular case, and that its use was legal, thanks to a court order and warrant that investigators used to get similar location data from Verizon's own towers."

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Criminals were captured (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37958678)

Why do we keep trying to defend criminals?

No, it's not! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37958698)

I track my ex with a fake cell tower all the time, I don't see anything wrong with it!

Re:Criminals were captured (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37958702)

Suspected criminal...

Re:Criminals were captured (5, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958762)

Yeah throw due process out the window. You realize that you could be turned into a criminal at any time with just the stroke of a pen from a politician, right?

Re:Criminals were captured (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959236)

Yall is postin in a troll thread....

Re:Criminals were captured (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37958800)

Why do we keep trying to defend criminals?

For the same reason we defend innocents. It's because you don't know who is a criminal and who is innocent, until after you have played the defense. If we knew who the criminals were prior to trials, we wouldn't have trials and courts, or even cops. Most of the Bill of Rights wouldn't exist, or if you take everything to its extreme conclusion, we wouldn't even have governments.

Ultimately, if you are against suspected criminals having trials, you are an anarchist. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Re:Criminals were captured (2)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958932)

I agree. I don't necessarily think this is about defending or prosecuting innocence or guilt, but rather the examining the means used to get them there.

This smacks of wire tapping. Surely there are other legal avenues they could have pursued to get from A to Z?

Stingrays spoof a legitimate cellphone tower in order to trick nearby cellphones and other wireless communication devices into connecting to the tower, as they would to a real cellphone tower. When devices connect, stingrays can see and record their unique ID numbers and traffic data, as well as information that points to a device’s location. To prevent detection by suspects, the stingray sends the data to a real tower so that traffic continues to flow.

I really so no difference between this and a wire tap.

Re:Criminals were captured (2)

SteelFist (734281) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958968)

Minor detail, if he were an anarchist, the criminal would go free forever with no trial (no government, no prosecution). He is more of a totalitarianist (sp?), where the government has absolute control and, therefore, no trial with prosecution.

Re:Criminals were captured (1)

SpiralSpirit (874918) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959110)

an anarchist doesn't necessarily believe in no punishment - just not legal systems of punishment. if you automatically knew who was innocent and guilty you could punish the guilty without a legal system.

Re:Criminals were captured (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959492)

If you automatically knew who was innocent and guilty to be punished then you are in either a totalitarian or religious authoritarian system.

True anarchy has no justice or revenge of any kind, because revenge is predictable, and anarchy isn't supposed to be predictable.

Re:Criminals were captured (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959166)

Governmental agencies aren't the only way to catch people. Mercenaries have existed for thousands of years. More recently, there are Private Military Companies [wikipedia.org] have been paid by companies like GE to protect their property.

Re:Criminals were captured (5, Insightful)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959020)

Because criminals are entitled to a complete and proper defense?

When it comes to privacy, every inch we give results in another mile taken by the government. Consider how the Patriot act evolved from where it began back in 2001 to where it is today, the way the TSA began and the way it is being pushed out beyond it's original boundaries with people advocating and supporting random vehicle searches on Interstates, shipping, busing, backscatter X-ray being used for major sporting events which will eventually trickle down to every public building and who knows how far beyond that...

The Fourth Amendment exists because privacy is necessary for liberty and a free society.

Re:Criminals were captured (4, Insightful)

sribe (304414) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959232)

Because criminals are entitled to a complete and proper defense?

Not really. It's because it takes a complete and proper defense to be (fairly) certain that the defendant is in fact a criminal.

Re:Criminals were captured (1)

DarkTempes (822722) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959524)

Not really. By now everyone is sure to have broken criminal law at some point or another, even if they were only misdemeanors.

Re:Criminals were captured (1, Offtopic)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959248)

Rule 1 of the internet:
Dont Feed The Trolls.

Re:Criminals were captured (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37959442)

Because criminals are entitled to a complete and proper defense?

GAH, stop that! This whole 'guilty until proven innocent' thing has become so freakin' pervasive that it's now casually being slung about in casual lingo by people, such as yourself, who support due process of law. Knock it off!

Re:Criminals were captured (4, Insightful)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959352)

United States v. Jones will be argued in the Supreme Court this week, on whether warrantless tracking of a drug dealer by putting a GPS tracker on his car requires a warrant on the fourth Amendment.

An idiot would think that we were arguing that case in the Supreme Court to defend drug dealers. Maybe the guy actually arguing it is--but the reason that we are considering it as a society, the reason we care about these things, is because of the risk of it being done to innocent people. The risk of government tracking everyone as part of its standard law enforcement duties. (I'm not saying NSA doesn't do that now, but law enforcement doesn't usually.) There should be some limit on the power of the people acting for the state--Something that at least requires a police officer to say "there is probable cause to search this person and here's why..."

Re:Criminals were captured (2)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959416)

We are trying to protect what our founding fathers created.

If you cant understand that rather simple concept that then you are an idiot.

