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Telcos Oppose Bill To Respect 4th Amendment

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the but-judge-due-process-is-too-hard dept.

Communications 190

Fluffeh writes "CTIA (The mobile operators' industry association) is opposing a California law proposing that a court order be required prior to disclosing personal information. The law seems to be in opposition to the federal government's attempts to wash away the last requirements to get at any information about citizens, but CTIA claims (PDF) '... the wireless industry opposes SB 1434 as it could create greater confusion for wireless providers when responding to legitimate law enforcement requests.' The EFF and the ACLU have been arguing strongly for the bill which is to be voted on shortly." A charming quote from CTIA: "For example, the definition of 'location information' is so sweeping that it could implicate information generally considered basic subscriber information under federal law. Since the implications of this definition are unclear, wireless providers will have difficulty figuring out how to respond to requests for such information. It could place providers in the position of requiring warrants for all law enforcement requests."

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190 comments

Call or e-mail your Congresscritter. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39780533)

It would be so uplifting to see a massive show of support for this from the populace. Unfortunately, it will probably die a quiet death at the hands of lobbyists, and most people will probably ever even see its obituary.

Re:Call or e-mail your Congresscritter. (2, Insightful)

Requiem18th (742389) | about 2 years ago | (#39780825)

I don't understand this bill, but if it's good we should get Wikipedia involved. Last time Google helped us because, like Dodd said, they weren't invited to the talks. Then he made the incredibly undemocratic statement than next time they want to make a law that affects the public they are going to take into consideration... more corporations, like Google, and that's exactly what they did. And of course it worked.

But chances are Wikipedia is still not corrupt, being the only non-profit with the traffic necessary to reach the audience levels required. Although I need to read more of this bill, that's basically our only hope.

Re:Call or e-mail your Congresscritter. (4, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about 2 years ago | (#39780841)

Remember when Americans used to joke about communism and say "papers please" in funny voices...?

Re:Call or e-mail your Congresscritter. (1)

thereitis (2355426) | about 2 years ago | (#39781169)

Include a link to this video in your email:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeCpLcjxOq4

FLY ROBIN FLY !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39780539)

Up, up, to the sky !!

Get well soon !!

Wouldn't that reduce the financial burden? (3, Interesting)

michaelmalak (91262) | about 2 years ago | (#39780541)

It could place providers in the position of requiring warrants for all law enforcement requests.

Wouldn't that reduce the labor/financial burden on the telcos?

The telcos must be acting at the request of politicians, in exchange for good treatment by the politicians on behalf of the telcos on other unrelated matters.

Re:Wouldn't that reduce the financial burden? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39780579)

NO, they are paid well for each request.

would you give this data on your free time?

Re:Wouldn't that reduce the financial burden? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39780599)

Actually, just a few weeks ago there was a report on NPR about how much money law enforcement has to pay the telcos in order to get this informstion. There is no financial burden on the telcos and there is no labor burden because they have special offices that are paid specifically to deal with these requests.

Re:Wouldn't that reduce the financial burden? (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#39781287)

"There is no financial burden on the telcos and there is no labor burden because they have special offices that are paid specifically to deal with these requests."

Offices staffed by people who work for free?

Re:Wouldn't that reduce the financial burden? (2)

MarkGriz (520778) | about 2 years ago | (#39781651)

"There is no financial burden on the telcos and there is no labor burden because they have special offices that are paid specifically to deal with these requests."

Offices staffed by people who work for free?

No, this a cash cow for the telcos. Do you really think it costs them anywhere near what they are charging law enforcement to comply with these requests?
The reason they oppose this is nothing so noble as "respecting the 4th amendment". It's respecting their bottom line.
Requiring law enforcement to go through the trouble to get a warrant first is only going to reduce the number of requests they submit and pay for.

It would also increase the risk (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 2 years ago | (#39780601)

Right now, and for a long time now, law enforcement agencies have had special privileges among telecoms, more than the law itself requires. In exchange, telecom companies get to have a nice, easy-going relationship with the government, and everyone except the citizens of this country wins.

Requiring telecoms to only provide assistance when presented with a court order puts that friendly relationship at risk. It also leaves telecoms vulnerable to lawsuits, should they continue to play by the old rules of the game.

Re:Wouldn't that reduce the financial burden? (2)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about 2 years ago | (#39780621)

Burden? As a third party they get to charge for there efforts.

Re:Wouldn't that reduce the financial burden? (4, Insightful)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about 2 years ago | (#39780685)

In other words, the real reason they oppose this bill, is interferes with a revenue stream of American tax dollars from the 'unlimited cash cow' of the government.

Re:Wouldn't that reduce the financial burden? (1)

nemui-chan (550759) | about 2 years ago | (#39781331)

It would appear so. And telcos always pass that savings onto the consumer... *cough*

It could place providers in the position of requiring warrants for all law enforcement requests.

