Here we go again. The Department of Justice has been using a legally questionable program to target criminal suspect’s cell phone data. The program involves flying small Cessna planes equipped with a device known as a “dirtbox” which mimics cell towers in order to trick cellphones into giving out their registration information. Like the now notorious NSA programs exposed by Edward Snowden, the dirtbox program scoops up large amounts of data from entirely innocent people in order to look for those suspected of wrongdoing.
|By: DSWright Friday November 14, 2014 7:01 am|
|By: Peter Van Buren Thursday October 23, 2014 11:30 am|
The Bill of Rights was designed to protect the People from their government. That’s quite literally becoming history today as new challenges, now from local law enforcement, chip away at the Fourth Amendment’s protections of privacy. New laws and devices spread spying on Americans to the local level.
|By: Kevin Gosztola Thursday October 2, 2014 3:15 pm|
A federal appeals court ruled that law enforcement does not need to get a warrant in order to legally use evidence obtained from surveillance in a criminal case. The court also effectively endorsed consultation among officials in the executive branch instead of going to a judge for a warrant as “good faith” conduct.
In 2010, FBI agents attached a GPS tracking device to the car of Harry Katzin in order to track his movements because they suspected he was involved in the robberies of multiple Rite-Aid pharmacies.
|By: Kevin Gosztola Monday September 29, 2014 1:45 pm|
The American Civil Liberties Union posted a trove of documents obtained in their Freedom of Information Act lawsuit for information about an executive order President Ronald Reagan signed, which gives the government broad authority to engage in surveillance of international communications, including the communications of numerous Americans. One key “exemption” gives intelligence agencies the ability to get around regulations intended to protect privacy.
Executive Order 12333 “governs” most of what the National Security Agency does, when it comes to collection of information on “Americans’ cellphone and Internet usage.”
|By: msmolly Sunday September 21, 2014 6:55 pm|
On Monday I came across a post at Techdirt about the reaction to Apple putting a U2 album in iCloud users’ storage space. The post described how after a backlash, Apple created a bit of code that would allow iPhone users to delete the unwanted freebie.
A bit of background: On September 9th, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that the mega-band U2 decided to release its latest album free on iTunes…
|By: Kevin Gosztola Wednesday September 17, 2014 10:11 am|
The American Civil Liberties Union has accused the manufacturer of StingRay surveillance products of providing inaccurate information and possibly even lying to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which is the agency that is supposed to regulate communications over cable, radio, satellite, television and wire.
|By: DSWright Tuesday September 16, 2014 10:07 am|
Forget fingerprints, now your face is on file and captured every where you go. The FBI has announced that its facial recognition system – launched three years ago – is now “fully operational.” The facial recognition program is part of the Next Generation Identification (NGI) System which is set to replace the FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS). Though it is not really an either or with fingerprints and face recognition as the new system seeks to collect many forms of biometric data.
|By: Kevin Gosztola Monday September 15, 2014 11:07 am|
A federal appeals court issued a decision suppressing evidence found by a Naval Criminal Investigative Service special agent and used to prosecute a civilian for child pornography. The NCIS special agent had conducted dragnet surveillance of all civilians in an entire state. The “extraordinary nature of the surveillance” demonstrated “a need to deter future violations” of the Posse Comitatus Act and send a message to the government that military personnel are not permitted to enforce civilian laws.
|By: Kevin Gosztola Saturday September 6, 2014 2:10 pm|
The Justice Department released two memos on the authorization of warrantless wiretapping, as part of the top secret program, Stellar Wind. The memos were created during President George W. Bush’s administration and contain the “legal justification” for electronic surveillance without a warrant. However, one of the me was previously provided with significant redactions to the ACLU in March 2011. It remains heavily censored.
The memo was written by former Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) head and lawyer, Jack Goldsmith, and is dated May 6, 2004.
As ACLU staff attorney Patrick Toomey told The Washington Post, “What these memos show is that nearly three years after President Bush authorized the warrantless wiretapping of Americans’ emails and phone calls, government lawyers were still struggling to put the program on sound legal footing.”
|By: DSWright Thursday August 14, 2014 1:05 pm|
John Schindler announced that his relationship with the Naval War College has ended after he was caught in a sexting scandal. Schindler emerged from relative obscurity to become a prominent critic of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Glenn Greenwald.
As a former NSA analyst and professor at the Naval War College, Schindler was often quoted by journalists looking to put a face on the clandestine agency that maintains strict controls on communication with the media. Much to the delight of NSA critics, Schindler was happy to oblige media cravings for someone affiliated with the NSA to speak about the agency, even if unofficially.