Re:Criminals were captured (4, Interesting)

billcopc (196330) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959546)

Because sometimes the criminals are the ones on our payroll.

If I set up a fake tower to sniff people's cell packets, I go directly to jail. That's practically indefensible.

If the government does it "to catch a criminal", they need to request permission via the proper channels, i.e. warrants. It is a special privilege that must be diligently controlled and protected from abuse. If we start giving law enforcement officials (and their subcontractors) carte-blanche to effectively commit criminal acts, without oversight nor disclosure, in the name of crime-fighting, then democracy is effectively abolished.

Re:Criminals were captured (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959902)

I have no idea! Every time these federal scofflaws get caught with their hand in the cookie jar, a bunch of people come out of the woodwork arguing about how it's OK to commit crimes against people you think might be criminals (or you don't like their tie) and then Congressmen pop up with new "crime is legal unless you're a peon" bills.

OH! you mean the OTHER criminals! Nobody's defending them, we just want to make sure the cure doesn't become worse than the disease.

Re:Criminals were captured (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#37960120)

If you are talking about the government it is because they own the MSM through their "friends" in the highest corps and thus can get those who only know what they see on TV to defend them?

We have seen time and time again frankly flagrant abuses of power that even Nixon wouldn't have had the balls to attempt yet the MSM trip over themselves to kiss the ring. Look how there was only one reporter that would do ANY real followup on the "fast and the furious" scandal while the rest lined up to say it was nothing. hell even the right wingers who were looking for any excuse to hang Obama didn't seem to want to go after it.

The entire thing is rotten to the core folks, and OWS is only the beginning. More and more are realizing everything they see and read through the MSM is about as accurate as Soviet era Pravda and are waking up to the fact they've been had. Right now the constitution pretty much is a worthless piece of paper when considering how much attention those in power actually respect it anymore.

It is unquestionably a wiretap (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37958682)

As they are intercepting communications, it is unquestionably a wiretap.

Whether the courts are still legitimate enough to declare that remains to be seen.

Re:It is unquestionably a wiretap (2, Insightful)

Gunfighter (1944) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958886)

Whether the courts are still legitimate enough to declare that remains to be seen.

You have a lot more faith in the government to do the right thing than I do.

Re:It is unquestionably a wiretap (3, Insightful)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959368)

You have a lot more faith in the government to do the right thing than I do.

You're supposed to be able to have faith in the government to do the right thing. That's what they're supposed to do. That's why we have them. If they don't act accordingly, that's when you know there's a serious problem that needs to be addressed. So how do we reform the government is the issue we should be looking at instead of firing off quips.

Re:It is unquestionably a wiretap (5, Informative)

alphacharliezero (2469428) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958988)

'Stingray's do not intercept communication. That's why they get around the wiretapping warrant requirements. They are designed to spoof the carrier's tower in order to ascertain only the location of a mobile device. So I don't see wiretapping as the issue. What IS troubling however is the fact that once law enforcement has found the suspect/device they as a rule WIPE THE DATA from the stingray. They've been doing this supposedly to prevent defendants/criminals learning how they were caught. The issue is that a judge signs a court order approving the use of the Stingray. Then after gathering evidence, law enforcement DESTROYS that evidence instead of handing it over to the court for review. All this to prevent the defendant from getting it during discovery. That practice will likely stop soon since it's motive was to keep the device itself a secret. Now that it's use is public knowledge, there's no reason to continue the charade...

Re:It is unquestionably a wiretap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37959044)

and people wonder why i use throw away phones...well probably the same reason im posting this comment as ac...

Re:It is unquestionably a wiretap (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959596)

What IS troubling however is the fact that once law enforcement has found the suspect/device they as a rule WIPE THE DATA from the stingray. They've been doing this supposedly to prevent defendants/criminals learning how they were caught. The issue is that a judge signs a court order approving the use of the Stingray. Then after gathering evidence, law enforcement DESTROYS that evidence instead of handing it over to the court for review. All this to prevent the defendant from getting it during discovery.

On the other hand, if they are deleting that data, they are also deleting any other extraneous cell phone location data they may have gathered in the process.

Apostrophe FAIL (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37959602)

Ooooh, if you want it to be possessive, it's just I-T-S, but if it's supposed to be a contraction then it's I-T-apostrophe-S... Scalawag!

http://www.angryflower.com/aposter3.jpg [angryflower.com]

Re:It is unquestionably a wiretap (2)

fluffy99 (870997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959812)

No. They wipe the data so they can claim no data was recorded or actively monitored, therefore no wiretapping was performed.

The scary part is that they have the capability to handle calls while doing this spoofing. Which for all intents is the equivalent of them snipping your landline and running it through a black box, then afterwards wiping the blackbox and claiming it doesn't constitute a wiretap. Problem is that the original wiretap really was a guy hanging on the pole with a testset clipped onto your phone wires and there was no recording involved there either aside from the agents memory.

