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Newest Gov't Tracking Threat: Cell-Site Data Without a Warrant

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the by-hook-or-by-crook dept.

Privacy 107

An anonymous reader writes "Earlier this year, the Supreme Court put an end to warrantless GPS tracking. Now, federal prosecutors are trying to get similar data from a different source. A U.S. District Judge has ruled that getting locational data from cell towers in order to track suspects is just fine. '[Judge Huvelle] sidestepped the Fourth Amendment argument and declined to analyze whether the Supreme Court's ruling in Jones' case has any bearing on whether cell-site data can be used without a warrant. Instead, she focused on a doctrine called the "good-faith exemption," in which evidence is not suppressed if the authorities were following the law at the time. The data in Jones' case was coughed up in 2005, well before the Supreme Court's ruling on GPS. "The court, however, need not resolve this vexing question of Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, since it concludes that the good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule applies," (.PDF) she wrote. ... With that, prosecutors are legally in the clear to use Jones’ phone location records without a warrant.'"

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She's right, of course. (5, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | about a year and a half ago | (#42335751)

And therefor her ruling is irrelevant to cases in which the tower data was acquired since the Supreme Court GPS ruling.

Re:She's right, of course. (3, Insightful)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336009)

I read TFS the same way. If we're right, I certainly don't see how this counts as a "new" threat as the headline says, since the good-faith exemption only applies to old cases.

Re:She's right, of course. (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#42338925)

I still have a problem with "good faith exception" when, in fact, government's actions were in clear, and I mean clear, violation of the Constitution.

It shall be presumed wrong for government to gain access to anything without a warrant until argued otherwise.

If one were setting up a nation, isn't hat what you'd do? Americans have a congenital distrust of actions of the government.

Re:She's right, of course. (2)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year and a half ago | (#42339453)

It shall be presumed wrong for government to gain access to anything without a warrant until argued otherwise.

Really? They can't look at you without a warrant? They can't get security camera tapes from a bank that was held up without a warrant? They can't gain access to information about who is driving your car without a warrant? I think it should be presumed there are lots of things a government can get access to without a warrant.

If one were setting up a nation, isn't hat what you'd do?

That might be what I'd do were I setting up a nation today, but we're talking about one that has already been set up. One that includes the word "unreasonable" in connection with searches and seizures, and then limited even more by the clause "person, houses, papers and effects". The word "unreasonable" doesn't mean "any and all", and it would be interesting to argue that a cell phone company data record is a "person, house, paper, or effect".

The second part of that amendment which talks about Warrants, doesn't say that warrants shall be required before the government gains "access to anything", it delineates what must happen for a warrant, when required, to be issued.

In this specific instance, the ruling was about data obtained before SCOTUS ruled on GPS, which is the only reason there is any clarity about GPS, and only provides a glimmer of clarity on cell phone usage data. For instance, one major difference is that GPS tracking data from a law enforcement installed GPS device is involuntary; tracking by your cell phone company is both necessary for them to provide the service you have asked them to provide to you and voluntary in that you carry the device of your own free will.

I'd say that were the government to slip a cell phone into your effects so that they could track you not by the GPS but by the cell phone signals, that would clearly be a violation of the constitution because it would be nearly identical to the existing GPS decisions. But you carrying a device voluntarily that requires other people to track you, that's a different situation entirely.

Re:She's right, of course. (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year and a half ago | (#42340649)

"They can't get security camera tapes from a bank that was held up without a warrant? They can't gain access to information about who is driving your car without a warrant? I think it should be presumed there are lots of things a government can get access to without a warrant. "

I think you're looking at it the wrong way.

Consider land-line phones. The wires are publicly accessible. It takes no special equipment (I know this for a fact) in order to hook up to someone's phone line and listen to their conversations, even though those conversations are being transmitted through public property and through a third party. Without knowing who is calling whom, your location can't be tracked. But certainly, the phone company has a record that a call was made from that number (that location) at that time.

Now, for cell phones: in general, people use them (as phones) as they would land-line phones. They probably, and quite reasonably, expect a similar level of privacy. What real difference does it make whether it is "public airwaves" or "publicly accessible wires"?

In the judge's own words, the legal standard is "the amount of privacy a reasonable person would expect". I submit that the majority of the public expects their location information to be private. Whether YOU think that is reasonable is irrelevant. It is what the "average" person expects that counts.

Re:She's right, of course. (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341505)

They probably, and quite reasonably, expect a similar level of privacy.

You're holding a radio device, using a service that MUST know your approximate location in order to be able to work. Your expectation of "privacy" MIGHT be reasonable for the content of your conversation (since another party is involved, too), but as for your location, sorry, there is no reasonable expectation. Unreasonable, yes.

In the judge's own words, the legal standard is "the amount of privacy a reasonable person would expect".

And "ignorant" doesn't mean "reasonable".

I submit that the majority of the public expects their location information to be private.

I submit that you are absurdly incorrect, because the vast majority of the public is used to seeing phone books with their address listed right next to their phone number. And a large majority of them are used to being able to look up someone's address using that publicly available data.

It is what the "average" person expects that counts.

I see what you did there. You swapped the word "reasonable" with the word "average".

