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Cellphone Surveillance along the Border (and elsewhere)
Old 11-07-2017, 08:56 AM   #1
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Cellphone Surveillance along the Border (and elsewhere)

I didn't know about this. I'm glad I use wifi calling at the house since I don't have a landline. I just don't like the idea of calls to my financial institutions being monitored (among other things) in a general dragnet.
https://www.texasobserver.org/texas-...-surveillance/

Apparently though it's not just here: law enforcement in 24 states have this kind of cell phone surveillance equipment.
Quote:
But the Texas National Guard is a military force under the governor’s command, not law enforcement. It’s unclear under what legal authorities the State Guard would be operating to conduct electronic eavesdropping. In 2015, the Justice Department issued guidelines for federal law enforcement agencies requiring that a probable cause warrant be obtained from a judge before using such technology. The Texas National Guard refused to explain to the Observer what steps, if any, it takes to secure a warrant prior to deploying the devices, or where the dirt boxes are being used.

Democratic state Representative César Blanco, a former Navy intelligence analyst who is the vice chairman of the Texas House committee that oversees the Texas National Guard, told the Observer that he wasn’t aware of the purchases, which haven’t previously been made public.

Blanco said the purchases concern him and he wants the Legislature to develop a committee modeled after the House and Senate intelligence committees in Congress, which oversee the sprawling federal intelligence bureaucracies like the FBI, CIA and NSA.

“There are really big privacy and constitutional due-process concerns with the use of this technology,” Blanco said. “If it’s useful to authorities, then I completely understand that. … [But] if the Texas National Guard want to get into the business of surveillance and utilizing intelligence and classifying intelligence, there’s got to be an oversight body that responds to the citizens of Texas.”

Because law enforcement agencies often sign nondisclosure agreements with companies such as DRT or Harris Corp., it’s difficult to determine how widely the surveillance equipment is used. The ACLU has identified 24 states, including Texas, where cell-site simulators are used by law enforcement.
I just wanted to alert folks if they are unaware of this.
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Old 11-07-2017, 09:13 AM   #2
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If you think that ANY of your communications aren't subject to monitoring (cell, landline, wi-fi) without your consent...then well...uh, yeah.
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Old 11-07-2017, 09:26 AM   #3
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AFAIK the privacy of only plain-old telephone service landlines is protected by law.
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Old 11-07-2017, 09:26 AM   #4
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Various governments around the world do this as a matter of routine, they suck in all signals they can and then try to distill them down to the ones they want using vast computer arrays.

This has been going on since WWII in North America as my DD did this during WWII.
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Old 11-07-2017, 09:28 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ExFlyBoy5 View Post
If you think that ANY of your communications aren't subject to monitoring (cell, landline, wi-fi) without your consent...then well...uh, yeah.
Warrants are required to monitor content on communications. Just because it's being abused doesn't mean we forfeit our rights.
I just love how all this technology is developed for overseas use then next thing you know US law enforcement is getting it to use on US citizens and in some cases signing non-disclosures with the companies that make it so that even judges aren't informed about the use of it during court cases.
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Old 11-07-2017, 09:29 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrayHare View Post
AFAIK the privacy of only plain-old telephone service landlines is protected by law.
So is cellphone conversation content.
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Old 11-07-2017, 09:32 AM   #7
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So is cellphone conversation content.
My understanding per the FCC is anything over the air is fair game for listening in.
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Old 11-07-2017, 09:43 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by GrayHare View Post
My understanding per the FCC is anything over the air is fair game for listening in.
I don't believe that's true. Warrants are still required to tap into cellphone conversations.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/03/politi...-rules/?iid=EL

Quote:
According to Justice Department guidelines issued in 2015, law enforcement is allowed to use the technology with a probable cause Title III warrant which deals specifically with electronic surveillance. But as a military force, the Texas National Guard may not have the legal authority to use the DRTs. The Guard refused to tell the Observer whether it has obtained any warrants for using the devices, or where they have been deployed.
https://www.rt.com/usa/408968-texas-...rtbox-devices/

These new DRT boxes can allocation someone to listen in and record content, something the old Stingrays couldn't do.
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Old 11-07-2017, 09:52 AM   #9
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The ability of police to locate the likely source of a cell phone signal can be a lifesaver. Doesn't bother me in the least.
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Old 11-07-2017, 09:57 AM   #10
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Interestingly enough, one of the most legally protected forms of communication is the USPS. Lots of laws guarantee privacy except when a warrant is issued, and protect us from fraudsters who use the mail system. That's why crooks will often FedEx you a prospectus for Venezuelan Beaver Cheese Futures rather than mail them to you.

