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back to article US cops blew more than $26m buying 1.1m cell phone files from telcos

An investigation by Senator Edward Markey (D-MA) into the monitoring of cellphones has found that US police paid telecommunications companies more than $26m to hand over location information, metadata, and sometimes the content of their customers' messages to cops in the US last year. Senator Markey sent letters to the major US …

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We need a 4th amendment for the 21st century

Really? The one for the C18 seems perfectly clear

"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."

Anywhere in that it says; unless the records are digital, in which case help yourself ?

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Re: We need a 4th amendment for the 21st century

Unfortunately the Constitution was never designed or meant to provide definitions/interpretations of its clauses. Defining the details has always been the role of the Supreme Court, federal attorneys and state leaders.

A decent analogue is that the Constitution is the foundation on which everything else is built, like a house. But just like a good foundation for a house can't stop you from from building a dangerous, ramshackle building on top of it, the Constitution can't stop legislators from building dangerous, ramshackle laws on top of it.

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Re: We need a 4th amendment for the 21st century

"Constitution can't stop legislators from building dangerous, ramshackle laws on top of it."

Thankfully such laws usually collapse under their own weight (sooner or later).

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Unhappy

"If you are not the customer, then you are the product"

In the telco business, you can be the customer, the product, the suspected terrorist, and the accidental by-catch -- all at once.

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Anyone interested in how Lawful Interception of mobile phone data works can read the ETSI standards. In principle, this is little different from your bank (or any other business that you may have dealings with) releasing details of your account history to the police, subject to relevant legal authority. It was an extension of the (national) rules governing the release of landline records and interception of phone calls, dating back decades.

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Stop

No, the principal is absolutely not the same. The legislation already in existence allowed the intercept of phone and banking information when someone was already suspected of committing a specific crime. The 'extension' you're talking about allows law enforcement to intercept your data if they think you might have committed an unspecified crime or might be at risk of committing a crime. The burden of proof is much lower and the duration and scope of the intercept can be extended indefinitely.

Before you were a suspect in a specific crime. Now you are a suspect, they just don't know if there has been a crime. The technical aspects are of the same principal, but not the legislation. Not basically the same at all.

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"Before you were a suspect in a specific crime. Now you are a suspect, they just don't know if there has been a crime. "

The term you're looking for is "fishing expedition"

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I hope they saw my Mineswepper score, I am very proud of it and I have no one to share that happiness :D

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Unhappy

Something tells me that charging them for the data is the *only* way to stop fishing trips

That's the only that seems to work.

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Re: Something tells me that charging them for the data is the *only* way to stop fishing trips

If it was their money - yes

Since any extra cost is just more budget that the taxpayer is spending on the war on everything - no

Do you want to be the chief of police who spent less on chasing terrorists than the next city?

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Alien

From the inside ---

in my previous incarnation working with police I've requested data from these carriers before, when there was no other way to get location information for callers talking suicide, callers unable to speak due to the stroke they just had, etc. Not everything is nefarious. Of course, not everything is innocent either, though I didn't see that. I do remember having to justify everything to the telcos - perhaps they are the real rulers of the world. Real rulers or not, they seriously need to upgrade their record keeping. They required us to fill out forms for every request, signed and of course noting the reason & particulars, except they never seemed to actually ask for them....they would pile up and eventually be taken away by our telco liaison...never any feedback on whether they were completed thoroughly enough, or whether any were missing...I would not call them gatekeepers at all. Each telco had their own precious form of course.

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Re: From the inside ---

The main reason for those forms is to discourage access requests and ensure telco arses are fully covered.

Seriously.

It means that stuff couldn't be called up "at whim" in an era when most of the pen records were on paper and only held in accessible electronic form for a few days because being committed to archive tapes.

There's a lot to argue for going back to requiring all that paperwork before getting access.

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