Wouldn't that reduce the labor/financial burden on the telcos?

The telcos must be acting at the request of politicians, in exchange for good treatment by the politicians on behalf of the telcos on other unrelated matters.

Re:Wouldn't that reduce the financial burden? (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 2 years ago | (#39781511)

Its liability. Retailors can be sued for unlawful imprisonment by obtaining shoplifters until police arrive even though they are not the government.

Whats to stop some jerk from suing his cell phone carrier for tracking his location and violating his rights to make a quick buck?

Inflammatory Headline (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39780545)

You should know better, slashdot. The headline is an opinion, not a factual representation of the news article.

It's funny how you and readers here rip up fox news and other media such shenanigans, but you engage in yellow journalism yourselves.

Re:Inflammatory Headline (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39780571)

telcofag detected

Re:Inflammatory Headline (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | about 2 years ago | (#39780733)

Please feel free to see the comment I posted on the submission [slashdot.org] just after I submitted it.

As for opinion, the corp that represents the telcos is opposing the bill quoting all orts of things. Feel free to qualify their statements by showing how this headline is an opinion.

Re:Inflammatory Headline (1)

fa2k (881632) | about 2 years ago | (#39780823)

I thought the same thing. "Respect" is very strange to use here, as the US government already has to respect the 4th amendment because it is the law. If they violate the 4th amendment rights of someone, that's a judicial problem, not a legislative one. It's quite obvious, though, that this bill is to put in place specific practical measures.

And that is a bad thing because??? (5, Insightful)

Q-Hack! (37846) | about 2 years ago | (#39780547)

"It could place providers in the position of requiring warrants for all law enforcement requests."

Exactly how it should be. The entire point of requiring a warrant, is to provide checks and ballances to the system.

Re:And that is a bad thing because??? (0)

Speare (84249) | about 2 years ago | (#39780655)

"It could place providers in the position of requiring warrants for all law enforcement requests."

Exactly how it should be. The entire point of requiring a warrant, is to provide checks and ballances to the system.

I wear as much tinfoil as the next guy, but not all law enforcement requests are criminal investigations. Do you really want the cops to have to wake up a judge at 3am when your teenage daughter has gone missing after complaining about a stalker?

Re:And that is a bad thing because??? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39780675)

there are plenty judges/justices awake at 3am to sign anything required fud boy.

Re:And that is a bad thing because??? (4, Informative)

mortonda (5175) | about 2 years ago | (#39780681)

Not to mention a very real situation: 911 calls. My mother-in-law is a dispatcher, and she routinely has to call telcos to get information, such as when someone dials 911 from a mobile phone but is unable to talk... They can get emergency contact info, gps, triangulation, whatever... and they have a paper quest form that they can file after the fact. One of those time where bureaucracy falls behind the need to act fast.

Dispatchers need to be able to get information FAST.

Re:And that is a bad thing because??? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39780723)

Yes, because it really helps for the police to arrive 10 minutes sooner when the base waiting time is 3-4 hours.

Re:And that is a bad thing because??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39780737)

Not to mention when standard caller ID doesn't work and you can't simply reprogram those magical devices to transmit additional information when placing a call to 911 - we all know the software on phones is so incredibly old that all the programmers that know how to work it are long dead - and they really hated documentation.

Re:And that is a bad thing because??? (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 2 years ago | (#39780843)

My mobile phone has no GPS or wifi receiver, and its number says I'm calling from another state in another time zone, which is where I was when I originally got the number. It's also never seen a software update since manufacture... and this is for a rather techie person, too. Consider all those grandmas out there with the cheap simple phones that exist solely for calling 911 from their mobile home in Florida.

Won't somebody please think of the grandmas?

Re:And that is a bad thing because??? (4, Informative)

afidel (530433) | about 2 years ago | (#39781171)

The provider is required to provide triangulation data for phones which do not have an onboard way of determining location for e911, and since federal law is supreme this California law would do exactly nothing to change that situation.

The (lack of) receiver is the problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39780891)

Not to mention when standard caller ID doesn't work and you can't simply reprogram those magical devices to transmit additional information when placing a call to 911 - we all know the software on phones is so incredibly old that all the programmers that know how to work it are long dead - and they really hated documentation.

The Carriers have already reprogrammed the phones to transmit additional information (e911). The problem is that our budget strapped cities have not paid to upgrade their 911 centers to receive that information.

Re:And that is a bad thing because??? (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | about 2 years ago | (#39780775)

Quod est necessarium est licitum.

In gutterspeak, who is ever going to be sued or prosecuted over giving out that information for a legitimate emergency?

And if it's not legitimate - if, for example, it's a social engineering hack - then it should be illegal to give it out, right? You don't get to say "Well, they barked a name and badge number at me and said it was urgent, so I had to tell them."

