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Australian Police Use Telcos For Cell "Tower Dump" of All Connected Users' Data

timothy posted about a month and a half ago | from the banning-opaque-envelopes-too dept.

Australia 60

AHuxley (892839) writes The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that Australian federal and state police are using a no warrant cell phone tower metadata access technique called a "tower dump". A "tower dump" provides the identity, activity and location of all cell phones that connect a cellphone tower(s) over time (an hour or two). The metadata from thousands of phones and numbers connected are then sorted. Australian law-enforcement agencies made 330,000 requests for metadata in 2012-13. AHuxley links to some U.S. views on the same kind of massive data grab: The Wall Street Journal says they caputure innocent users' data; the Chicago Police Department is being sued for information on its purchases of equipment associated with this kind of slurping; and the EFF asks whether warrant protection for users' data will be extended by voice-comm companies as it has been for ISPs. I wonder what people would think of an occasional "postal zone dump" employing the same kind of dragnet but for communications on paper.

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And Chicago is relevant to Australia? (0, Troll)

plover (150551) | about a month and a half ago | (#47406433)

C'mon, guys, when they aren't even on the same continent, you ought to realize they have their own laws. I know you think American law applies everywhere, but maybe you should try to find some more relevant perspective.

Re:And Chicago is relevant to Australia? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47406529)

Only an idiot would think the distance makes the news irrelevant. Oh wait, did I call you an idiot. Yes, I did. I guess my threshold for bullshit is getting shorter these days.

If you think having a supranational "Five Eyes" is healthy for your society, you are not just a mere idiot (look for the etymology of the word), you are fucking retarded.

Re:And Chicago is relevant to Australia? (1)

phmadore (1391487) | about a month and a half ago | (#47407661)

I wish I had not commented solely so I could burn a mod point to put this back up to the 5 points it deserves.

Re:And Chicago is relevant to Australia? (1)

plover (150551) | about a month and a half ago | (#47408711)

TFA tries to compare the legal aspects of one country's police using a legitimate cell tower's data (a "tower dump") with a court request for a copy of the purchase order of a surreptitious TriggerFish by a police force located in a different country. Different countries, different laws, different technologic approach to collecting the data, different accusations. The primary thing they share in common seems to be the outrage they spark.

Re:And Chicago is relevant to Australia? (1)

Sabriel (134364) | about a month and a half ago | (#47420259)

As an Australian, I point out (a) the lack of oversight in both situations, (b) the lack of checks and balances in both situations, (c) the lack of transparency in both situations, and (d) that the phrase "51st state" [wikipedia.org] is not a compliment over here.

NSW Police, Victoria Police and the Australian Federal Police all declined to comment.

“It’s another example where [agencies] are collecting the entire haystack in order to find the needle,” Senator Ludlam said in an interview with Fairfax. “What we've seen with other techniques like this is there is no requirement to destroy the material that is collected incidentally after an investigation is complete,” Senator Ludlam said.

The primary thing in common isn't just the outrage they spark, it's the exact same reason it's sparked: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (who will guard the guards themselves).

Re:And Chicago is relevant to Australia? (1)

morgauxo (974071) | about a month and a half ago | (#47408463)

We hear the claims all the time about other nation's governments copying the bad policies of the US. Do you really think that the US equivalents aren't reading this and getting ideas? That is assuming they aren't doing the same already.

The world is global now. We should be concerned any time this kind of stuff happens in any country because it will spread into our own.

HR Haldeman (2)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a month and a half ago | (#47406449)

Once the toothpaste is out of the tube, it's hard to get it back in.

It's too easy for governments now.

Thus far, all that's come of the wave of revalations from Snowden et al is government's growing willingness to gather our private data in plain sight. With apparent impunity.

Re:HR Haldeman (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47406647)

Thus far, all that's come of the wave of revalations from Snowden et al is government's growing willingness to gather our private data in plain sight. With apparent impunity.

Not quite. The first wave of response was "Teh USA is evals!" from one loud and irritating group. This lead to the response of "yes, these actions were illegal and those involved should be prosecuted, but be careful who you idolize." At which point the people with the calm response were insulted and downmodded for not hating the USA more than every other country on earth. Now news organizations are finally bothering to look at those "bastions of personal freedom" that are every non-USA country and discover that not only are the same privacy intrusions happening, they are being done with complete oversight and approval at all layers of the government.