Re:She's right, of course. (5, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336143)

If and only if the SCOTUS ruling on GPS tracking applies to cell phone tracking. In the GPS tracking ruling, the police physically affixed a GPS tracker to the exterior of the suspects vehicle without a warrant. With cell phones, you voluntarily carry the bug. That's a significant difference which might make the GPS ruling inapplicable.

Re:She's right, of course. (2)

BitterOak (537666) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341921)

If and only if the SCOTUS ruling on GPS tracking applies to cell phone tracking. In the GPS tracking ruling, the police physically affixed a GPS tracker to the exterior of the suspects vehicle without a warrant. With cell phones, you voluntarily carry the bug. That's a significant difference which might make the GPS ruling inapplicable.

Exactly. If you're going somewhere you don't want to be tracked, you can always turn your cellphone off. But a hidden GPS tracking device attached to your car by police is harder to turn off.

Re:She's right, of course. (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | about a year and a half ago | (#42343903)

I'm sure they'll try to use that argument. The problem is that if we allow the government to do that kind of thing, they'll just outsource all of their spying to private companies and come and retrieve the data when they want it. Any evidence they obtain without a warrant needs to be tossed out.

I'm not so sure about this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42336335)

I can't see this being a correct interpretation

Law enforcement didn't have the authority to get at the data at the time (did they?). They were breaking the law if not. The ruling that determined that just didn't come until after they broke it.

The point of this mentioned exception I imagine relates to where a law is passed to outlaw some act or legalize something. That wouldn't invalidate the evidence just because the law changed later.

Re:She's right, of course. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42337307)

Damn straight she is.

If you think getting cell site data ought to require a a warrant, you are racist.

Why all this screaming? (0, Flamebait)

aglider (2435074) | about a year and a half ago | (#42335785)

They are the Government. They can do it. If they are now allowed, they'll make a law. Period.

Re:Why all this screaming? (1)

Jetra (2622687) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336083)

Ever hear of the Legislative Branch?

Re:Why all this screaming? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42336185)

"the Legislative Branch" is just anther arm of the government. What is your point?

Every hear of reason?

--Whensoever therefore the legislative shall transgress this fundamental rule of society; and either by ambition, fear, folly or corruption, endeavor to grasp themselves, or put into the hands of any other, an absolute power over the lives, liberties, and estates of the people; by this breach of trust they forfeit the power the people had put into their hands for quite contrary ends, and it devolves to the people, who have a right to resume their original liberty, and, by the establishment of a new legislative, (such as they shall think fit) provide for their own safety and security, which is the end for which they are in society.

John Locke, Second Treatise of Civil Government, Ch. XIV, sec. 222

Re:Why all this screaming? (2)

Qzukk (229616) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337015)

Every hear of reason?

I told you they'd listen to Reason.

Re:Why all this screaming? (3, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336299)

Yup, and for the past few years they do what their party tell them to do. The supreme court has not been the defenders of the constitution that they were supposed to be for decades....

Re:Why all this screaming? (1)

kilfarsnar (561956) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336987)

And their donors!

Re:Why all this screaming? (2)

ArcherB (796902) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336329)

They are the Government. They can do it. If they are now allowed, they'll make a law. Period.

The Constitution trumps any laws created by the legislative branches of the federal and state governments as well as any executive orders by governors or the president. The Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land, or it's supposed to be anyway.

Re:Why all this screaming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42337541)

The guy in the 2nd Harold and Kumar movie who wipes his ass with a paper intended to portray the constitution has it right. The constitution doesn't trump anything. People trump corrupt people, but only insofar as they're willing to stick their neck on the line to put gross miscarriages of justice onto the chopping block (and likely themselves in the process.)

Re:Why all this screaming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42337987)

Flamebait? Come on! I don't have any modpoints to mod you up dude. Any?

The moral of the story is... (0, Redundant)

CajunArson (465943) | about a year and a half ago | (#42335809)

If you want to be a drug dealer or engage in other criminal activity, don't broadcast your location to the rest of the world with your cellphone.

Re:The moral of the story is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42335967)

I think the moral of the story above is more in line with, next person that goes missing, in the United States, since all cell phoes are now recorded, for location, that are on, and why would you "turn" off your cell phone now? you criminal, if you would. In less then 24 hours, you have a backtrackable path, to investigate. That is held in perpetuty by the "law" enforcement agencies in the USA. Gee, whiz by golly, I wonder what else they know, and how far back their records go. That may interest the parents of the "disappeared" not mayan or religous styled.

Re:The moral of the story is... (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#42335993)

If you want to be a drug dealer or engage in other criminal activity, don't broadcast your location to the rest of the world with your cellphone.

No, the moral of the story is that if you think you are covered by the 4th amendment, and that you're not living in a surveillance society ... you're wrong.

Your government will spy on you without a warrant, whenever they like.

This is all of the stuff we used to joke about "papers please" where only the evil communist bastards would do such a thing. Only now, it's accepted as perfectly normal and legal.

Re:The moral of the story is... (1)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336067)

4th amendment is no intrusion in your home and some private property like a car or boat along with having the content of your phone conversations private

Re:The moral of the story is... (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336127)

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.

The people who wrote the constitution may not have conceived of warrantless tapping of cell phone towers, but I'm not convinced of the interpretations which say "well, they didn't say cell phone towers so it's OK".

In terms of what they knew about, I'd say this falls under "papers and effects". And then there's the need for probable cause.