Re:And that is a bad thing because??? (4, Informative)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#39780947)

You don't get to say "Well, they barked a name and badge number at me and said it was urgent, so I had to tell them."

Having been tangentially involved in these situations, you DO get to say, I'll call back at your contact number.

As you can imagine we have written procedures for this, one of many steps is calling back the telephone book number of their office/station to get verification.

This actually works ridiculously well, because unlike on TV shows, most real world requests take at least a couple minutes work on the internet/telco side (if not much longer), so while tech #1 calls back doing the security check, tech #2 is doing the actual tech work to at least begin the process. Also it works well because we grill them for every detail we can get before hanging up... if the station says badge number 1337 doesn't exist and there is no such activity going on, then we simply file a report of all the details they were looking for (presumed stalking victim, etc).

I am told by cops this is pretty much the same way it works with the water/gas/electric/cellphone companies (example, in a barricade/hostage situation you shut off the gas so they can't blow the place up, etc). Same protocol at every telco/internet provider I've worked for. Its the multi industry standard comm protocol for cops-utilities cooperation. Its only unusual, or unknown, on TV or maybe in extremely rural service areas.

I've never worked for a telco or ISP or other service provider with only one phone line and only one employee in the network control center, so there probably are occasions where the officer doesn't get hung up on, but rest assured "someone" is calling the station to verify even if the officer on the line doesn't know he's being checked up on.

Usually everyone gets into the act and one guy calls the sup on duty assuming he's not on site and shoulder surfing, another guy does verification, another guy does the tech work, another guy talks to the actual officer, and another guy starts channel surfing for live TV if its a hostage situation or a chase simply because its cool. Its much more exciting than the daily fiber cut, or the weekly thunderstorm, or the monthly maintenance-gone-wrong disaster.

What about pre-authorization? (2)

msobkow (48369) | about 2 years ago | (#39780879)

I'd think it would be easy enough for cell contracts to have opt-in pre-authorization signatures for releasing 911 call information, rather than scrapping the idea that warrants are needed for all non-911 requests.

Personally I don't understand why the telcos should care whether a warrant is required or not. That's up to the legal system to determine on behalf of the PEOPLE, not for corporations to decide. The law is about protecting PEOPLE, not what's "easiest" for corporations.

Re:And that is a bad thing because??? (2)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#39780927)

That's exactly why most law enforcement agencies have the home and cell numbers of local judges. A quick call to a judge for their approval should be sufficient in a case like that.

Re:And that is a bad thing because??? (1)

Stormthirst (66538) | about 2 years ago | (#39780953)

I don't know much about cell phones - but can't the 911 dispatchers see which cell tower the caller is on? With no GPS in older phones, that's the closest you'll get.

Subscriber information becomes irrelevant at that point. You need to know where the call is being placed from - why do you need to know who is calling? Let the guys/gals on the ground figure out what is going on.

Re:And that is a bad thing because??? (1)

SpeedBump0619 (324581) | about 2 years ago | (#39780959)

Dispatchers need to be able to get information FAST.

Every jurisdiction I've ever lived in had a legal out for rapid response. Most are worded to allow immediate access to any information or location required to counter an immediate threat of harm (to persons, property, or in some cases evidence of a crime). The clauses all require the approval of a warrant within a short time period (24-72 hours). The point is: requiring a warrant doesn't inhibit emergency responders from entering your house if they hear gunshots, searching a building for a fugitive, etc. The law already has a mechanism to deal with exigent circumstances.

Re:And that is a bad thing because??? (4, Informative)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 years ago | (#39780983)

Here is the pertinent part of the law that covers this issue;

(c) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), a government entity may
obtain location information in any of the following circumstances:
(1) In order to respond to the user's call for emergency services.

If someone calls a 911 operator they can request location information from the telco.

Re:And that is a bad thing because??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39781111)

Easy fix.

Give location information out with a court order or a point in time location if 911 has been called.

If would be a fair bet to say that if you are calling 911 you want to your location to be known.

Re:And that is a bad thing because??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39781375)

That's totally stupid. 911 sends the data automatically so there is no request.

Plus, the point is to save grandma's life not to charge her with a crime. Why do you want your grandma arrested???

Re:And that is a bad thing because??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39781659)

And there's no reason why this can't still be in place. One of the things you said is that she has to file paperwork after the fact - as long as it's legit, there's no reason why the paperwork wouldn't be approved, and everything stays nice and legal. But if there's something screwy going on with LE requests to the telcos, the paper will show it and there can be repercussions. Right now there's no paper trail and no accountability in cases that aren't above board, and this kind of law would hopefully fix that...