For anyone uncertain why Chicago is mentioned in this summary, it is to point out that what the Australian government approves of is an unlawful method of acquiring information in the USA.

Re:HR Haldeman (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47406867)

you know, there are words there, and they are strung together in an appropriate fashion, and yet, they STILL don't make any sense, and i SERIOUSLY can't tell if you are merely one of the cynics who have given up, OR, you are actually providing some weak-tea defense of NSA-style surveillance because 'everyone is doing it' bullshit...
first, NOT 'everyone' is doing it, period; and DEFINITELY not 'everyone' has the RESOURCES and MUSCLE to do it to the extent unka sam is doing...

JUST LIKE saying: oh, well, drones aren't really *that* bad, 'cause, like, my neighbor has a mini-quad copter with a video camera, so that is JUST LIKE unka sam orbiting your house 24/7/365 with a death-dealing drone...

unless, your word salad was even more unintelligible than i thought...

Re:HR Haldeman (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47407743)

you know, there are words there, and they are strung together in an appropriate fashion, and yet, they STILL don't make any sense, and i SERIOUSLY can't tell if you are merely one of the cynics who have given up, OR, you are actually providing some weak-tea defense of NSA-style surveillance because 'everyone is doing it' bullshit...
first, NOT 'everyone' is doing it, period; and DEFINITELY not 'everyone' has the RESOURCES and MUSCLE to do it to the extent unka sam is doing...

JUST LIKE saying: oh, well, drones aren't really *that* bad, 'cause, like, my neighbor has a mini-quad copter with a video camera, so that is JUST LIKE unka sam orbiting your house 24/7/365 with a death-dealing drone...

unless, your word salad was even more unintelligible than i thought...

That AC is just another shill sitting in some CIA/NSA office, doing his day job posting PsyOp comments social networks and forums.

They've became much more obvious these days, simply because no one in their right mind can come up with these kind of bullshit defenses.

Re:HR Haldeman (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47407769)

you know, there are words there, and they are strung together in an appropriate fashion, and yet, they STILL don't make any sense, and i SERIOUSLY can't tell if you are merely one of the cynics who have given up, OR, you are actually providing some weak-tea defense of NSA-style surveillance because 'everyone is doing it' bullshit...
first, NOT 'everyone' is doing it, period; and DEFINITELY not 'everyone' has the RESOURCES and MUSCLE to do it to the extent unka sam is doing...

JUST LIKE saying: oh, well, drones aren't really *that* bad, 'cause, like, my neighbor has a mini-quad copter with a video camera, so that is JUST LIKE unka sam orbiting your house 24/7/365 with a death-dealing drone...

unless, your word salad was even more unintelligible than i thought...

That AC is just another shill sitting in some windowless CIA/NSA office, doing his day job posting PsyOp comments social networks and forums.

They've became much more obvious these days, simply because no one in their right mind can come up with these kind of bullshit defenses.

Re:HR Haldeman (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47407777)

That AC is just another shill sitting in some CIA/NSA office, doing his day job posting PsyOp comments social networks and forums.

They've became much more obvious these days, simply because no one in their right mind can come up with these kind of bullshit defenses.

Warrant protection? (1)

buckfeta2014 (3700011) | about a month and a half ago | (#47406461)

" and the EFF asks whether warrant protection for users' data will be extended by voice-comm companies as it has been for ISPs." Uhh, ISP's do not have such a protection. The NSA scrapes every bit of information passing through ISP's facilities. AT+T, Verizon, anyone?

Chasing Organised Crime (2)

rtb61 (674572) | about a month and a half ago | (#47406473)

Apparently those involved in organised crime are using the cheapest possible pre-payphones and sim cards swapping from one to another throughout the day. So police are looking for the odd phone out, coming from locations where tracked suspect persons are. So tracking all calls and eliminating the non-suspect ones to leave the ones they are looking for. So tracking the criminal activity associated with pre-pay phones and sim cards is a little more tricky than the movies make out.

Re:Chasing Organised Crime (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a month and a half ago | (#47407099)

Apparently those involved in organised crime are using the cheapest possible pre-payphones and sim cards swapping from one to another throughout the day. So police are looking for the odd phone out, coming from locations where tracked suspect persons are. So tracking all calls and eliminating the non-suspect ones to leave the ones they are looking for. So tracking the criminal activity associated with pre-pay phones and sim cards is a little more tricky than the movies make out.