Re:It is unquestionably a wiretap (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959036)

After Citizen's United vs. FEC, I completely lost my faith in the court's ability to interpret the spirit of our Constitution...very little would surprise me at this point, to be honest.

Re:It is unquestionably a wiretap (2)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959090)

After Citizen's United vs. FEC, I completely lost my faith in the court's ability to interpret the spirit of our Constitution...

Nonsense. Looks like a straightforward application of the First Amendment to me.

Re:It is unquestionably a wiretap (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37960136)

It can't be a straightforward application of the First Amendment, because corporations are not people and do not have "rights".

I am aware the the Supreme Court has ruled that corporations are legally people, but that flies in the face of around 200 years of law that up until then said otherwise. That decision merely shows how messed up today's Supreme Court is.

If you -- or the courts -- actually think corporations have all the legal rights of people, then why aren't they allowed to vote? Or marry?

From a historical perspective, corporations were awarded the legal standing of "people" only insofar as that was necessary to engage in trade. The notion that they enjoy "rights" like actual people do is a relatively new and rather bizarre idea. In fact, the Supreme Court contradicted many of its own past rulings, because "corporate speech" is already -- and still -- regulated by law in a variety of ways that do not apply to real people.

The individuals who run a corporation have all the rights of people, of course, and can speak in any manner they choose. But that is not the same thing.

"The resolution of the General Assembly [the Virginia Resolutions of 1798] relates to those great and extraordinary cases, in which all the forms of the Constitution may prove ineffectual against infractions dangerous to the essential rights of the parties to it. The resolution supposes that dangerous powers, not delegated, may not only be usurped and executed by the other departments, but that the judicial department also may exercise or sanction dangerous powers beyond the grant of the Constitution; and, consequently, that the ultimate right of the parties to the Constitution, to judge whether the compact has been dangerously violated, must extend to violations by one delegated authority, as well as by another; by the judiciary, as well as by the executive, or the legislature.

"However true, therefore, it may be, that the judicial department, is, in all questions submitted to it by the forms of the Constitution, to decide in the last resort, this resort must necessarily be deemed the last in relation to the authorities of the other departments of the government; not in relation to the rights of the parties to the constitutional compact, from which the judicial as well as the other departments hold their delegated trusts. On any other hypothesis, the delegation of judicial power would annul the authority delegating it; and the concurrence of this department with the others in usurped powers, might subvert for ever, and beyond the possible reach of any rightful remedy, the very Constitution which all were instituted to preserve." -- James Madison, Report of 1800

Re:It is unquestionably a wiretap (1)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959224)

Citizen's United vs. FEC is a simple 1st amendment issue. If you are looking to lose faith in the SCOTUS look no further than than the Kelo decision.

Re:It is unquestionably a wiretap (3, Interesting)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959286)

I agree. That's a very alarming ruling. It's worth noting that in the wake of Kelo vs. City of New London, 34 states added laws to address to some degree the abuses allowed by this ruling. The US is fortunately that there were means to mostly compensate for a bad court ruling in this case. But in rulings on federal power, states cannot correct for bad court decisions.

Re:It is unquestionably a wiretap (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37960256)

It is not a "simple" First Amendment issue at all. To say that it is means you assume that corporations have "rights". But if they have First Amendment rights, then logically they also enjoy all the other freedoms that the Constitution and Bill of Rights give real people.

That would mean they could bear arms, and vote, and run for office, and be able to plead the 5th. (The corporations themselves, that is, not the people in them.)

You can't have it both ways. Either they have the rights of people, or they don't. If they do, they can vote. If they don't, they don't have First Amendment rights, either.

Re:It is unquestionably a wiretap (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37959434)

After Citizen's United vs. FEC, I completely lost my faith in the court's ability to agree with my interpretation of the spirit of our Constitution, because I am so clearly very right in all things due to my large brainsmarts and the fact that I post on the internet in a smug, condescending tone.

There. Fixed that for you.

Re:It is unquestionably a wiretap (4, Insightful)

Wrath0fb0b (302444) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959086)

a court order and warrant that investigators used to get similar location data from Verizonâ(TM)s own towers.

I'm really surprised again by Wired. The government got a warrant -- the same level of scrutiny they need to search your house or haul your ass to a concrete room. What more can they do to conduct a lawful investigation? The purpose of the warrant requirement is to make sure that probable cause is evaluated by a neutral and detached magistrate, not to bar all searches and make it impossible to catch identity thieves.

I'm firmly for electronic privacy but I think it's patently absurd to say there should be a higher standard for getting cell-phone data than physically entering a person's home or arresting him.

Re:It is unquestionably a wiretap (1)

SpiralSpirit (874918) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959120)

the issue isn't the data from the verizon tower - this is totally separate data from a fake cell tower that did not have a warrant.

Re:It is unquestionably a wiretap (4, Informative)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959304)

The problem is that the fake wireless tower appears to be outside the scope of the warrant. Keep in mind that judges do not issue blank checks when they write out a warrant. Doing something that's not in the scope of the warrant is just as illegal as if the warrant didn't exist at all.