Re:The moral of the story is... (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341611)

The people who wrote the constitution may not have conceived of warrantless tapping of cell phone towers,

Getting cell phone location from the towers is not "warrantless tapping". It's getting ancillary data, much like looking in the phone book to find out someone's address. It's almost exactly like looking at the caller ID on your phone to see the number someone is calling from and then using a reverse directory to look up his location.

In terms of what they knew about, I'd say this falls under "papers and effects".

It's "data", much like the bits on a DVD are data that yearns to be free and shared with everyone.

Re:The moral of the story is... (3, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336147)

4th amendment is no intrusion in your home and some private property like a car or boat along with having the content of your phone conversations private

Bullshit:

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.

Nowhere does it state that the right to be free from search and seizure without warrant only applies in your own home or on private property, and only an absolute fucking moron (or government shill) would think otherwise.

Thank $deity that you don't get to decide my rights.

Re:The moral of the story is... (2)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336499)

This is all of the stuff we used to joke about "papers please"

But... I only got a pipe, man!

Re:The moral of the story is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42337409)

Refer to second amendment and its' original purpose.

Re:The moral of the story is... (2)

greenbird (859670) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337669)

This is all of the stuff we used to joke about "papers please" where only the evil communist bastards would do such a thing. Only now, it's accepted as perfectly normal and legal.

Literally [paragoulddailypress.com] . I thought this was an Onionesc piece of satire when I started reading it but as far as I can tell it's real.

"[Police are] going to be in SWAT gear and have AR-15s around their neck," Stovall said. "If you're out walking, we're going to stop you, ask why you're out walking, check for your ID."

"This fear is what's given us the reason to do this. Once I have stats and people saying they're scared, we can do this," he said. "It allows us to do what we're fixing to do."

Welcome to the new world.

Re:The moral of the story is... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337903)

"To ask you for your ID, I have to have a reason," he said. "Well, I've got statistical reasons that say I've got a lot of crime right now, which gives me probable cause to ask what you're doing out. Then when I add that people are scared...then that gives us even more [reason] to ask why are you here and what are you doing in this area."

Holy crap ... so we're going to walk around with the big guns, and since we can't legally do anything without probably cause, we're taking statistics as probably cause on anybody.

"This fear is what's given us the reason to do this. Once I have stats and people saying they're scared, we can do this," he said. "It allows us to do what we're fixing to do."

Well, that pretty much sums up everything doesn't it?

Re:The moral of the story is... (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337947)

I'd even buy the statistical argument, if the probability was actually over 50%. But how much do you want to bet they're not keeping any sort of statistics that would enable people to verify their accuracy rate?

Re:The moral of the story is... (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#42338061)

I'd even buy the statistical argument, if the probability was actually over 50%.

You'd be OK with armed police asking everybody who goes by to identify themselves and justify why they're in that area? Really?

If this isn't the culmination of "papers please" I don't know what is.

A free society isn't supposed to do that.

Re:The moral of the story is... (0)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#42338141)

If they had a greater than 50% success rate, it would actually meet the probable cause hurdle. I'm not sure that I'd be OK with it, but it would meet the constitutional standard at least.

Re:The moral of the story is... (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#42338377)

If they had a greater than 50% success rate, it would actually meet the probable cause hurdle.

I would be terrified if they could do it that way. There's no probable cause that you personally may have done anything, but a big fishing expedition that says "if we stop everybody, sooner or later we'll find someone who is guilty". I should hope that sure as hell doesn't meet any legal test.

Hell, I'm going to throw out the wild, unsupportable figure that 25% of all cops are corrupt. So since we know that to be true, we need to heavily scrutinize all of the cops to determine which ones have money they can't account for. Of course, they'd whine and bitch that we're violating their constitutional rights.

At which point, why should their rights hold greater weight than ours?

Re:The moral of the story is... (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#42338891)

I don't see any other way to interpret "probable cause" except in statistical terms. I'd agree that fishing expeditions are incompatible with a free society, but if you have >50% of people on the street actively engaged in lawbreaking you're a very long way from a free society.

But this discussion is moot, because they are not actually going to be able to report those kinds of accuracy rates, if they report them at all. And stop and frisk is only legal under reasonable suspicion, which includes a requirement for specific and articulable reasons for that suspision. They're going to stop and frisk the wrong person, end up in court, and lose big.

Re:The moral of the story is... (1)

suutar (1860506) | about a year and a half ago | (#42339143)

I think they're going more on the 'reasonable' angle. Note that the only requirement on the search/seizure activity is that it be reasonable. Once public consensus is that 6 swat guys in riot gear with automatic weapons breaking down the door at 3am is a reasonable response to your IP address showing up on a list, well, there ya go; the 4th has nothing against that.

Re:The moral of the story is... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42341755)

Not to sound the Troll or Flame-bait as I am quite serious when I say this--the most complicated electronics I take with me when I leave my house, aside from the ones built into my vehicle, are my piezo-electric lighter and the LED flashlight on my keychain. And you know what? I get through life just fine. My life isn't put on hold if I don't carry a phone, if you'll pardon the pun.

I also do not have to worry about anyone tracking my movements, warrant or not.

Bottom line is this--you either value your privacy, or you value the security and access those electronics might provide...but it is a bit naive to think that in this day and age you can get both. Even a single-edged sword can be used against you, especially when in the hands of your opponent.