Thats not relevant. If criminals figured out how to smuggle drugs deep inside a thier brain stems, that wouldn't give the government the excuse to put up road blocks and perform brain surgery on everyone that happened by.

Re:Chasing Organised Crime (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a month and a half ago | (#47411571)

By now the ones not under constant watch or in prison would have worked out to meet face to face without any electronic devices around.

Re:Chasing Organised Crime (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about a month and a half ago | (#47412301)

Not really, greedy and stupid go hand in hand. So they use the laziest easiest methods to lie, cheat and steal. The only skill they really make use of is the complete and total absence of conscience, although that is not really a skill more a birth defect of bad genes, very bad genes. Add in some IQ and the stop using phones but then they are far more destructive and become politicians and corporate executives.

postal zone dump (1)

naris (830549) | about a month and a half ago | (#47406509)

I wonder if anyone would notice a postal zone dump, would it even be relevant anymore? It would probably only turn up pizza ads....

What's wrong with so called postal zone dump (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47406525)

Wouldn't the analogous "postal zone dump" from the summary be a collection of all the stuff you see on the envelopes, from a post office, for a few hours? I'm not seeing the problem.

So I guess I'm confused, was he thinking LEO don't do that already, or that it's wrong somehow. I'm not seeing how that's wrong. In fact that's making me think collecting that data from a tower is more alright. Why carry a powered radio in your pocket if any of this concerns you? Likewise, if someone reading the stuff off your envelope bothers you, don't send mail.

This is sounding more like information security policy and less like a privacy problem.

Re: What's wrong with so called postal zone dump (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47406549)

Because I should be able to choose to carry a powered radio around that the government is not allowed to randomly spy on for whatever today's made up scary threat is. It's called freedom, and we need a lot more restrictions on law enforcement and a lot fewer on actual regular people.

Re:What's wrong with so called postal zone dump (4, Informative)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about a month and a half ago | (#47406559)

They actually already do "postal zone dumps" in the United States, in that the front of every single piece of mail sent through the Post Office is imaged and put in a database for law enforcement. They've been doing it for some time.

Re:What's wrong with so called postal zone dump (1)

azav (469988) | about a month and a half ago | (#47406665)

Nice to know, but this equates to a sender and receiver scan. If all data is harvested from the cell calls, then that is similar to scanning the letter inside as well.

What exactly is within the metadata of the Aussie call information would be interesting to know.

Re:What's wrong with so called postal zone dump (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a month and a half ago | (#47407583)

Metadata in phone calls includes caller, receiver, date, time, tower, panel number, etc, but not the conversation.

Re:What's wrong with so called postal zone dump (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a month and a half ago | (#47411583)

Every digital layer a call makes without the voice part. Who you called, who called you, unique phone and network details. Dump form enough towers and you get locations over time.

Re:What's wrong with so called postal zone dump (1)

Isao (153092) | about a month and a half ago | (#47407363)

They actually already do "postal zone dumps" in the United States, in that the front of every single piece of mail sent through the Post Office is imaged and put in a database for law enforcement. They've been doing it for some time.

I had no idea this [wikipedia.org] was being done.

Postal Dump (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47406527)

The US Postal Service already does this...how do you think they get your letter to where you want? The "Meta Data" in this instance for a letter would look something like...I don't know. The front of your envelope. In other words, not "protected" information. And think...they'll be able to know your name...your address...who your correspondence is with, where they live (or at least where you hope to get them a letter) and how much you paid in postage!

Meta-data is not secret, not private, not protected. If govt organizations can "get it" so do all of the corporations you already despise dealing with. (looking at you Verizon and AT&T) What makes them any more trust worthy? Sure they need it to connect you and make your call, but they certainly store that information as well, to what end?

Re:Postal Dump (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47407899)

Meta-data is not secret, not private, not protected. If govt organizations can "get it" so do all of the corporations you already despise dealing with. (looking at you Verizon and AT&T) What makes them any more trust worthy? Sure they need it to connect you and make your call, but they certainly store that information as well, to what end?

AT&T and VZW are not law enforcement agencies. Not only are they incapable of throwing me in jail, it is not in their best interests to see their customers thrown in jail.

If you want to use the phone company's metadata to market your new pizza business, pay them money and they'll display a banner ad to all customers who called a pizza delivery company at least four times last month, and who haven't opted out of CPNI (Customer Proprietary Network Information) [wikipedia.org] "sharing".