Re:It is unquestionably a wiretap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37959932)

How did this fucking crap get up modded. It was outside of the scope of the warrant. Dont mod if you cant read the fucking article you fucking twerps.

Re:It is unquestionably a wiretap (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959622)

hmm... I wonder if Apple's FindMyiPhone feature could be considered an illegal search and a violation of the 4th A. rights of the iPhone thief

Re:It is unquestionably a wiretap (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959688)

No, because you're not the government.

Re:It is unquestionably a wiretap (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959774)

So... its not possible for a private citizen to violate another's civil rights? Or is this just that part of the 4th Amendment that only applies to the government?

Re:It is unquestionably a wiretap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37959884)

Right. A private citizen cannot another's rights as protected by the Fourth Amendment. The Bill of Rights limits that powers of governments thus protecting private citizens. It doesn't prescribe what private citizens can and can't do to one another. There are criminal and civil codes for that.

Re:It is unquestionably a wiretap (1)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 2 years ago | (#37960152)

For example, if a thief breaks into your house and moves the contents of a safe onto the street, they have committed larceny but not violated your 4th amendment rights (nor have the cops when they riffle through those documents which are now in a public location).

Re:It is unquestionably a wiretap (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959732)

hmm... I wonder if Apple's FindMyiPhone feature could be considered an illegal search and a violation of the 4th A. rights of the iPhone thief

If the government did it, possibly. You aren't subject to Fourth Amendment provisions. It may be one of the reasons that police departments don't necessarily go running after stolen phones / laptops when the owner 'finds' them in someone else's hands.

Re:It is unquestionably a wiretap (2)

fluffy99 (870997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959844)

hmm... I wonder if Apple's FindMyiPhone feature could be considered an illegal search and a violation of the 4th A. rights of the iPhone thief

Probably not as it's tracking your property. Some of the laptop recovery programs that take screenshoots or webcam pictures could cause privacy issues though. What happens if the thief was a 12-yr old boy who took your laptop and the Prey Project software ends up snapping a picture of him in his underwear? Does that become child porn?

Re:It is unquestionably a wiretap (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37960310)

A picture of a kid in underwear is not "child porn" anyway.

In one of their (rare, it seems these days) lucid moments, the Supreme Court ruled that "child pornography" had to consist of images of [A] actual children (not just artwork or animations or someone who looks young), and [B] actual pornography, by pretty much the same standards as other pornography is judged.

So all you parents who have pictures of naked kids in the bathtub can breathe a sigh of relief. The government isn't going to come after you. Not this decade, anyway.

Re:It is unquestionably a wiretap (1)

gyroidben (1223170) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959886)

What is and isn't fair game on the wireless spectrum? I would have naively assumed that it was always fair game to demodulate and record a wireless signal, but not to break the encryption if it existed, but this article suggests that isn't the case. Presumably listening in on a conversation on the ham radio bands isn't wiretapping (although perhaps rude, I don't know the conventions). Clearly anything where you're breaking encryption is a no-no. But there's plenty of ground in between where it's not immediately obvious what is and isn't allowed. Does it just depend on whether there is an expectation of privacy? Are rules different for different frequency bands? Are the rules different for listening vs recording?

Re:It is unquestionably a wiretap (1)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 2 years ago | (#37960176)

Breaking encryption may be illegal, but there is no law that prevents the feds from doing it (though there is no law saying they can, and the supremes have not considered it).

I would imagine the headers are not encrypted and simply recording them is not a violation of the 4th either, after all, you broadcast them over the air. Not that different from putting a billboard on your roof and expecting unencrypted communications to remain private.

Hehehe (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37958690)

Nazi Germany only WISHES they had waited till the 21st Century....

Re:Hehehe (1)

fast turtle (1118037) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959856)

Best use of Godwin's Law I've seen so far

Fed in the Middle? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37958696)

Are man in the middle attacks legal?

Re:Fed in the Middle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37959914)

Yes, a MITM is legal, it's no different than lying about who you are when talking face to face. Committing fraud would steal be illegal though. But also lots of things that are legal for a normal person to do still constitute a search, so that doesn't answer the question of whether it was legal for the police to do this.

As a related thought, can the police pretend to be someone else (e.g. a person from a utility company) to gain entrance to your home? I feel like that is essentially the same issue, and one that I'm sure has come up before.

The Feds agreed it was a search (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37958716)

and they said it was backed with a court order, no different than any other wiretap.

One issue could be that they were also getting traffic from thousands of other callers not involved in the case. But, I suppose they could argue that happens in a standard wiretap as well, but it's the phone company that does the winnowing out.

Re:The Feds agreed it was a search (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37958772)

Wiretaps and search warrants require different levels of evidence and different warrants. That's the issue here.

Re:The Feds agreed it was a search (1)

dougmc (70836) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958824)

But wiretaps (and search warrants in general) are supposed to be specific in what they're searching for.