Re:And that is a bad thing because??? (4, Insightful)

NeverSuchBefore (2613927) | about 2 years ago | (#39780715)

Do you really want the cops to have to wake up a judge at 3am when your teenage daughter has gone missing after complaining about a stalker?

I desire checks and balances, so yes.

Re:And that is a bad thing because??? (1)

azalin (67640) | about 2 years ago | (#39780861)

Would it be so unthinkable to have one or two judges per district on call duty all the time? It's not like other professions have found a way to do this centuries ago. It's called shifts.

Re:And that is a bad thing because??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39780745)

Do you really want the cops to have to wake up a judge at 3am when your teenage daughter has gone missing after complaining about a stalker?

Yes, because I don't want the cops stalking her, either.

Re:And that is a bad thing because??? (5, Informative)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 years ago | (#39780955)

Here is the pertinent part of the law that covers this issue;

(3) Pursuant to a request by a government entity that asserts that
the government entity reasonably believes that an emergency
involving immediate danger of death or serious physical injury to the
owner or user requires the immediate access to location information
and there is insufficient time to obtain a warrant. The government
entity seeking the location information pursuant to this paragraph
shall file with the appropriate court a written statement setting
forth the facts giving rise to the emergency no later than 48 hours
after seeking disclosure.

In emergency situations the government entity does not need a warrant but must document the emergency in court papers within 48 hours.

Re:And that is a bad thing because??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39780987)

They wouldn't need a warrant at that time, as I would assume you would tell the telcom that releasing the information is OK. If you do, no warrant needed.

Re:And that is a bad thing because??? (1)

operagost (62405) | about 2 years ago | (#39781151)

If she's under 18, they will probably only have to wake YOU up, so that you can authorize the release. Does this bill prevent that?

Re:And that is a bad thing because??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39781345)

Good point - because I'm a caring father, I don't want Constitutional rights to be respected sometimes! I hadn't thought that the Bill of Rights could ever impact me. It must be done away with at the first sign of trouble for my daughter.

Re:And that is a bad thing because??? (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 years ago | (#39781635)

I wear as much tinfoil as the next guy, but not all law enforcement requests are criminal investigations.

Yes, but the ones that are criminal investigations should sure as hell be subject to the laws governing such things.

In this case, unlimited access to the data, anytime they want, for any reason is totally bypassing the 4th amendment.

Do you really want the cops to have to wake up a judge at 3am when your teenage daughter has gone missing after complaining about a stalker?

Oh, won't someone please think of the children. It's vital we all give up our rights to protect the children.

The reality is, there needs to be something here somewhere between complete and open access on any whim of law enforcement, and ensuring they're not bypassing all of the court oversight that is supposed to be in place for these things.

Because, it's not unprecedented to cops to use these things to look into what their spouse or ex is doing. This overly friendly working relationship is a recipe for all sorts of abuses and violations of due process -- both by individuals, and government in general.

A free society can't really stand for police getting full access to everything about them without some oversight unless it wants to find itself living in a very repressive environment.

Very sad that America seems to be forgetting this. Terrorism and protecting the children is being used as an excuse to knock down every legal barrier, and then start applying that as general, arbitrary surveillance for pretty much everything. Pretty soon, they'll be using it for speeding tickets and jay walking.

Re:And that is a bad thing because??? (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | about 2 years ago | (#39780665)

Exactly how it should be. The entire point of requiring a warrant, is to provide checks and ballances to the system.

And yet, when individuals or law enforcement investigations want to get specific information about a TelCo or ISP these companies circle the wagons and spout off about warrants, subpoenas and the like.

Re:And that is a bad thing because??? (2)

jsepeta (412566) | about 2 years ago | (#39780857)

read: "It could negatively impact the bottom line for telcos who have entire divisions set up to get income from the police to sell your private information without a warrant."

Re:And that is a bad thing because??? (1)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#39780905)

I guess the telcos never heard of a little thing called the 4th Amendment. In their defense, telco execs are a pretty dumb lot.

Re:And that is a bad thing because??? (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 years ago | (#39781051)

I think the issue is that the bill could be read as requiring a warrant to obtain the owner's name and billing address when all is known is the phone number. A billing address could be construed as "location information". The telcos really do not want to have to deal with the paperwork involved with a warrant every time a government entity ask for a billing address.

I believe the bill is intended to only cover the physical location of the phone but it is not completely clear that it does not include billing information.

Re:And that is a bad thing because??? (1)

gtbritishskull (1435843) | about 2 years ago | (#39781527)

Why should they not have to get a warrant to do a reverse lookup of your phone number? If the information is not publicly available, why should the police not have to get a judge's approval?

Re:And that is a bad thing because??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39781281)

Because apparently, due process is bad for business. Government, and private.

I'd go on a long rant about the continued degradation of our Amendment Rights over the past 40 so years, much longer depending on specifics, but if someone isn't aware of it at this point, I doubt it would help.