If you want to access the phone company's metadata to throw someone in jail, get a fucking warrant.

Re:Postal Dump (1)

niftymitch (1625721) | about a month and a half ago | (#47408967)

The US Postal Service already does this... ...snip...

Meta-data is not secret, not private, not protected. .....snip...

False military meta-data is classified secret or higher.
Its classification is a study in why meta data is interesting
and I suspect shows why it is both an invasion of privacy and a powerful tool.

The document that contains the COLLECTED set of meta data that
maps units, individuals, locations and postal delivery information is classified.

Anyone with family in the service knows that they can sent to
PFC Joe Soldier APO/FPO/DPO and it gets delivered.

See: https://www.usps.com/ship/apo-... [usps.com]
Also see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M... [wikipedia.org]
And see: http://www.dtic.mil/whs/direct... [dtic.mil]

The classified document is classified not because of the the individual line entry
it is "the collection of meta data entries" that gets stamped. Apparently some of
the locations of some of the units are classified a little or a lot. Layers of routing contain layers
of security management for each of the associated documents.

Unlike SMTP mail there are no progress stamps.... for good reasons.

The analysis of the security risks associated with these documents predates
modern large data analysis tools. And may need to be reconsidered in light
of modern statistical analysis. i.e. Local agencies that have the tools to collect
meta data could use that equipment under the guise of training to spy on family
of active duty service and pose a national security risk. This risk IMO is inherent
in both phone and other digital connection data.

To speculate further is foolish for me....

Tower "Dumps" does not contain location! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47406535)

This is a real misconception. Phones do not broadcast their exact location to the towers in any wireless technology (although it is talked about making this easier in 5G). There are billions being spent by networks on geolocation algorithms (tools for optimization engineers) and right now you have no way of getting a better approximation than maybe half a mile square without using other sources of data.

What you can say about a user from call traces
1) a call is being made
2) who is making the call
3) the control signalling (handover requests, nieghbour cell measurments etc) to maintain the call

That's about it.

Sorry for pointing out what might be a detail (it's still an intrusive act), but this is slashdot after all.

Re:Tower "Dumps" does not contain location! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47406587)

Except where the towers have antenna pointing in different directions. Tower A see your in one direction B in another, add in tower C and its trivial to find you. Where do you see a mobile phone tower with only 1 antenna?

Re:Tower "Dumps" does not contain location! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47406653)

It's not trivial. If you know how to do it, please patent it, form a company quickly and do it - you'll be a multi-millionaire in a couple of months. There are legions of math PhDs trying to come up with a solution.

Triangulation as you suggest only if you have constant measurements being made on your neighbours cells. They are not constantly being made, I assure you of this.

Re:Tower "Dumps" does not contain location! (2)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about a month and a half ago | (#47406853)

It's not trivial. If you know how to do it, please patent it, form a company quickly and do it - you'll be a multi-millionaire in a couple of months. There are legions of math PhDs trying to come up with a solution.

Triangulation as you suggest only if you have constant measurements being made on your neighbours cells. They are not constantly being made, I assure you of this.

You are very wrong.

Coarse-grained "GPS" done to 1000-meter accuracy using 3 cell phone towers is a process known as "trilateration". It is extremely common. Some Sprint phones, in fact used it even though they were built on chipsets containing true (satellite) GPS, because the GPS chips pulled too much power. GPS could not be switched on on those phones even by custom apps. Only the 911 call mechanism could use it.

Re: Tower "Dumps" does not contain location! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47406917)

Did you not read his previous comment where he said "the closest you'll get is about half a mile square"?

He's not saying you can't get a coarse location, he's saying you can't get a precise location.

Re: Tower "Dumps" does not contain location! (1)

sjames (1099) | about a month and a half ago | (#47409601)

Then the subject shouldn't have claimed the dumps don't contain location. They do.

Re: Tower "Dumps" does not contain location! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47414879)

Nooooo!
They contain meta data that you can use to very coarsely guess where someone is. That is NOT location!!!!!! Location is a pair of lat/long coordinates.