If the warrant was specific about searching Verizon towers, then this fake tower would not count being as it wasn't a Verizon tower. Not that I've read the warrants or anything -- this is just a guess about a possible problem.

Still, if the police had a warrant, and it covered what they did -- then it sounds like they did it right.

Re:The Feds agreed it was a search (4, Insightful)

silas_moeckel (234313) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959136)

IF they have a warrant for a targeted wiretap why not go to verizon??? This device exists so they can avoid having to get warrants all the paperwork etc that verizon might require. The FCC should come down on them hard unless for impersonating a cell tower they did not have the rights to use those frequencies. It sounds like they are trying to use there few legit cases to justify them having and using these devices.

How long before the real criminals figure out how to use encrypted voip? I already have this on my phone connecting me to the office pbx.

Re:The Feds agreed it was a search (1)

alphacharliezero (2469428) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959302)

Um, two reasons- 1. Going to Verizon would only get them historical data. As in 'Here is all the location data we have for the last month. In addition, the suspect in this case wasn't using a phone. He was using a broadband data card to file fraudulent tax returns. So GPS might not even be an option. So they would be limited to network location data. The 'Stingray' however, tracks devices in real time from the back of a van that's driving around with SWAT guys in the back. It's the difference between them knowing where you were last week and looking for you actively RIGHT NOW. In this case the suspect was tracked to the apartment building he lived in. Agents then went to the apartment manager and got the lease applications for the tenants. One of those applications used a fake ID and (surprise!) a fraudulent tax return from the agents' investigation to pass the credit check. 2. Different legal standards apply to 'Stingray' type devices than requests to providers. Use of these devices requires only a court order. (Different from a warrant.) Had the suspect been more savvy and used a clean ID and spent a few thousand of those stolen millions on a botnet proxy/VPN he would likely still be at large. The real thing protecting citizens from abuse of this kind of tech is $. In order to deploy one of these you've got to put some trained agents on the ground. It costs thousands of dollars a day to even try to find someone with a stingray. Realistically by the time they pull one of these out of the closet and dust it off, they already have enough evidence to arrest. I find carriers snooping to be much more invasive.

Re:The Feds agreed it was a search (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#37960022)

IF they have a warrant for a targeted wiretap why not go to verizon?

Because they believe they can dictate the law without the need to follow it.

Or to say it in another way: because they can.
Many nerds like to do things just because they can. Build something that already exists out of Lego is an example. This might be their way of nerd-ness.

When I look at it from a technical point of view, it is kind of neat. From a legal point of view, it obviously is very, very, very bad.

Re:The Feds agreed it was a search (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959962)

They stipulated that in this one case they would call it a search for the purposes of not disclosing any technical information about the technology. They also made sure to retain the right to argue that it's not a search in any other court hearing.

In other words, they have declared their intent to use the device without a warrant.

For this particular case, they will argue that a warrant is more or less carte blanche even though they're supposed to be quite specific.

Grey area (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37958776)

Did they, the Feds, get the legal right from a Federal court of law, and authorization from the FCC to set up a false communications tower in a part of the EM spectrum allocated to private industry?

Is the legal framework in place for the Government to set up spectrum, regardless of allocation, for whatever reason? Is that a right the Fed's reserve with the FCC? We've sold you this part of the spectrum, however we reserve the right to do whatever we want with it, whenever we want with it?

Surely the FCC, and wiretapping by the Justice Department, hasn't been left this grey.

Speaking of Fake and Cell Phones (0, Offtopic)

AlienIntelligence (1184493) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958782)

I wrote a submission:
http://slashdot.org/~AlienIntelligence/submissions [slashdot.org]

About Siri being down. Wonder if it will get published to the front page.

I'm kinda "surprised" a submission hasn't made it to the front page yet,
considering the outages started on Wednesday.

Odd that.

-AI

Re:Speaking of Fake and Cell Phones (1)

mortonda (5175) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958820)

Odd that.

You must be new here...

Re:Speaking of Fake and Cell Phones (-1, Offtopic)

AlienIntelligence (1184493) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958862)

Odd that.

You must be new here...

Lol, yeah, I regret waiting and getting a 7 digit... unfortunately
back before all the social sites made 'hiding' online pointless,
I made it a point to be REALLY anonymous.

Not exactly a point in it anymore. Alas, I shall always be seen
as a "1 Million", even though I have seen all score plus 4 years.

-AI

Re:Speaking of Fake and Cell Phones (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958846)

Expect it to be front page material next week.

Re:Speaking of Fake and Cell Phones (2)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959006)

What a terrible submissions. Do you expect them to accept a text filled with accusations towards the editors and editorial bias?

Don't worry, I don't expect this to make it to the frontpage either

This is what's called a "self-fulfilling prophecy".

Re:Speaking of Fake and Cell Phones (1)

AlienIntelligence (1184493) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959100)

What a terrible submissions. Do you expect them to accept a text filled with accusations towards the editors and editorial bias?