Re:The moral of the story is... (1)

jickerson (2714793) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336047)

don't broadcast your location to the rest of the world with your cellphone.

You don't have to necessarily. Signal strength and triangulation can give a rough idea of someone's location.

Re:The moral of the story is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42336535)

"You don't have to necessarily. Signal strength and triangulation can give a rough idea of someone's location."

That's why I only use satellite phones during my heists and break-ins.

Re:The moral of the story is... (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336175)

If you want to be a[n] American citizen with but a vestige of privacy, don't carry a cellphone, or venture into public, or have a profile on any website, or use the internet period, etc. etc. etc.

FTFY.

Fixed it real good.

Re:The moral of the story is... (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337297)

...or the biggest problem for me, don't engage in any electronic commerce.

Re:The moral of the story is... (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336311)

Criminal activity includes not agreeing with your government or being a proponent of freedoms that have been taken away.

Re:The moral of the story is... (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336567)

If you want to be a drug dealer or engage in other criminal activity, don't broadcast your location to the rest of the world with your cellphone.

No, the moral of the story is a potential erosion of all of our civil liberties, even law abiding citizens...

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

Re:The moral of the story is... (1)

kilfarsnar (561956) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337123)

Agreed. And it's not even potential, it's pretty much guaranteed. Years ago when I heard about all these new laws being used only in terrorism cases I thought, "Yeah, right." And I was amazed at the lack of perception of those around me who insisted that they would only be used for terrorism. Ten years later I'm not at all surprised at how things have proceeded.

Re:The moral of the story is... (1)

Sloppy (14984) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336837)

I think what you meant to say is "If you want to be a suspected drug dealer or criminal, don't broadcast your location." And guess what: everyone is a suspected criminal.

It's almost as though so many people were suspected criminals from 1775-1789, that they banded together and forced a law to be made, to deal with government bullshit in regards to suspected criminals.

If we don't enforce such a law, then you're right: the next best thing is to close the security hole in the first place. Seriously, governments are pretty much the only entity that ever might respect a law that prohibits exploiting a security hole, so it's probably a good idea to close the hole anyway, thereby also solving the government abuse problem -- obsoleting the 4th amendment.

The kind of thinking is probably good news for my stalkee, who is .. a hot chick / John Lennon / a member of wrong race or religion or political party / insured by policies I underwrite / an advertising target / resident of a house I intend to burgle.

Re:The moral of the story is... (1)

kilfarsnar (561956) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337005)

If you want to be a drug dealer or engage in other criminal activity, don't broadcast your location to the rest of the world with your cellphone.

Why do you assume I am a criminal if i don't want the government or law enforcement to be able to track me without a warrant? Not everyone suspected or accused of a crime is a criminal.

Phone location (1)

part_of_you (859291) | about a year and a half ago | (#42335837)

This isn't locating a person, but a device. I think that's a good point to keep in mind. Unless you can prove that I was using that device at that time, it seems to be an invalid argument to say that I had the device, and not another person (stolen), or vehicle (left or lost).

Re:Phone location (1)

Aaden42 (198257) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336483)

In such a case, the burden of proof would undoubtedly be on you. Unless you're in the habit of routinely dumping and replacing your cell phone, it's tough to claim it was stolen if it's still in your pocket when they arrest^Wclassify you as a person of interest in a crime that occurred in the vicinity.

I'm on the verge of not caring (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42335841)

Everyday, it seems, someone wants to watch me, be it government or websites that track my movements across the web. Short of pulling the plug or exerting massive amounts of proxy, mixmaster, VPS expensive nonsense, I'm about ready to just live and not worry about it. Actually, corporations are more likely to keep me awake at night than government. When there is money to be made, you can bet they will stop at nothing to achieve their sinister goals.

Question: What do people do with all that wealth. How many cars or nice houses does it take? How many islands, how many women in your wake suing? Why cannot people be content with normal?

The lust of the eye is never satisfied...Ecclesiastes 1:8

Re:I'm on the verge of not caring (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42335915)

"Actually, corporations are more likely to keep me awake at night than government. When there is money to be made, you can bet they will stop at nothing to achieve their sinister goals"

Very unwise. When a corporation wrongs you, you may seek protection from the court, the state at least theoretically is supposed to be on the side of fairness.

When the state wrongs you, of course you may also sue, but only on the terms of the state. There is no one else.

Secondly, what is wrong with 'money to be made'? Not a damn thing and you know it as you seek it yourself in your daily life. You need food, you acquire food with money, hence you must earn money. What about this is sinister?

Sinister is seeking power over other men at the end of a gun, and that is the province of the state and no one else.

Wise up, or remain a fool, I don't care.

Re:I'm on the verge of not caring (1)

mk1004 (2488060) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336895)

Sinister is seeking power over other men at the end of a gun, and that is the province of the state and no one else.

Sinister is seeking power over other men with legislators, bought and paid for. No guns needed.

Re:I'm on the verge of not caring (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42337007)

Hello, god gave you a brain, use it.

Legislators do what exactly? Legislate, that is make law.

Laws are nothing if not enforced.

If you break the law eventually someone will come to enforce something upon you, that man will have a gun.

Try it and tell me I am wrong.

