Cell phone users ‘have no legitimate expectation of privacy’


#1

A federal judge recently ruled that if someone has their cell phone turned on, their location data does not deserve protection under the Fourth Amendment, meaning law enforcement can track individuals without a search warrant.

New York magistrate judge Gary Brown decided in favor of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents who were seeking his approval over a warrant on a doctor who they suspected was being paid for issuing thousands of prescriptions. The warrant would have compelled the physician’s phone company to provide real-time tracking data from his cell…
Cell phone users have no legitimate expectation of privacy judge RT USA
I’m starting to realize that the most disturbing thing about the phone tapping and the surveillance isn’t that the government is ***illegally ***spying on Americans, it’s that the government is ***legally ***spying on Americans. Nobody is going to be arrested, or fined, or prosecuted for any of this; as far as courts and lawmakers are concerned there is nothing wrong with it.


#2

Well, as loud as people yak away on their phones while pushing their grocery carts down the aisle or hunting the latest style of sandals at Macy’s, it doesn’t appear that too many DO expect, nor want, any sort of privacy.

And to think there was a time when people would be rightly admonished for attempting to eavesdrop.

Okay, okay, I get your drift, Clay. I’m just a little tired of trying to fight city hall today.
I just hope those defending the Patriot Act are just as cozy with it today as they were when it was being signed into law.


#3

[quote=“Robert_Clay, post:1, topic:39790”]
A federal judge recently ruled that if someone has their cell phone turned on, their location data does not deserve protection under the Fourth Amendment, meaning law enforcement can track individuals without a search warrant.

New York magistrate judge Gary Brown decided in favor of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents who were seeking his approval over a warrant on a doctor who they suspected was being paid for issuing thousands of prescriptions. The warrant would have compelled the physician’s phone company to provide real-time tracking data from his cell…
Cell phone users have no legitimate expectation of privacy judge RT USA
I’m starting to realize that the most disturbing thing about the phone tapping and the surveillance isn’t that the government is ***illegally ***spying on Americans, it’s that the government is ***legally ***spying on Americans. Nobody is going to be arrested, or fined, or prosecuted for any of this; as far as courts and lawmakers are concerned there is nothing wrong with it.
[/quote]If you stand in public, sending up microwaves, which are bouncing off satellites, it is difficult to claim an invasion of privacy. After all, you are public, and so is the signal you generate. Use 'em at your own risk. Tough issue. I do not own a cell phone, so I reserve judgement.


#4

The problem is that old laws and precedence is being applied to new technologies. The automation of surveillance has dramatically changed both the scale and nature of surveillance.

We need new laws for the new technologies. I would start with requiring data to be deleted after a certain time period with steep penalties for failure to delete the data. Also, there should be a “warm bodies” law that states that any law enforcement agency can only track as many people as they physically have officers on the streets. That prevents them from using automation to keep tabs on every citizen in their jurisdiction.


#5

Cell phone signals are encrypted. If they were not, then anyone with a ham radio could listen in on your calls like they did in the old days.

If I am sending an encrypted signal out, I most certainly do have an expectation of privacy.

Security & Encryption in GSM , GPRS & CDMA


#6

The ruling was scary:

“Given the ubiquity and celebrity of geolocation technologies, an individual has no legitimate expectation of privacy in the prospective of a cellular telephone where that individual has failed to protect his privacy by taking the simple expedient of powering it off,” Brown wrote.

“As to control by the user, all of the known tracking technologies may be defeated by merely turning off the phone. Indeed – excluding apathy or inattention – the only reason that users leave cell phones turned on is so that the device can be located to receive calls. Conversely, individuals who do not want to be disturbed by unwanted telephone calls at a particular time or place simply turn their phones off, knowing that they cannot be located.”

Long, long ago, in a galaxy far away, some very wise men wrote on a piece of paper it’s very purpose; and that was to protect individuals from government over-reach and intrusion by limiting their ability to do so.
Fast forward to 2013, (and not so recent as that), and we have judges claiming it is the individual’s responsibility to make sure they can’t break that law/trust.

How marvelous.

Scarier yet:

Congressional leaders are currently considering two laws that would address how freely police are able to bug citizens. During an April hearing on Capitol Hill one detective told Senators that warrantless geolocation tracking is “essential to obtain in the early stages of investigations when probable cause has not yet been established.”

If there’s anyone who doesn’t see a problem with that, I can get ahold of a few thousand copies of a document that I’m willing to give away for free.


#7

Privacy in public… I would say that until a null noise generator is deployed to deaden all sound within it’s field, to anyone outside of it’s sphere of influence is invented, then you have no legitimate claim to privacy on your cell phone.

IN your home, you do have a reasonable expectation of privacy.
In your car, the same.

Walking down the street, in a public eatery, at a bar, at a KKK meetup at the City Park, anywhere in public view or earshot, no… you are being silly to expect privacy.


#8

If someone is standing next to you and overhears your conversation, then no, you get no privacy protection. If someone taps into your cell signal, I believe you are entitled to privacy protection.

It is a leap to equivocate one to the other. They are very different animals.


#9

Anyone read the decision?

This seems to be the important part of it

The Supreme Court has held that “the Fourth Amendment does not prohibit the obtaining of information revealed to a third party and conveyed by him to Government authorities, even if the information is revealed on the assumption that it will be used only for a limited purpose and the confidence placed in the third party will not be betrayed.” United States v. Miller, 425 U.S. at 443.

In Smith v. Maryland, 442 U.S. at 743-4, the Supreme Court applied the principal that “a person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turns over to third parties” specifically in the context of telecommunications data.