Re:Tower "Dumps" does not contain location! (2)

TheP4st (1164315) | about a month and a half ago | (#47406677)

In 2012, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois ruled that an F.B.I. agent could not testify about the location of a defendant’s cell phone because the analyses did not rise to the level of trusted, replicable science.

she had a tumultuous, sometimes violent relationship with the victim, Jerri Williams. Cell records showed that at 10:27 on the morning of the murder, Roberts’s phone connected to a tower within 3.4 miles of Kelley Point Park, where Williams’s body was discovered. Her attorney felt that was enough to convict her.
But she was making that call while driving a red pickup truck more than eight miles away, as confirmed by a witness. The system had simply routed her call through the tower near the park. It also emerged that new DNA evidence placed another suspect, a man, at the crime scene. And another piece of evidence helped: moments earlier, Roberts had received another call that came through a different site. The two towers were 1.3 miles apart. She could not have traveled that distance in the forty seconds between the calls. And so her cell records, in a sense, helped to save her. Source: http://www.newyorker.com/onlin... [newyorker.com]

Re:Tower "Dumps" does not contain location! (1)

azav (469988) | about a month and a half ago | (#47406673)

No need to apologize, it's the exact data of what makes up this metadata that is interesting.

Re:Tower "Dumps" does not contain location! (2)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about a month and a half ago | (#47406855)

I think it's more a matter of that the phone was in a particular cell than that the call was made.

I would like to see cell-tracking technology whereby a phone never reports its ID when idle and pinging tower. I'd like to see the tower push three bloom filters on ping, one of all predicted to be in the cell, one of all predicted to be in the area (surrounding cells), and one of all in the system.

For a flat assumption of 10^12 phone numbers CC-AAA-RRR-XXXX including country codes, assume nearly 100% of all numbers are being dialed at the exact same time. You can gain a 1% probability of error on if a number is being dialed in about 116GB. In any situation of over 50% saturation, you'd invert: list what numbers aren't being dialed, hence the size of the worldwide packet is 58GB. That's the theoretical bound in an insane situation. (Besides, you can only dial half the phones in the world at once...)

In reality, we don't have 100 country codes, and not all countries have 10 digit phone numbers. In America, there are only really 800 possible area codes, 269 in service in the USA, and 26 in Canada. Not all areas saturate the exchange; most exchanges aren't saturated. The number of phone numbers world-wide isn't 142 times the size of the number of people.

So let's assume 10 billion numbers instead, not all of which are cell phones. You're looking at 580MB for the packet to express near 50% saturation of numbers being dialed *right now* for the whole world. That's much better.

Phones ring for approximately 10 seconds. They're answered or taken to voice mail by then. In addition, most phones aren't being dialed at any given time. If we assume 1 in 7000 cell phones is currently ringing, the worldwide packet is 174kB for a 1% margin of error.

So let's call the regional a 10 million phone coverage area, and the local a 1 million phone coverage area. Assuming 1 in 7000 phones is currently ringing, the packet sizes are 174kB worldwide, 178 bytes regional, and 17.8 bytes local, for a 1% margin of error. That is: you have a 1 in 100 chance of the phone deciding it's probably in the bloom filter when it's not. If we double the sizes here, then the false positive rate is 0.01%, or 1 in 10,000--almost never.

We can further reduce these by scaling them dynamically, and by delaying the ring if you're out of known area. I'll use the double-size numbers for a 0.01% false positive chance.

Let's say somebody calls your phone. The cell system predicts, based on prior data (i.e. you're usually in this city, your home address on file is here, whatever), that you're in the 1 million person coverage area contained by some cells. In Baltimore City, we have 660,000 people; 1 million coverage is bigger than my city. So the system adds you only to the 35.6 byte local dialing filter for a 1 second cycle.

If your phone fails to respond to the tower, the system leaves your number in the 36 byte local dialing filter. It begins including it in the regional dialing area. The regional dialing area excludes any phone dialed for less than 1 second, any phone found in a local dialing area, or any phone included in the local dialing area filter. More than 95% of phones should be excluded: there's better than a 95% chance that you're currently in your local area. The filter is about 89 bytes on average, assuming 1 in 7000 phones in the 5,000,000 phone region is ringing.

The worldwide filter is different. If in 1 more second you don't answer, the cell system adds you to the bloom list for the whole world. Assuming a 95% chance of someone being in the region if not in the local area, that's 95% of 5%, or 0.25%. Assuming 10 billion phones, the worldwide list of numbers currently being dialed is 9 bytes.

For a 1 in 10,000 false positive rate, you'd have to push 134 bytes of dialing filters. If you're outside of your normal region, there's a 2 second delay. We can further step this with a 100 million phone region to net whole countries in the last list, but we'd introduce a 3 second delay for people who are outside their country.