Re:I'm on the verge of not caring (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42335931)

Question: What do people do with all that wealth. How many cars or nice houses does it take? How many islands, how many women in your wake suing? Why cannot people be content with normal?

The lust of the eye is never satisfied...Ecclesiastes 1:8

Normal for the wealthy is nothing like normal for the average person.

Re:I'm on the verge of not caring (1)

CajunArson (465943) | about a year and a half ago | (#42335991)

Is this the usual propaganda where corporations having your data == scary bad and government having your data == It's OK, the government is your friend and you need the government to take care of you because you are a helpless moron?

How about: Corporations suck and shouldn't have my data && Government sucks *more* (getting shot by the government is a lot worse than having advertising sent to you) and *definitely* shouldn't have my data?

Re:I'm on the verge of not caring (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336259)

Is this the usual propaganda where corporations having your data == scary bad and government having your data == It's OK, the government is your friend and you need the government to take care of you because you are a helpless moron?

Considering recent events, I'm a bit shocked that there are people out there who still think there's some sort of difference.

Re:I'm on the verge of not caring (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42337849)

"The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'" -Ronald Reagan

Re:I'm on the verge of not caring (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336343)

IF you want to get their attention. buy a disposable camera and go taking photos of security cameras. You will get to meet the people behind those cameras pretty quickly.

They like to watch you, they hate it when you watch them.

Re:I'm on the verge of not caring (3, Informative)

kilfarsnar (561956) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337329)

Everyday, it seems, someone wants to watch me, be it government or websites that track my movements across the web. Short of pulling the plug or exerting massive amounts of proxy, mixmaster, VPS expensive nonsense, I'm about ready to just live and not worry about it. Actually, corporations are more likely to keep me awake at night than government. When there is money to be made, you can bet they will stop at nothing to achieve their sinister goals.

For the most part you can just live your life. If you are just going about daily business you have little to fear. The problem arises if and when you want to make a significant change to the status quo. Say you want to join the Occupy movement, or advocate against hydraulic fracking, or agitate for criminal proceedings against Wall Street felons. These new law enforcement abilities will be used against you to preserve that status quo that so many powerful people benefit so much from.

Question: What do people do with all that wealth. How many cars or nice houses does it take? How many islands, how many women in your wake suing? Why cannot people be content with normal?

At a certain level it becomes not about wealth but power. Money talks in the US like nothing else. If you have enough money, you can have a hand in shaping society to be the way you want it to be; no election necessary. You can buy ad time on TV to broadcast the message you want. You can fund foundations and think tanks to do the work and write policy papers reflecting your point of view. You can fund political campaigns and make demands of the Congresspeople you help elect. You can hire lobbyists for similar purposes. Hell, you can break the law and get away with it by hiring a legal dream team, or better yet getting your Congressman buddy to squash the investigation.

Like you said, at a certain level you don't care about Ferraris and private islands anymore. You've got 6 of each already. You turn your attention to making society the way you want it to be, and for your own interests. Have your ever wanted to remake the world according to your own image? If you had $50 billion you could start doing it.

Re:I'm on the verge of not caring (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42340841)

This ^ is one of the most well thought out responses on /. I've ever seen. Bravo! Truth in every word.

Re:I'm on the verge of not caring (1)

NeoNormal (594362) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341705)

For the most part you can just live your life. If you are just going about daily business you have little to fear. The problem arises if and when you want to make a significant change to the status quo. Say you want to join the Occupy movement, or advocate against hydraulic fracking, or agitate for criminal proceedings against Wall Street felons. These new law enforcement abilities will be used against you to preserve that status quo that so many powerful people benefit so much from.

Please mod post this up. Explains it all.

The Real People who need to be spied on... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42335873)

I'll keep it short, The Real People who need to be spied on are our oath breaking officials holding office, and the banksters, along with the black government agencies they are protecting.

Re:The Real People who need to be spied on... (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336999)

Yeah, but that's inconvenient and scary. So most people'd rather blame you for their own cowardice. As is demonstrated on here time and time again.

Re:The Real People who need to be spied on... (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341193)

I'll keep it short, The Real People who need to be spied on are our oath breaking officials holding office, and the banksters, along with the black government agencies they are protecting.

This perfectly logical and correct statement is modded "-1 Troll""!?!?

WTF!?!? 0.o

Either we have some jackboot fetishists with mod points or the government taxpayer-funded shills are out in force.

At least, I sure hope that is the case. If that moderation is the common view, then we're screwed and Orwell wrote an instruction manual.

Maybe we'll get to meet in the camps.

Strat

Wellll.... (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a year and a half ago | (#42335951)

While it is in the government's interest to sidestep those pesky ten amendments wherever and whenever possible, it is certainly in the citizen's interest to allow their removal only from his cold, dead hand. The Supreme Court's ruling means all is not lost. It's not that law enforcement would be entirely reluctant to keep using these "formidable weapons against terror & drugs", since I'm certain some of them learned ethics from Horatio Cain and Andy Sipowitz, but at least they are aware what they're doing is without the rubber stamp of approval.