The Smith Court held that a pen register – a device that records telephone numbers dialed by a subscriber – was not subject to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement, finding that “a pen register differs significantly from the listening device employed in Katz, for pen registers do not acquire the contents of communications.” Id. at 741. The Court thus drew on a critical distinction in the area of communications – the difference between content and non-content information

Cell phone customers similarly convey geolocation data to their telephone carriers, and cannot possibly labor under the belief that their location is somehow kept secret from telecommunication carriers and other third parties


#10

how I would love to see a law wit this exact wording.


#11

Funny thing is, it was by law (several years ago) that cellphones had to carry GPS…


#12

What exactly do you mean by that, the content of a cell phone conversation still requires a warrant


#13

It was a reply to Tiny1. In his post, it looked like he was saying that even the content was not protected.

While I understand that the call records are not considered protected, I think that needs to be examined closer. It is the equivalent of the government taking a photo copy of every piece of mail that you send and receive and tracking who gets what from whom. IMO, such data should have at the very least, an expiration date on it.

I know of a few VPN service providers that do not keep server logs. If there was a major cell provider that did the same with call records, I would bet they would get a lot of business.


#14

I agree with that although they will probably put a date that most people wont agree with anyways. I disagree about your warm body law though. That goes against the entire point of the data collection, to see patterns that arent possible with just human means.


#15

Then don’t make calls in public. You’ll have a real hard time proving an invasion of privacy, when the guy in front of you in line at Home Depot can hear you.


#16

If we want to go the calls no expectation of privacy angle, then even calls by cell phones and land lines are not private either.

What does this mean? With todays technologies, the government is able to track nearly everything you do. It’s pretty much impossible for anybody concerned with privacy to get off “The Grid” as it were. With new drone technologies such as Argus ARGUS drone spots you from 20,000 feet — with camera-phone sensors - NBC News.com then it is obvious to see the “Intent” of the warrant requirement in the home is not being carried over into new laws. Our founders with the tech they had wanted to limit the overreach of government into spying on it’s citizens. We’ve gone full circle and now tell the people that they have no right to privacy and the government can track, analyze, and datamine the hell out of them. The intent of what the founders wanted has obviously been shredded, and I suppose a lot of people are really proud of that fact because they get to pat me on my head and tell me it’s for my own good… OR TERRORISTS! Keep in mind, you are more likely to be struck by lightning or die to drowning in your bathtub.

How Scared of Terrorism Should You Be? - Reason.com

In 2010 (the latest report), 15 Americans were killed in terrorist attacks; nine died in 2009; 33 in 2008; 17 in 2007; 28 in 2006; and 56 in 2005. The vast majority of private U.S. citizens killed in terrorist attacks died in the war zone countries of Iraq and Afghanistan. So the sad tally of Americans killed by terrorists around the world since 2005 comes to a total of 158, yielding an annual rate 16 Americans killed by terrorists outside of the borders of the United States.

Taking these figures into account, a rough calculation suggests that in the last five years, your chances of being killed by a terrorist are about one in 20 million. This compares annual risk of dying in a car accident of 1 in 19,000; drowning in a bathtub at 1 in 800,000; dying in a building fire at 1 in 99,000; or being struck by lightning at 1 in 5,500,000. In other words, in the last five years you were four times more likely to be struck by lightning than killed by a terrorist.

But hey, it’s a small risk, so lets tell the government everything and hope this won’t be abused… because TERRORISTS!


#17

Well, to me, it’s about a call made in a public place. Like a person to person conversation in a public place. If you are in your home, you should have a reasonable expectation of privacy. At least that’s how I see it. If you are shouting across the street at Steve about Mary’s medical ailments, that’s in public and you shouldn’t be surprised when Mary gets mad.

If you are in your house and talking quietly, that’s different. The means of communication makes no difference to me.

It could be a hand delivered encoded note using Flash Gordon encoder rings, and I’d expect some privacy, as opposed to a text message displayed on a bill board where I wouldn’t.


#18

Once again, I’m going back to what the founders intended. Yes, if you start shouting out somebodies medical history then Mary will be mad at you. But back then, in order to track you the government had to send somebody to do it and tail you. These days, that isn’t the case anymore. The government can easily track every moment you make, your purchases, the people you call, the people you associate with, etc etc. A call you place while at home to the gynocologist? HEEEEY, fair game, right? Society today doesn’t function off the grid, it’s all on grid and the government tracks it all. And you HOPE that the people in power won’t abuse this. Ai Weiwei, and pretty big anti-communist Chinese type person, said what was on my own mind really well.

NSA surveillance: The US is behaving like China | Ai Weiwei | Comment is free | The Guardian

I lived in the United States for 12 years. This abuse of state power goes totally against my understanding of what it means to be a civilised society, and it will be shocking for me if American citizens allow this to continue. The US has a great tradition of individualism and privacy and has long been a centre for free thinking and creativity as a result.

In our experience in China, basically there is no privacy at all – that is why China is far behind the world in important respects: even though it has become so rich, it trails behind in terms of passion, imagination and creativity.

When human beings are scared and feel everything is exposed to the government, we will censor ourselves from free thinking. That’s dangerous for human development.

In the Soviet Union before, in China today, and even in the US, officials always think what they do is necessary, and firmly believe they do what is best for the state and the people. But the lesson that people should learn from history is the need to limit state power.

If a government is elected by the people, and is genuinely working for the people, they should not give in to these temptations.

Should we be so proud that the comparisons are being made to China and the Soviet Union, because we are indeed headed down that path, all in the name of our own protection? Do we really accept the government intruding in on our lives, building massively detailed profiles on each of us, and always hoping the next administration won’t further expand and abuse these powers? Power corrupts and we should all be mindful of this fact. This is what our founders were worried about, and yet here we are undoing their hard work. A real shame.


#19

If people in phone booths have an expectation of privacy that protects them from unwarranted wiretapping, then why not on my cell phone?


#20

…They still have phone booths?