In this system, no phone would tell the tower its identity until it wanted service. Of course, most phones are sucking down data, so this is all pointless; but, if you shut data off and are on straight receiving calls, your phone doesn't actually tell the towers where you are--it doesn't identify itself. The towers say, "Here is a bloom filter of phone numbers. If your number hits the bloom filter, it's 99.99% likely you're being dialed right now." If you're in any of the three filters, you ping the tower and tell it you're ready to answer, and in this cell.

You're ready to receive calls, and yet the tower doesn't know where you are unless someone calls you.

Re:Tower "Dumps" does not contain location! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47407403)

Neat concept...but there's a problem here.

You're encouraging them to store even MORE historical location information in order to improve their predictive mechanisms.

I would vote that instead, we force them to dump information more frequently and retain it for shorter periods. Governments need to be reigned in so that they cannot collect information without warrants, and cannot retain collected information related to innocent people.

Furthermore, if you don't want to be tracked, turn off your damn phone and stop expecting people to call you - or don't carry one in the first place.

Re:Tower "Dumps" does not contain location! (1)

sjames (1099) | about a month and a half ago | (#47409783)

Much of that more information is stuff law enforcement will already know. They already know where you live and likely where you work. The prediction doesn't have to be terribly accurate.

For most people on a weekday, guessing home or work will be correct most of the time. Guessing within your home state will be correct almost all of the time.

Law enforcement already knows that so they're not giving anything away.

Re:Tower "Dumps" does not contain location! (1)

sjames (1099) | about a month and a half ago | (#47409585)

Tower dumps DO contain location, it's just not precision data. Sure, it can't decide if I was in my bedroom or the living room, but it can decide if I am at home (or visiting a neighbor) vs. at work, across town, in Hawaii, etc.

Why wonder? (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a month and a half ago | (#47406627)

I wonder what people would think of an occasional "postal zone dump" employing the same kind of dragnet but for communications on paper.

You don't have to wonder about this, because this is how it is now. The headers of all snailmail (the wrapper of the packet) are machine-logged. Those of us who are technically savvy always suspected this, since we found out that scanning is used for routing. Some of us, like myself, even mentioned the possibility to our postmasters and were told that they were simply throwing this data away after collecting it. But anyone who knows anything about anything knew that this was massively unlikely.

So, given that this is already happening for literally every piece of mail being sent, just like it happens to literally every piece of email which traverses a long-haul link, why do you wonder? That's how it is right now.

Re:Why wonder? (1)

number17 (952777) | about a month and a half ago | (#47407685)

And some people actually pay for tracking!

Typo (2)

azav (469988) | about a month and a half ago | (#47406633)

All Connected Users' Data

You need an apostrophe after the final s in Users to show that it is the data of more than one user.

This is fourth grade English. Come on. Proofread before posting.

Re:Typo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47407859)

Not GP here

When I graduated high school the local "Form and Format" suggested(required) leaving out plural-possesives and the Oxford Comma.

Re:Typo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47409697)

... but we're not talking about data in possession of the users. It's the data bout the users in possession of the towers.

Re:Typo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47414539)

Do you mean 'fourth-grade English'?

Cell Swapping Group? (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | about a month and a half ago | (#47406857)

I'm wondering about the idea of having a group of friends who swap their cell devices. You'd have to change a lot of your comm, but if you use the cellular system just for bandwidth, you don't really care about your cellular identity except for you phone number. If you can migrate your friends to contacting you via internet comm, you don't need to have the same cellular identity from one day to the next.

Toss in dynamic proxying through SSH, and you aren't exposing your comm fingerprint to your cell provider. Use OwnCloud to swap in your files and contacts (a bit of data overhead there, maybe keep most of your heavy content data on a separate device that tethers to whatever cell phone you happen to be carrying).

They'd still be able to analyze your tracking footprint to figure out who held which phone at which time, but it would make surveillance more expensive [schneier.com] .

Re:Cell Swapping Group? (1)

phmadore (1391487) | about a month and a half ago | (#47407621)

In Australia that might be the ticket, but here in the US they'll just find a useful program to cut. Last I knew the CIA had a legally undisclosed budgetary dispense [cia.gov] , and I wouldn't be at all surprised if NSA falls under the same category. If they don't find a useful program to cut, they'll force the companies to pay for it, who will pass the costs on to us or risk losing capital from shareholders.