God (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39780549)

Get rid of OS Guard, now, or else!

God says...
arent_you_clever genius you_should_be_so_lucky Yawn test_pilot
I'll_be_back Terry talk_to_my_lawyer nevada what's_up
I'm_the_boss ahh wishful_thinking Burp fake I_don't_care
what_a_mess try_again listen_buddy I_hate_when_that_happens
happy homo over_the_top economy let_me_count_the_ways
exports trippy how_about_that jealousy mocking California
quit_it I_have_an_idea epic_fail after_a_break I'm_done

I have a dream (1)

killmenow (184444) | about 2 years ago | (#39780551)

Maybe the telcos should be lobbying the feds then to respect the 4th amendment and have one national standard to adhere to because it's stupid to think individual states won't pass laws like this and they'll end up with a hodgepodge of laws with conflicting requirements all over the country.

People want the 4th amendment respected. It'd be nice to have telcos on our side for once.

Re:I have a dream (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39780577)

And yet you get a ton of people voting GOP whenever they get a chance. If they really wanted it respected they'd be voting for politicians that weren't promising to violate their rights every time they get a chance.

Re:I have a dream (1)

killmenow (184444) | about 2 years ago | (#39780607)

Voters do want the 4th amendment respected. It's just that they are so zealous about outlawing abortion and gay marriage that they'd cut off their nose to spite their face.

Re:I have a dream (1)

NeverSuchBefore (2613927) | about 2 years ago | (#39780739)

Voters do want the 4th amendment respected.

Perhaps I've just met all the wrong people, but which voters are these? I see so many people who believe in that "nothing to hide, nothing to fear" nonsense, trust the government unconditionally (but only when it comes to 'protecting' them from alleged threats), and would rather sacrifice freedom for security merely because some people might die (just emotionally-driven nonsense).

Re:I have a dream (4, Insightful)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about 2 years ago | (#39780747)

Voters do want the 4th amendment respected. It's just that they are so zealous about outlawing abortion and gay marriage that they'd cut off their nose to spite their face.

You are assuming most voters even know what the 4th amendment says.

Re:I have a dream (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39780867)

It says that we can't own Canadians as slaves.

Re:I have a dream (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39780873)

Something about keeping the peasants in check I believe....

Re:I have a dream (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39780967)

Like it or not, the fourth amendment only applies to searches conducted by the government, and only a person with a property interest in the place searched or thing seized has standing to complain if it's violated. The records about you kept by a phone company or a bank are their property, not yours. If they want to hand that over without a warrant, that's their prerogative.

If you want privacy, it means not using a cell phone in the commission of a crime. Sorry.

Re:I have a dream (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39781139)

Like it or not, the fourth amendment only applies to searches conducted by the government

See, this is what's especially funny. You say the fourth amendment doesn't apply here, but the spirit of the constitution is clearly being violated here. Without a shred of doubt. The government is clearly abusing their power and finding as many loopholes in the technical sense as they can. So, you (and they) must be interpreting the fourth amendment literally.

But when it comes to slander, libel, etc? The first amendment doesn't mention those, yet they're illegal. So here, you're not interpreting the constitution literally. Make up your damn minds!

Re:I have a dream (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39781153)

Let me take a stab at this:

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted on people who arm bears.

Re:I have a dream (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39780661)

To be fair, your buddy Obama signed the NDAA not too long ago, and he also extended the PATRIOT act last year. So let's not pretend that violating the 4th amendment is a uniquely GOP pastime.

Crazy (1)

jakegmerek (2579439) | about 2 years ago | (#39780573)

It could place providers in the position of requiring warrants for all law enforcement requests

This could be the craziest comment I have ever read. They essentially oppose the law because it would require that they obey the Constitution of the United States. That just goes to show how scary of a state that the US is in right now when something like this can be an issue.

Re:Crazy (1)

robot256 (1635039) | about 2 years ago | (#39780641)

If you read the comment at the bottom of the summary, you'd know that they have a problem with ambiguity in the law as well. I expect they would not mind so much if the law did actually say "warrant for EVERYTHING", but it doesn't, which leaves the telcos in the uncomfortable position of deciding corner cases until they get sued and a court settles it. They don't like getting sued.

Re:Crazy (2)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 2 years ago | (#39780705)

Really? The constitution requires that they ask for a warrant before asking anybody anything? Because that's really what the problem is here. The telcos don't want have a warrant required to give out your "location information" which as the law as written could be anything as vague as your billing address. The 4th amendment is about search and seizure of your personal effects. I'm not sure if you billing address with your phone company falls under the category of personal papers, but it's also the property of the telcos. Here's the problem. If the cops go to ask your friends (or foes) where to find you, and they willingly give up the information, there's nothing you can do about it. They don't have to have a warrant to ask other people for information about you. You can ask for a warrant before they search your premises, and so can your friends, but if they are invited in, they don't need a warrant.