Don't worry, I don't expect this to make it to the frontpage either

This is what's called a "self-fulfilling prophecy".

YOU must be new here...

-AI

Re:Speaking of Fake and Cell Phones (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#37960002)

Just guessing, but if your summary had been more summary like and less editorial, it might have gotten more attention.

The links themselves were interesting.

Re:Speaking of Fake and Cell Phones (1)

crow_t_robot (528562) | more than 2 years ago | (#37960144)

Want to know why? Because no one gives a fuck.

Can you hear me now? (1)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958842)

Good... BUSTED!

Why all the effort? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37958844)

Why do they spend so much time exploiting loopholes? Surely a Court would just grant them a court order to do this anyway. I mean, if they're dumb enough to believe this crap why wouldn't they be sympathetic to an actual legitimate court order?

Re:Why all the effort? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959222)

Because the police state also wants the power to do whatever the cops want, without being subject to anyone else, especially judges in a separate and theoretically independent branch.

And just as Congress has let the president take so much of its power, like declaring war and everything that comes with it, the Judicial Branch has let the cops (Executive Branch) take its power to decide what rights can be infringed. They've all got so much more power than the Constitution creates for them that they're not even jealous when another branch takes some of theirs. In fact they're codependent on letting each other steal powers from the others.

Don't need no steenking warrant (2)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959000)

Just tag everybody as terrorists and have the now immune phone companies do the tapping.

Re:Don't need no A$$ANGE/Bernanke warrant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37959484)

The question is not tagging nor flagging; people need to wake up! Even Capitol Hill (FED CENTRAL) wireless communication transceivers were set up by an AMDOCS(Israeli) affiliated company. AMDOCS sounds wonderfooly AMerikan, but its actually largely subsidized by the israhell government. The questions of illegality of unwarranted wiretaps is illiterally comprehensible to the US Justice system, whether Verizon uses microsoft or not. AMDOCS not only claims to have contracted 80% of western telephony provider(including Verizon), but they have been forced to relocate to a tax haven. This is to deflect attention from their being an israhell front. A few years ago, it became evident that the amdocs facility was hard-wired (fibre-optic) to the Microsoft Live One centre in israel. Microsoft eventually relocated outside of israel also to prevent insinuation that the israelees had future exploitable back-front-trapdoors in Windows. If lawmaker and opinion-fakers on Capitol Hill are not even protected from israeli intrusion, then the likes of the dear herds of sheeple using pretty much anything using Microsoft or AMDOCS, Google android(Brin or Page is Israeli passport holder) then the waste of energy on dicussing legality of harvesting private information is a moot point. One must wonder, therefore, whether Obama realised this before taking the oath of office. Is no one above the law, or only the DC/ LA ADL crew? http://articles.latimes.com/1990-05-13/opinion/op-61_1_pipe-bomb/2

you must be MAD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37959676)

good point about Americas information being managed by foreign agents, but did you ever stop to think about the trapdoor built by microsoft in the DIMONA ISRAELI NUKE FACILITY?!? Honestly, although there is merit in the above reply, how does that effect the average American who is completely oblivious, and is it really possible that such a small proportion of the population could have infiltrated and dominated the plitical and technological elite? If the israeli-affiliated were really a threat, they would have done something about the Chinese, not worry about the peaceful Iranian atomic energy program( makes good sense in light of Wall street and the City of London inflating commodities and crude).

It's effectively the same thing as searching mail. (2)

Karmashock (2415832) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959076)

The feds can't just go rifling through sealed letters without some kind of warrant. By the same token, their man in the middle attack is like having a fake postman pick letters up, read them, then seal them, then drop them off at the real post office. They can't do that without a warrant and likewise they shouldn't be able to do it to data.

The justices need to get real about enforcing some basic principles that were implicit in American legal code for centuries.

I see opportunity (1, Interesting)

chill (34294) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959146)

I can see the potential for a smartphone app that learns the cell tower IDs that you normally connect to and lets you know if something is out of the ordinary. Similar to the Certificate Patrol add-on for Firefox, but for cellular connections.

Wigle Wifi already collects the data and shows details on the towers visible to your phone, so that info *is* available.

Re:I see opportunity (2)

wkk2 (808881) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959362)

How about an app that beeps and turns the display red if encryption, as feeble as it is, gets turned off.

Liars vs Constitutional Privacy (3, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959184)

It's obvious the government is lying about what it's doing so it can violate our privacy rights. The purpose of a judge is to be a reasonable human who can see that the government is lying, and stop the government. Judges who don't see through these lies are obviously either stupid, corrupt or both.

We need a Constitutional Amendment that simply says

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects is a right to privacy.

Because over the years stupidity and corruption have allowed the Fourth Amendment [cornell.edu] to fail to protect our privacy, when that is the right it instructs the government to protect:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Even stupid and corrupt judges, to say nothing of stupid and corrupt congressmembers and police, will have a harder time using the government to damage our rights instead of protecting them.