Good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule (5, Insightful)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336051)

Good-faith exception [wikipedia.org] to the exclusionary rule [wikipedia.org] : means that as long as the police thought that they had a valid warrant, their behavior is acceptable and that such illegally obtained evidence may be presented rather than excluded. But the point of the exclusionary rule is to stop police/prosecutor misconduct by not rewarding inappropriate behavior. A good faith exception means you can be sneaky and side-step the law by having a detective obtain a search warrant in bad faith (by providing or proclaming certain facts which are known to be untrue) and then by having separate police officers "act in good faith" by carrying out that warrant.
.
Why is it that for civilians/non-law-officers the concept is "ignorance of the law is no excuse"? Police instead get the "well as long as you intended/meant to do good, it's alright..." Regular people are held to the letter of the law even if they are not aware of the existence of the law. Why should police/detectives/prosecutors be rewarded for gaming the system or for an illegal search warrant? [warning, IANAL and this post strongly follows the story line of something from Law and Order about one or two years ago... :>) ]

Re:Good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42336457)

Everything you said is true and you make an exceptionally good point. But just to clarify, despite what wiki defines, the good faith exception is for all illegally obtained evidence (fruit from the poisonous tree), as long as it was obtained while the officer "thought" they were legally doing so. In other words, if the officer acted in good faith while illegally obtaining the evidence, it will not be supressed. Now this is a loop hole that can work in favor, or against, either side. Ultimately it depends on the Judge's bias to crime control, or individual autonomy (due process), as well as how good the prosecutor/defendant's lawyer is.

Re:Good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule (0)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336575)

Because it's an artifact from an age when people thought that the police were acting in good faith, and they saw numerous violent criminals returned to the street to kill again due to procedural mistakes.

Of course, this was all before our brave new world where police are all fascist thugs and actual fascist thugs are given aid and comfort by the Attorney General. What a world!

Re:Good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule (5, Informative)

greggem (1044620) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336823)

This is not actually true. If the warrant in your example was obtained based on a deliberate deception it would be invalid and the evidence from the search would not come in. If what you suggest was the case, there would be basically no point to the exclusionary rule since the police could freely lie in affidavits and have the warrants (or at least the evidence obtained from their execution) upheld.

The good faith exception is easy to apply if you consider the purpose of the exclusionary rule. The exclusionary rule exists to deter unlawful police conduct.

Consider the situation where the police request a warrant in good faith, and it is issued by a detached and neutral magistrate. On appeal, the affidavit is found to lack probable cause. Should the evidence be suppressed? The Supreme Court says no, because the police acted in complete good faith. There was no misconduct involved and applying the exclusionary rule in situations like this would not further its purpose since there is no unlawful conduct to deter. This is the proper application of the good faith exception.

By contrast, excluding evidence obtained by lying in an affidavit for a warrant would have a very pronounced effect on reducing unlawful behavior by the police. Thus, no good faith exception for your dishonest detective. (Actually, he may be looking at a perjury prosecution.)

Law school ruined Law and Order for me. My wife can't stand me explaining why everything on the show is wrong. Also she hates it when I yell "Objection!!" at the screen every few minutes during the second half of the show.

Re:Good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337955)

Also she hates it when I yell "Objection!!" at the screen every few minutes during the second half of the show.

I have the same problem, and all I did was play Phoenix Wright.

Re:Good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year and a half ago | (#42340725)

"If the warrant in your example was obtained based on a deliberate deception it would be invalid and the evidence from the search would not come in."

That is ONLY true if the deception is detected.

"Thus, no good faith exception for your dishonest detective. (Actually, he may be looking at a perjury prosecution.)"

But again, ONLY if the deception is detected. That is hardly something you can assume will happen.

Re:Good-faith exception to the exclusionary rule (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341541)

That is ONLY true if the deception is detected.

If the deception isn't detected, then a good faith exemption isn't necessary and is, in fact, irrelevant.

But again, ONLY if the deception is detected. That is hardly something you can assume will happen.

Yes, one has to assume that the defense council is capable and actually doing his job. If he is, the deception will be uncovered in the course of discovery and the next motion filed will be to exclude that evidence.

Current Trend (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42336053)

This has been going on for years in law enforcement. For a minimal fee, agencies or officers fax a request or use an online-portal to access the requested information from the provider...all without a warrant. Info that is commonly available is tower data, phone calls, texts, tapping, and a "special request" section. This is all given up to an officer without a warrant. All major cellular carriers participate.

Re:Current Trend (2)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year and a half ago | (#42339573)

Yes, and lives have been (and could have been) saved by this.

The Shue family lost in southern Oregon is an example, which is also the reason why it happens more often. Family lost in the snow while taking a shortcut. Husband dead. IIRC the wife and two kids were rescued. He died because he left them to try to find help.

A cell tech in California saw the news and thought "if they have a cell phone, I bet we can find them from tower data", and pushed his bosses to allow it.

It's now one of the first things done in any lost person situation. It saves not only the lives of the lost people, but the time and lives of people who risk theirs going out to search for them.

Re:Current Trend (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year and a half ago | (#42340757)

"It's now one of the first things done in any lost person situation."

Then there should be no problem at all calling that "probable cause" and obtaining a warrant to do it. In practice, that can usually be done in less than an hour.

Re:Current Trend (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about a year and a half ago | (#42341667)

Then there should be no problem at all calling that "probable cause" and obtaining a warrant to do it. In practice, that can usually be done in less than an hour.

People who get lost in the wilderness are usually not in a municipality with an office full of prosecutors who can draft up warrant requests and then find the only judge for the county to sign it.

