Obama Administration: Constitution Does Not Protect Cell-Site Records

March 19th, 2009

In my case, there’s no way the programs I want to talk to Congress about should be public ever, unless maybe in 200 years they want to declassify them. You should never learn about it; no one at the Times should ever learn about these things.

Russell Tice, Former NSA SIGINT Officer

All of these tidbits… It’s all the same operation. They have an unthinkable surveillance capability that includes all of your email, web, purchasing and telephone activity. And, if I’m right, they’re keeping track of where you are and where you’ve been.

AT&T Invents Programming Language for Mass Surveillance

Via: Wired:

The Obama administration says the Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures does not apply to cell-site information mobile phone carriers retain on their customers.

At issue is whether the government can require federal judges to order mobile phone companies to release historical cell-tower information of a phone number without probable cause — the standard required for a search warrant. While judges have varied on the issue, the resulting evidence can be used in a criminal prosecution.

Mobile phone providers keep such information for up to 18 months. Historical cell-site location information includes the tower connected at the beginning of a call and at the end of the call.

“Because wireless carriers regularly generate and retain the records at issue, and because these records provide only a very general indication of a user’s whereabouts at certain times in the past, the requested cell-site records do not implicate a Fourth Amendment privacy interest,” the Obama administration wrote Feb. 13 to the federal appeals court.

The court filing underscores that the Obama administration is continuing to maintain the Bush administration’s hard-line position when it comes to supporting warrantless surveillance.

The latest surveillance case is believed to be the only one of its kind to reach the federal appellate level, said Jennifer Granick, the civil liberties director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

“Almost everybody in the United States carries or will carry a cell phone,” she said. “This tracking ability is a means where the government can find out the location of pretty much everybody without much effort or expense.”

The EFF and the American Civil Liberties Union on Tuesday urged the federal appeals court to side against the Obama administration.

One Response to “Obama Administration: Constitution Does Not Protect Cell-Site Records”

  1. AHuxley Says:

    Thinks back to Adamo Bove and Costas Tsalikidis.
    Adamo Bove was the head of security at Telecom Italia and exposed the CIA (Abu Omar rendition in Italy traced after the fact with mobiles), SISMI ( ~ the Italian CIA) and his own bosses.
    He was found under a freeway overpass.
    Costas Tsalikidis was a 38-year-old software engineer for Vodaphone in Greece.
    He uncovered a highly sophisticated bug embedded in the mobile network. Spyware eavesdropped on the Greek prime Minister and other top officials’ cell phone calls; it even monitored the car phone of Greece’s secret service chief.
    His mother found him hanging outside of his apartment bathroom.

    From Enigma to CryptoAG to Soviets buying Western hardware to your phone and internet, if its connected, dont trust it just enjoy/use it.

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