Re:Crazy (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 2 years ago | (#39781047)

If the cops go to ask your friends (or foes) where to find you, and they willingly give up the information, there's nothing you can do about it

Yes, but those parties can also choose to NOT give up the information, and they really shouldn't. You shouldn't tell a cop what time of day it is unless there is a subpeona. Telcos not talking unless they have a subpeona is a perfectly fine policy.

key word: LEGITIMATE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39780575)

"confusion for wireless providers when responding to legitimate law enforcement requests"

isn't that kind of the whole point? isn't the issuance of a warrant the very litmus test of legitimacy?

Working as Intended (5, Insightful)

whisper_jeff (680366) | about 2 years ago | (#39780581)

It could place providers in the position of requiring warrants for all law enforcement requests.

Um, allow me to introduce you to an internet meme that covers this adequately: "It's working as intended." Warrants exist for a reason. This sort of situation - responding to requests from law enforcement - are exactly that situation. Working as intended. Deal with it.

Re:Working as Intended (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 2 years ago | (#39780625)

Is a warrant some particularly fragile of heavy weight document that it cannot be bundled together with the request for information?
I really don't see how this would have any significant impact on the current workflow.
Just insert "IF includes warrant THEN continue as usual ELSE return standard message saying no warrant was included" at the very start.

Re:Working as Intended (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39780727)

Warrants provide an audit trail. Audit trails make it possible to show that people are doing stuff they aren't supposed to be doing.

When America sneezes, the Rest of the World... (4, Insightful)

dryriver (1010635) | about 2 years ago | (#39780633)

... tends to catch a cold as well. This isn't just true for Economics, where the phrase originated. If America borks up the "legal protections" that protect the "right to communication privacy", the rest of the world - developing or developed - is also bound to bork up its own "communications privacy" laws. So to America: Please don't set a super-fucked-up example in this matter, that the rest of the world then tries to follow or emulate (because if America does it, you know, its OK to do the same, too...). Please keep communications data private, please keep strong legal "privacy protections" in place, or else we who are outside America will also loose our "communication privacy", due in no small part to the bad example America sets in this matter. If you proclaim yourself the "Leader of the Free World", there is a certain responsibility that comes with that - to lead by "good example", not "bad example".

Re:When America sneezes, the Rest of the World... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39780853)

or else we who are outside America will also loose our "communication privacy"

You could also tighten it.

Seems like a good idea, except ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39780667)

Seems like a good idea, except when the safety of a minor or incompetent adult is involved.

Still, I'd rather have all law enforcement agencies - FBI, police, ATF, ... and all the spy agencies have to get a warrant even to be told where I live. They should need a warrant to look at tax records, property records, and thing not directly related to their jobs.

The pendulum has swung too far in the wrong direction. We need it swung too far in the other direction for the next 10 years.

Re:Seems like a good idea, except ... (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 2 years ago | (#39780729)

Seems like a good idea, except when the safety of a minor or incompetent adult is involved.

The thing about those situations is that, unless something is seriously screwed up, the telecom records related to those individuals will be in the name of their legal guardian. Their legal guardian can request that information from the telecoms in conjunction with law enforcement thus eliminating the need for a warrant, just as those legal guardians could grant law enforcement permission to search the room of those individuals.

Re:Seems like a good idea, except ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39780931)

Ain't there always a incompetent adult involved... there called politicians...

Re:Seems like a good idea, except ... (1)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#39781143)

They should need a warrant to look at tax records, property records

Why? I don't need a warrant to look at them, why should they?

tax records

Partially public where I live. Federal/state income tax, private as far as I know. I believe that several of the psuedo-tax psuedo-license hybrids like hunting licenses are freely available. Property tax, public as can be. Even available online. My local town hall no longer issues paper receipts for tax payments, just "wait a couple days and print out the paid in full receipt from the website, if you need a receipt for your mortgage company or whatever".

property records

Completely public where I live. Including historical. Only current info available to the public for free online from the govt, historical has a minimal fee from the govt and there are private resellers. When I was a little kid, my mom had a part time job during school hours doing historical title searches for real estate lawyers, insurance companies, and just plain ole private citizens. Like many "pre-computing" jobs she was pretty much a human "grep" command, although there was considerable analysis required the more non standard the request (figure out everyone in the city living on land formerly owned and contaminated by some corporation, etc). The service she was providing was not gaining access to the free public records, but searching and analyzing them cheaper and faster than the general public could. Also she had purchased a bond WRT to not falsifying reports or whatever its called exactly.

What's wrong with getting a warrant (2)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about 2 years ago | (#39780671)

It could place providers in the position of requiring warrants for all law enforcement requests.