It's lunacy to say that a situation where someone's life is in danger and their location data can save it requires a warrant before that information can be obtained. First of all, how do you imagine this location data is going to be used in a court of law in the first place? What jeopardy does getting this information put someone in?

Did anyone actually read TFA? (2)

drdread66 (1063396) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336057)

This isn't a case of a judge just tossing out the 4th Amendment. The situation is that the cops had a court order allowing them to grab the location data from the cell towers. It wasn't a warrant, but IANAL and I don't really understand what the difference is between the two. At any rate, the courts knew what the police wanted, and gave them the go-ahead.

What the judge did in this case is duck the 4th Amendment issue completely, and seemingly intentionally. She ruled that since the cops had a court order, they were entitled to grab & use the cell data. It's clear that she didn't want to wade into the 4th-A discussion, preferring to punt that to another court -- quite possibly the supremes.

If the cops had gotten a "warrant" to get this data, I doubt anyone in the press (or on /.) would be interested in this case. So now we're down to arguing over whether a "court order" is different enough from a "warrant" to be worth putting on our Big Brother war paint.

Re:Did anyone actually read TFA? (3, Informative)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336167)

The difference is that a court order need still comply with the 4th Amendment. A court order is not a warrant.

A warrant is a specific legal document with a specific legal purpose - to allow government to set aside your right to be secure in your person, papers, and effects, when there is probable cause to believe you have committed a crime; and with the express purpose of allowing that right to be set aside only for the express purposes outlined in the warrant - to search a specific place for a specific thing.

Even a warrant that says "law enforcement can search this house for any evidence of any crime" is non-compliant. A warrant must outline specifically the place to be searched and the things to be seized. Any evidence not specifically called out on the warrant may not be seized, and if it is, may not be admitted as evidence.

A court order is simply a mandate from a judge that a particular party do a particular thing. A judge cannot order a person or company to violate the rights of a third party, as a means to circumvent the protections in the bill of rights (although this is the latest modus operandi from our criminal government).

Don't worry about it boys... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42336069)

Let them tap our phones, read our emails, track our movements, take over health care, outspend the rest of the world in military and police power, disarm the legal gun owner and kill children in lands that we haven't declared war with by remote control.
 
Everything will be fine. Just sit back and relax and know that big brother has it all in hand. It won't hurt... much. The real important thing here is that the party you belong to wins regardless of their track record.

Re:Don't worry about it boys... (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336277)

Let them tap our phones, read our emails, track our movements, take over health care, outspend the rest of the world in military and police power, disarm the legal gun owner and kill children in lands that we haven't declared war with by remote control. Everything will be fine. Just sit back and relax and know that big brother has it all in hand. It won't hurt... much. The real important thing here is that the party you belong to wins regardless of their track record.

But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.

Re:Don't worry about it boys... (1)

jasper160 (2642717) | about a year and a half ago | (#42338287)

Samsung even has their new TV's set up to watch you. Not that you have anything to worry about...

Re:Don't worry about it boys... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42341929)

I can choose to not buy a TV from Samsung. Changing my government is a much different matter.

So glad I'm not having kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42336129)

I would not want to put them through growing up in this world. Seriously, it sucks. Humanity is becoming stupider by the minute. There's really no compelling reason to even try, when success is met with the force of government, and failure is rewarded with the spoils of those who try nonetheless, and where basic human rights no longer apply.

What DOES require a warrant anymore? (2)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336157)

No, seriously. Is there ANYTHING left that requires a warrant anymore, that can't just be bypassed with some "We thought he might be an immediate threat/terrorist" line?

Re:What DOES require a warrant anymore? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42336323)

Seeing a president or a presidential candidate's college transcripts, tax returns or birth certificate. I just love the new enlightened age of transparency.

Re:What DOES require a warrant anymore? (1)

mk1004 (2488060) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337021)

That's call right to privacy. Privacy laws prevent colleges, the IRS, and government records offices from publishing that data for ANYONE. The individual has the right to publish that information himself, if he so desires. Presidents and presidential candidates have the right to publish their private information, and rarely exercise it.

Re:What DOES require a warrant anymore? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42336339)

Can't find drugs in the car, then they will search your ass and pussy in public as cars pass by.. no warrant. no joke.
http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2012/12/18/irving-women-claim-assault-humiliation-after-roadside-cavity-search-by-troopers/

Bill of (Some) Rights (3, Insightful)

fearofcarpet (654438) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336333)

Apparently the Fourth Amendment has all sorts of exclusionary clauses that us mortals can't see. Secure in papers and possessions? Well, email isn't really paper... No searches without warrants? It's ok if the police thought they had one. And tracking you without your knowledge isn't really a "privacy" issue. The Second Amendment, however, is clearly iron-clad, exception free, future-proof, and literal except that "militia" really means "individuals." Interestingly, though, I still can't own a plastic gun because undetectable guns are illegal--though perhaps all the loopholes in the Fourth Amendment supersede the Second Amendment? I can't wait to see how SCOTUS views equal protection when it comes to sexual orientation. Is it an iron-clad, literal right or are there more invisible exceptions that only special people in black robes can see? Or maybe it will suddenly be states rights issue this time (but not drugs, no the commerce clause clearly covers those.)