When dealing with an enemy like a government, one cannot assume that its resources are necessarily limited within the scope of the conflict so long as one is within the jurisdiction of that government. And when dealing with any but a "rogue" state in 2014, one cannot assume that simply leaving a border will necessarily provide a buffer, as nice as that might be. I'm pretty sure Ed Snowden will eventually get sold for something more valuable to Putin than egg in Obama's face.

And it is no longer just the playground of conspiracy theorists and lunatic fringe anarchists like myself to be at odds with the government. Since they have decided to violate the very documents which they all swear to on more massive scales than any other hypocrite in the history of the continent, I believe that the government has made itself the enemy of the American people, who I would prefer to no longer associate myself with, but again, simply leaving America would not put me far enough away from her.

Ed Snowden will get sold soon enough... (1)

Zeorge (1954266) | about a month and a half ago | (#47407901)

After all, Obama imposed financial sanctions against Russian officials and Putin's inner circle, can't even use MasterCard or VISA. So, it's only a matter of time before the hard currency those guys have dries up or they get tired of money laundering. Probably won't be a direct trade, some political savvy will be applied to make it look like neither bowed to pressure, etc. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/... [bloomberg.com]

Re:Ed Snowden will get sold soon enough... (1)

phmadore (1391487) | about a month and a half ago | (#47408071)

Thank you for this link.

Re:Cell Swapping Group? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a month and a half ago | (#47411621)

Voice prints ;) and you get the inner circle of friends and family trusted to play phone games all day.
As far as crypto goes, a key logger or software layer to capture every keystroke would be easy to introduce to any consumer device pushed down the tame phone network.

WSJ (3, Funny)

phmadore (1391487) | about a month and a half ago | (#47407449)

The Wall Street Journal says they caputure innocent users' data

You know, I'm sure the WSJ did not fucking say that, because for all the money they make they at least spend some of it on a decent spell-check or even, gasp, a human editor. I mean holy motherfuck. Here I am combing the streets, looking for work. You're making hundreds, maybe thousands. maybe even tens of thousands of dollars per hour from the traffic on this site. You can't even spell capture? I mean, in google-chrome-stable it shows me even in this box right here when a word supposedly mis-spelled, though often it's just saying that it's not a word in the dictionary, such as motherfuck. Motherfucker, though, that passes.

And don't bother blaming the submitter since this part came after his quotation section. You fucking douche bags. Get it together. I don't care about beta; it's your site. But as a thinking person I'm offended that your hacker mentality has not permeated over into the literate part of your fucking brain: never stop improving, motherfucker. I wouldn't be half as good at writing code now if it weren't for the self-criticism and absolute discipline that my early days as a fiction writer instilled in me.

You fucking turd, seriously. When do we get to start rating the actual posts? Or is this whole feedback thing just a marketing technique for you, totally out of tune with Rob Malda's vision?

Re:WSJ (1)

phmadore (1391487) | about a month and a half ago | (#47407463)

when a word *is* misspelled -- guess I got a little emotional there.

Just say NO! (2)

ewieling (90662) | about a month and a half ago | (#47407835)

This sort of thing is why I seldom carry a cellphone anymore.

Re:Just say NO! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47409143)

Morty is that you? Call me, it's your mother.

Re:Just say NO! (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a month and a half ago | (#47411641)

Cant get the law reform to need a court document per interesting person? Then just stop using the phone as they are all been noted.

Postal Zone Dump? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47408327)

It wouldn't surprise me if the Australians already had something like the U.S. Mail Isolation Control and Tracking system. The U.S. postal service takes external images of every piece of paper mail sent through the U.S. postal service. Think of it like metadata for paper mail. An investigator just fills out a form and they can access scans, no warrant required.

JEWS... as usual... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47408409)

Gee... can't have those damn 'goyim' (cattle) talking to each other, without their Jewish 'masters' listening in! Oy vey... The poor Jews... I wonder why they don't want to live in Israel. Why are they in every white country on Earth? Why have they opened our borders, and forced us to watch as millions of third world parasites force their way into OUR lands?

I wonder what people would think of ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47413095)

"I wonder what people would think of an occasional "postal zone dump" employing the same kind of dragnet but for communications on paper?"

As in a dump of all the OCR data from the systems at the mail sorting centres? Some would assume that has been going on for as long as it has been possible to do it.

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