Indeed. That's a good thing, and it's what we want.

Re:What's wrong with getting a warrant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39780689)

Sounds good to me. Unless oversight of law enforcement is somehow A) un-American, B) anti-Capitalist or C) pinko-Socialist. Whaddya think, Glenn Beck? ... Never mind, he thought it was multiple choice and was expecting "all of the above" as D.

Completely overblown (1)

MikeRT (947531) | about 2 years ago | (#39780693)

Federal law affects only federal law enforcement except where there is contradicting jurisdiction. Even in overlapping jurisdiction, the supremacy clause doesn't apply. For example, federal drug laws do not override state drug laws within a state's borders because the constitution gives virtually no jurisdiction to the federal government over what happens within a state's boundaries except matters of civil rights protection, coinage of currency and a few other domestic things. The federal government is free to arrest Californians for selling drugs across the border, but California is free to legalize the sale of drugs within its borders and even to prosecute federal agents who arrest people complying with California law in California's borders.

Big business, like big labor, hates state sovereignty. It makes the regulatory environment "messy." This is why contra what most liberals think, states rights are not a racist anachronism, but anti-venom for big business' reach and power.

Re:Completely overblown (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 2 years ago | (#39780793)

Yes, but if the state government creates laws that annoy the federal government, then the federal government can also stop feeding income tax money back to the state government. I seem to remember something along the lines of the feds requiring 50 mph speed limits in exchange for federally funded highways. If California legalized drug use, you could bet there would be increased problems for California, which would probably include guarded border crossings into other states.

Re:Completely overblown (1)

mbone (558574) | about 2 years ago | (#39780815)

You obviously have no experience with (or chose to ignore) politics in the former Confederate states.

Re:Completely overblown (1)

azalin (67640) | about 2 years ago | (#39780965)

Big business, like big labor, hates state sovereignty. It makes the regulatory environment "messy." This is why contra what most liberals think, states rights are not a racist anachronism, but anti-venom for big business' reach and power.

Actually even though big business might complain about state legislation they have no problem with setting up a department whose sole purpose it is to make sure everything they do is legal (or as legal as necessary) and meets regulations.
Now have a look at some small company. They basically have no choice but to abstain from interstate commerce once the laws reach a certain complexity. Try setting up a nationwide mail order shop for example. The taxation alone is going to drive you mad if you try to do it yourself.
The more complex it gets the more money the big players make and the less the start-ups stand a chance.

Re:Completely overblown (4, Interesting)

afidel (530433) | about 2 years ago | (#39781301)

You are ignoring the interstate commerce clause which the supreme court has repeatedly ruled allows the fed to enforce any law that might potentially affect interstate commerce, even illicit commerce. California can do whatever they want, but a federal agent has the authority under federal law to arrest anyone for possession of any schedule one drug and interfering with a federal officer will get you arrested by the FBI. I don't happen to like the overly broad interpretation of the commerce clause, I think it's some of the supreme courts weakest jurisprudence, but it's currently the law of the land.

Re:Completely overblown (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 years ago | (#39781625)

How about you read this article before explaining the Supremacy Clause. Pay close attention to the section on Supreme Court decisions.

Here is the text of the clause;

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.

So yes, if there is a federal law that conflicts with a State Law or Constitution then the Federal law reigns supreme. It does not say the State has to enforce the Federal laws but that the Federal Laws stiill apply.

For example, federal drug laws do not override state drug laws within a state's borders because the constitution gives virtually no jurisdiction to the federal government over what happens within a state's boundaries

Actually the Constitution does give federal law a lot of jurisdiction in States. Take a look at this article>/a>. Note that federal agents can still enforce federal drug laws against marijuana in California. Here is the Supreme Court Case [findlaw.com] that uphold the federal law even when it conflicts with State law.

Big business, like big labor, hates state sovereignty. It makes the regulatory environment "messy."

Messy does not even begin to describe the issues if every state was allowed to make laws effecting national companies. Interstate commerce is one of the areas regulated by the federal government. Take a look at this case [wikipedia.org] where the Supreme Court struck down a State law even though there was no overriding Federal law. Here is a quote from the decision "This is one of those cases -- few in number -- where local safety measures that are nondiscriminatory place an unconstitutional burden on interstate commerce.".

The whole point is that the Interstate Trade Clause can be used to strike down State laws that unconstitutionally burden companies that operate in multiple States.

Constitution applies to government, not telcos (1)

schwit1 (797399) | about 2 years ago | (#39780703)

The Constitution is there to limit the government.

This bill has 2 chief components, a warrant requirement which is aimed at California governments and a transparency requirement related to the 1st component. It''s a shame that it requires a law to get the telcos to do the right thing.

"Hey businesses, want to know why people despise you? This is why?"