Re:Liars vs Constitutional Privacy (3, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959488)

Your wording does no better. Indeed the problem is that once you start down the road of trying to form the perfectly worded genie wish, you've already lost. English isn't a programming language, and concepts are broader than can be expressed likewise anyway.

Even with your privacy wording, the sentence will be twisted to mean something absurd, in part because the courts love making absurd rulings, presumably as a motivator to legislatures to play the genie wish game with progressively more wordy and less understandable documents. I suppose we'll always need lawyers, but at the same time, the existence of lawyers only exacerbates the problem, not only by breeding complacency by partially alleviating the issue through careful research, but also by arguing the very absurd interpretations that are sometimes accepted by the courts!

Re:Liars vs Constitutional Privacy (2)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959910)

Why is my wording no better? The current precedents that allow privacy violations "because there's no right to privacy in the Constitution" would be useless when the court hears "Amendment 30 says quite clearly that the court must protect the privacy right, in this case in their papers and effects". That makes damaging privacy much harder, without those precedents.

What you're arguing is that no amendment or law wording can possibly protect us. While we have a corrupt system, it is not nearly as corrupt as that. However, if enough people believe that it is, as you evidently do, it will become that corrupt. The mere act of the people and our legislatures passing such an amendment makes a strong argument to courts that the right must be protected and enforced.

Re:Liars vs Constitutional Privacy (2)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959734)

The original wording of the 4A was thought to be pretty damned clear, too. Judges who want to let the police do anything they like will find a way to corrupt your language, and a large part of the public will support them.

Re:Liars vs Constitutional Privacy (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959918)

It was thought so, but it has proven not to be. Proven by actions in courts. Counteractions have their own countereffects. The countereffect is to make it harder.

Your willingness to give up and say there is nothing we can do in the system to protect our rights is equally as important as the support from the large part of the public you're saying means we're doomed.

What is this Fourth Amendment of which you speak? (1)

eyegone (644831) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959192)

Why do you hate America?

Why? (1)

koan (80826) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959260)

Why does anyone involved in anything illegal use a cellphone that's attached to their name? Go to Walmart buy a prepaid phone, buy a dozen, have someone else buy them, use your head.

Re:Why? (1)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959436)

When that starts happening, you end up with a system like India (ID and residence proof required for ANY form of telecom connection: leads to a 1-3 day lag for verification as well)

Re:Why? (1)

koan (80826) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959720)

It's already going on, smart criminals don't use their own cells or frankly even carry them, but you're right it will go to what you said eventually, and so will the Internet, you won't be able to access the Internet with out a certain chip or ID and the telecoms will be required to implement and enforce it.
It will be sold to us as a security feature.

The reason for this is people go to forums and cry about it, and not a one of them does anything "IRL" about it, we are all mice.

Re:Why? (1)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959772)

so will the Internet, you won't be able to access the Internet with out a certain chip or ID and the telecoms will be required to implement and enforce it. It will be sold to us as a security feature.

The reason for this is people go to forums and cry about it, and not a one of them does anything "IRL" about it, we are all mice.

Taking the example of India again, all ISP's are required to keep URL logs for 6 months, encryption with a key>40bits is illegal without depositing the key with the govt (not enforced much though), ISP's have to provide a room(or multiple depending on their network) to the govt which has full access to the network., cyber cafe's require a govt. ID proof to be able to use the computer

Re:Why? (2)

JustNilt (984644) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959500)

Why does anyone involved in anything illegal use a cellphone that's attached to their name? Go to Walmart buy a prepaid phone, buy a dozen, have someone else buy them, use your head.

Wouldn't help you as much as you want. They use stingrays in exactly that sort of case. In the one at hand, they didn't know the identity of the individual at first either. They can still identify you by the device you're using. You'd have to burn a phone or aircard (as in the case at hand) after every single use once you use it to commit a crime. Otherwise, they could quite conceivably use these devices to track you down.

I'm all for privacy but keep in mind there are limits to how easily you can hide if you choose to use a device with a unique ID on a system which you do not control.

Re:Why? (1)

koan (80826) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959726)

Good thing they are cheap, and realistically, how much phone conversation do you need? It implies you don't plan well.

A Search (3, Insightful)

Renraku (518261) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959566)

It isn't what we traditionally think of as a search, but it should, at the least, be considered a warrantless wiretap. Basically, anything that intercepts communication data is a wiretap. Be it listening in to their handheld radios or putting a recording device on their phone line or otherwise doing the fandango with data from their cell phone. All forms of wiretapping.

This would be just the same as them setting up an overpowering fake cordless phone base station and using it to listen in to their phone calls, and then arguing that it doesn't constitute wiretapping because they didn't have to go through the phone company to do it. No, sorry feds, you can't argue for spirit of the law in one case and then turn around and say that only the letter of the law matters in another case.