Re:Bill of (Some) Rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42337917)

If you can design a practical working "plastic" gun, more power to you! Glock and other polymer framed firearms are far from "undetectable" as much of the firearm remains metal, as plastics just don't work for things like barrels etc.! And per BATF: "per provisions of the Gun Control Act (GCA) of 1968, 18 U.S.C. Chapter 44, an unlicensed individual may make a “firearm” as defined in the GCA for his own personal use, but not for sale or distribution." so go ahead and try your hand at it! Oh and please let me know the regulations that state you "can't own a plastic gun because undetectable guns are illegal".

Re:Bill of (Some) Rights (1)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | about a year and a half ago | (#42338535)

The Second Amendment, however, is ... literal except that "militia" really means "individuals."

At the time, the "militia" consisted of practically every able-bodied male of military age, so "individuals" is essentially literal. That aside, however, the right itself has little to do with the militia:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State..." is obviously just an introductory clause, explaining (in part) why the amendment was written. The actual right is in the second half, which clearly refers to "the right of the people", not "the right of the militia". Honestly, sometimes it seems like the pro-gun-control crowd does their reasoning by looking only at key words like "militia" without considering the grammatical context.

The only way any weapons ban could possibly be considered constitutional under a fair reading of the amendment would be if an argument could be made that the weapons being banned are not "Arms" in the original sense.

The U.S. Constitution does not adequately define "arms". When it was adopted, "arms" included muzzle-loaded muskets and pistols, swords, knives, bows with arrows, and spears. However, a common- law definition would be "light infantry weapons which can be carried and used, together with ammunition, by a single militiaman, functionally equivalent to those commonly used by infantrymen in land warfare." That certainly includes modern rifles and handguns, full-auto machine guns and shotguns, grenade and grenade launchers, flares, smoke, tear gas, incendiary rounds, and anti-tank weapons... —Constitution Society [constitution.org]

Re:Bill of (Some) Rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42342169)

Because the 2nd amendment, out of the entire Bill of Rights, was the ONLY one to require a completely superfluous introductory clause. The rest of the Constitution and Bill of Rights have incredibly dense functional language, but this one amendment was where they decided "Hey, this one really needs be explained, future generations might not get it." Or, maybe, the 2nd amendment was intended to have something to do with freaking militias and you're reading merely to support your own ideology.

just think... (1)

night_flyer (453866) | about a year and a half ago | (#42336725)

just think what they will be able to get away with when they disarm the population! who will stop them?

Newest Gov't Tracking Threat: Cell-Site Data Witho (1)

smcguirk (2798545) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337229)

Why are we constantly having to ask for a simple warrant to track criminals? Politicians that support this are building a level of distrust.

what is the problem exactly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42337395)

Why do you worry? What are you hiding? If you feel the need to hide from the authorities, you should be investigated. This is nor nazi Germany, this is nor the USSR there are no tyrants. We lice in a democracy, only loons, gun nuts and conspiracy theorists believe otherwise. Openness == civility.

In the army signal core... (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year and a half ago | (#42337443)

I would hear stories about how poorly cellphones sent clear text data over the airwaves and how routine testing and goofing around with the equipment to intercept these signals allowed many a solider to find out his wife was banging someone else. I worked in IT, the guy nexto me worked with the radios. So I do not have first hand evidence of this, but I know ham operators have most of the knowledge neccissary to read the signals and that they had no to poor encryption for the longest time.

You can bet action has been taken on stuff "shouted over the airwaves". One wonders if the attitude that using radio is akin to shouting in a public hall. Are your shouts protected from being recorded in a restaraunt or at a mall? We know many police agencies are considering recording on duty and CCTV cameras everywhere. I think recording peoples conversations in public is overboard and deterimental to our society as a whole. But, there it is the basis of an argument for and against.

Oh Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42337595)

Now EVERYONE is going to know how many dropped calls I have!

So what? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42337883)

If you dont do bad things it wont matter. So unless your a bad person doing bad things they wont even care about you. If you truly believe that the government will spend the time, money, manpower, technology and resources to constantly track every single person in the entire country every single second and have an agent dedicated to keeping tabs on each person with a cell phone youre fucking a dillusional moron conspiracy theorist that needs their head examined or to get out of the house some.

Bottom line is unless you do bad things to get noticed no one cares about you, you dont matter and no one pays attention to you. I know you all want to think youre somehow this special person worthy of being tracked and recorded constantly because you have read way to many news articles and watched too many movies but in reality youre not special and no one is watching you.

And hey if you dont like it then turn off your gps, turn off your cell phone when not using it or simply dont own one.

Personally I dont care who watches me. What do I care if they know I drive to work, go to my grandmas, call my girlfriend or look at ebay on my phone. But again, Im not doing illegal stuff so no one is watching me anyway.

No more cell phone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42338783)

No wireless phone.
Of any kind back to a wire.
You want it from me you have to put in the work.

Perhaps the Amish are right you want to talk to me come on over.

Been really think of dropping all the wires to my house all of them bar none.

After seeing Jessy Ventura show the government was doing mind control the other day on TV I am more than just a little bit afraid of them.
Perhaps a move to Greenland or something. The Philippines a place to poor to give a shit what you do. I really enjoy places without hefty sin taxes the way we have.

Can I have my pager back? (1)

detritus. (46421) | about a year and a half ago | (#42338785)

I miss the days of having a pager. I'll turn on my cell phone if I want to make my location known to call a person back.

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