The real question to ask is... (1)

3seas (184403) | about 2 years ago | (#39780713)

... are you an American, a US citizen respectful of the Founders of this Country? If not, get out!

You know what the real problem is? (1)

Progman3K (515744) | about 2 years ago | (#39780719)

Apart from the invasion into your private life by government and loss of personal freedoms I mean.

The real problem is that with your information becoming so easily available, somewhere along the long line of entities that have access to it, there will be breaches and compromised security.

We've often seen that no company or organisation can keep its data from being stolen, why do legislators think that enabling so many to put their hands on your info is a good thing?

They should be legislating so that NO ONE can get your data... But I guess they'd only do that if their responsibility was implementing the mandates their constituents gave them.

what happens when they make a contrary law? (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | about 2 years ago | (#39780769)

If this law is contrary to the bill of rights 4th amendment, how is it legal?

Re:what happens when they make a contrary law? (1)

mbone (558574) | about 2 years ago | (#39780851)

Well, I am no a lawyer, but this is not automatic. Suppose the law is passed, and it does violate the Constitution. Then you have to have standing (i.e., show that you are harmed in some way, which can be hard to do in these cases where you don't know what it being done to you behind the scenes), and then sue, and then take it to some high court (i.e., multiple rounds of appeals). Some years (and quite a few dollars) later, if you are lucky, you have overturned the law. If not, you've made things worse.

It's much better to stop it at the beginning than to wait to see what the judicial sausage machinery comes up with.

Telco scum (1)

J'raxis (248192) | about 2 years ago | (#39780895)

A couple years ago we had a bill up in New Hampshire to expand the State's "administrative subpoena" power from just telephone records to ISP records. (The law currently allows the Attorney General's Office, without a warrant, to subpoena records of when calls were made, who made them, and to whom. This bill would have allowed IP records to be added to that list.)

At the hearing, Comcast's lobbyist was the main speaker in favor of this bill.

Solution (4, Insightful)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 2 years ago | (#39780913)

I like Obama's solution for this. It is time to impose sanctions against the United States.

http://politics.slashdot.org/story/12/04/23/1453201/new-sanctions-to-target-syrian-and-iranian-tech-capacity [slashdot.org]

"This morning, President Obama is set to unveil a new executive order that will allow the U.S. to specifically target sanctions against individuals, companies or countries who use technology to enable human rights abuse. Especially as repressive regimes more effectively monitor their dissidents online (rather than simply blocking access) , the sanctions focus on companies that help them do that."

And in case the irony wasn't already obvious, he actually is sanctioning the Syrian telephone companies themselves:

Those include the Syrian General Intelligence Directorate, the Syriatel phone company and Ali Mamluk, the director of Syria’s general intelligence services.

I would love to hear him speak out on this issue! Of course, he already granted US telecom companies immunity, so this law would have no effect on them anyway.

Requirements (2)

iter8 (742854) | about 2 years ago | (#39781037)

It could place providers in the position of requiring warrants for all law enforcement requests.

That's the point. It's not that hard to get a warrant. The idea is that another branch of government should be reviewing police actions. Law enforcement should not be getting a free hand to obtain anything they want. The intent of the 4th amendment was that citizens should be allowed to conduct their lives without fear of government intrusion except when that intrusion was justified, reviewed by other branches of the government, and the action were open to the view of citizens. Too bad if that's an inconvenience for law enforcement and the phone company. I'm sorry if my rights are a bit of an inconvenience.

I don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39781043)

CTIA says it is opposed to SB 1434 because it may "create confusion for wireless providers and hamper their response to legitimate law enforcement investigations."

If it is a legitimate investigation then there already is a warrant involved. The telco's are just upset about possibly losing the $30/month fee they charge law enforcement for unlimited information access.

require warrants (0)

l3v1 (787564) | about 2 years ago | (#39781163)

It could place providers in the position of requiring warrants for all law enforcement requests

All I can say is: Duhh! Halleluiah!

Oh Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39781455)

"It could place providers in the position of requiring warrants for all law enforcement requests."

And what, exactly, would be so terrible about requiring the police to obey the US Constitution (for a change)?

No kidding (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39781503)

"It could place providers in the position of requiring warrants for all law enforcement requests"

That's most certainly the point.

I'm not opposed to legitimate law enforcement. I'm opposed to the current bullshit hodgepodge of privacy breaches that occur by both the outsourcement of customer service to foreign countries that don't have privacy laws, and the Patriot Act that tells foreign countries that we're going to violate their privacy so don't hire American companies to handle their data.

There won't be confusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39781513)

There won't be confusion. The first time the federal government seeks this information, they will go to court to get the California bill overtuned. The judge will almost surely give an injunction to prevent the California bill from being inforced while the case continues. It will reach the Supreme Court who will find for the Federal Government without thinking ("What's the 4th Amendment?")
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