The whole point behind needing a warrant to wiretap is that people should be secure in their homes and have a reasonable expectation to privacy. You can't just go about using technical means to violate that spirit of the law, while your other arm turns around and arrests someone for 'inciting riots' because they posted in support of Occupy Wall Street.

Re:A Search (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37960080)

If recording police with a cell phone camera is a wiretap, so is this.

As for the government and listening in on conversations...
The reaction to OWS shows the government wants to crush dissent.
The entire purpose of bearing arms and limiting what the government can know about you is to prevent dissent/revolution from being crushed.

America is not the government, America is the people who make up the country.
Patriotism isn't loyalty to the government, it's loyalty to the country, to the people.

Intent to intercept. (1)

whovian (107062) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959664)

If the feds get a pass at this, then shouldn't Google get a pass over their prior wifi intercepting activities?

FCC and FAA Regulations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37959744)

This has to be against one or both of these departments regulations. I am an engineer for a company that designs large scale wireless networks. If the tower is over 200ft you have to get a license from the FCC (ASR number) and have an FAA study done first. Generally cell towers come in under this for a few different reasons, but not sure because I'm not seeing that in the article. I have also dealt specifically with Verizon in the past because I had a cell amplifier for AT&T set up that had gone bad and was causing interference in their network. I got a cease and desist letter from them to turn off the device. I called and talked to one of their engineers who was actually quite helpful, but I picked his brain on what their SOP was for people who refused to comply and he told me they file complaints with the FCC. Surely spoofing their network is against FCC reg's. If I were the defendant I would file a complaint with the FCC separately and present their response in court. I would be interested to see whether or not a court or the FCC would grant said defendant the standing in order to lodge a complaint. I could see them very well only accepting a complaint from Verizon as they own the network that was spoofed, and I doubt Verizon cares about one customer enough to piss the fed's off and file a complaint. Either way there are a ton of issues here.

Unauthorized access to computer (2)

redelm (54142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959858)

Nevermind the moribund notion of entrapment or the diluted notion of wiretap, stingray is simply unauthorized access to a computer. Cracking.

The phone is a computer which is being accessed and tricked into doing things the owner does not authorize. You might call this a search, but it is not because it is made without announcement, ala sneak'n'peek. Wiping the logs is excellent evidence of the perps (Feds) guilt.

FED-UP with this "everyones a terrorist" SPEIL/ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37959946)

BLOOMBERG The question is not tagging nor flagging; people need to wake up! Even Capitol Hill (FED CENTRAL) wireless communication transceivers were set up by an AMDOCS(Israeli) affiliated company. AMDOCS sounds wonderfooly AMerikan, but its actually largely subsidized by the israhell government. [[Illegality of the ISRaeli PANOPTICON]] The questions of illegality of unwarranted wiretaps is illiterally comprehensible (literally incomprehensible?) to the US Justice system, whether Verizon uses microsoft or not. AMDOCS not only claims to have contracted 80% of western telephony provider(including Verizon), but they have been forced to relocate to a tax haven. This is to deflect attention from their being an israhell front. A few years ago, it became evident that the amdocs facility was hard-wired (fibre-optic) to the Microsoft Live One centre in israel. Microsoft eventually relocated outside of israel also to prevent insinuation that the israelees had future exploitable back-front-trapdoors in Windows. If lawmaker and opinion-fakers on Capitol Hill are not even protected from israeli intrusion, then the likes of the dear herds of sheeple using pretty much anything using Microsoft or AMDOCS, Google android(Brin or Page is Israeli passport holder) then the waste of energy on dicussing legality of harvesting private information is a moot point. One must wonder, therefore, whether Obama realised this before taking the oath of office. Is no one above the law, or only the DC/ LA ADL crew? http://articles.latimes.com/1990-05-13/opinion/op-61_1_pipe-bomb/2 Cant you see its the African terrorists? Its the Africans running the worlds panopticon!

we had a good run (3, Insightful)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959950)

FTA:
"As such, the government has maintained that the device is the equivalent of devices designed to
capture routing and header data on e-mail and other internet communications, and therefore does not
require a search warrant."

LOL so we should all have cell phone jammers, the equivalent of a door.

Folks we had a good run, it's over. Everything now however illegal is being justified
"National security". Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura has had enough, being blocked
with that iron door to his lawsuit.
http://news.yahoo.com/ventura-miffed-court-says-hes-off-mexico-174718110.html [yahoo.com]

I watch the local TV broadcast and commercials of "see something, say something"
and think of the tales taught me about the Nazi's and how neighbors told on neighbors
till nobody trusted anyone. Godwin's law does not apply, this was taught me in school
and how Hitler came to power; through old reel to reel's of "You are there"'s
by Walter Cronkite.

Of course building a cell phone tower to capture a persons cell info is illegal.
That it's even questioned is a red flag.

But, did they have.. (1)

AJWM (19027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37960116)

..appropriate FCC authorization and permits to run a bogus cell tower?

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