Cell phone service, both voice and text, is notoriously insecure. That's why nd factor authentication (2FA) using text messages is not as safe as it sounds. (Though it is certainly better than no 2FA.)
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Old 11-07-2017, 10:13 AM   #11
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The ability of police to locate the likely source of a cell phone signal can be a lifesaver. Doesn't bother me in the least.
You realize we're talking about content now, right? Not just location.
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Old 11-07-2017, 01:19 PM   #12
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Quote:
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That's why crooks will often FedEx you a prospectus for Venezuelan Beaver Cheese Futures rather than mail them to you.
"No, not a scrap." Henry Wensleydale

OTOH, we regularly see the Fed monoplane fly a hours long racetrack over the town vacuuming up the cellular data for who knows what investigation (they've admitted so much). At night, the county sheriff flies a King Air 350 with an IR imager looking for the indoor marijuana grows. You get used to the drone.

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Old 11-07-2017, 01:29 PM   #13
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Much ado about nothing. The Texas National Guard was probably just the funding mechanism for the equipment but it is being used by a law enforcement agency (DEA etc) in a joint operation of some sort. (My guess) The problem is the Sgt. Schultz method of responding to media inquiries used by the Texas National Guard. This just leads to wild speculation that the equipment is not being used legally by the operators of the equipment.

There are state and federal (Title III) laws in place that regulate the use of this type of equipment. The administrative and then judicial review process for the use of this equipment is extensive especially when requesting to monitor voice content.

The use of these devices is target specific not the other way around. So law enforcement will be authorized by the court to capture the data and/or voice info from specific target (crooks) phones.
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Old 11-07-2017, 02:16 PM   #14
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Cell and Landlines both are protected on the content side. Can't find the data, but I remember that warrants granted are up around a hundred fold since the CALEA Act was signed in the 80s while the number of lines subject to each warrant has gone up at least ten fold.
The location data is much lower. I don't believe warrants are required.
I'll reserve my feelings on this to try to keep Porky at bay.
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Old 11-07-2017, 02:39 PM   #15
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I believe a bit of caution is always useful when communicating over any kind of public utility.
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Cellphone Surveillance along the Border (and elsewhere)
Old 11-07-2017, 02:42 PM   #16
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Cellphone Surveillance along the Border (and elsewhere)

Quote:
Originally Posted by GravitySucks View Post
Cell and Landlines both are protected on the content side. Can't find the data, but I remember that warrants granted are up around a hundred fold since the CALEA Act was signed in the 80s while the number of lines subject to each warrant has gone up at least ten fold.
The location data is much lower. I don't believe warrants are required.
I'll reserve my feelings on this to try to keep Porky at bay.

I think data (ie Pen registers, Call Data Records, Dialed Number Records) including location data require a court order (lower standard) vs a search warrant but things might have changed over the past few years. I know some jurisdictions are requiring search warrants to be on the safe side instead of court orders.
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Old 11-07-2017, 02:51 PM   #17
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I believe a bit of caution is always useful when communicating over any kind of public utility.

Attachment 27142


I sell the ground straps for that hat.
Useless without the ground strap.
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Old 11-07-2017, 03:21 PM   #18
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I sell the ground straps for that hat.
Useless without the ground strap.
Worth every penny, I'm sure.
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Old 11-07-2017, 03:24 PM   #19
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Worth every penny, I'm sure.


Indeed!
And I've sold so many I have enough money to now be eccentric instead of the former crazy!
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Old 11-07-2017, 04:09 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fidler4 View Post
Much ado about nothing. The Texas National Guard was probably just the funding mechanism for the equipment but it is being used by a law enforcement agency (DEA etc) in a joint operation of some sort. (My guess) The problem is the Sgt. Schultz method of responding to media inquiries used by the Texas National Guard. This just leads to wild speculation that the equipment is not being used legally by the operators of the equipment.

There are state and federal (Title III) laws in place that regulate the use of this type of equipment. The administrative and then judicial review process for the use of this equipment is extensive especially when requesting to monitor voice content.

The use of these devices is target specific not the other way around. So law enforcement will be authorized by the court to capture the data and/or voice info from specific target (crooks) phones.
Thanks for the informed speculation on this. I disagree with the "much ado about nothing" comment, but it does make sense that this is really the Federal DEA using the Texas National Guard to monitor the drug guys, and legally they must only target suspected crooks under warrant.

Without oversight, however, it is still worrisome. A lot of this stuff is hidden from the public, especially due to non-disclosure agreements with the equipment manufacturers.
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