EFF, ACLU Sue To Find Out Details Of Gov't Use Of Mobile Phone Data To Track People

from the it's-like-your-own-personal-beacon dept

Back in November, the news broke on the Friday after Thanksgiving that the federal government routinely asked for and received information from mobile phone operators about the location of various mobile phones (effectively tracking their owners) without bothering to show any sort of probable cause. This should raise plenty of concern (especially combined with the warrantless wiretapping program), as it effectively would mean that if you own a mobile phone, you've given the gov't the freedom to figure out where you are at any moment in time with no probable cause.

The EFF and the ACLU filed Freedom of Information Act requests to find out details of the program, which were (not surprisingly) denied by the Justice Department. The two organizations have now sued the government to find out more about these programs. Given the government's reaction to similar lawsuits on wiretapping, don't expect much info to come out of this lawsuit -- and do expect a vigorous attempt to get the case dismissed with various bogus claims of "state secrets" and "national security." It all comes down to the same basic thing, though. The government seems to think it's above the law.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    James, Jul 3rd, 2008 @ 7:08am


    ...its the shrub who thinks he's above the law.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    A Nony Mouse, Jul 3rd, 2008 @ 7:42am

    Re: Actually...

    Shrubs aren't above the law. Shrubs are above the dirt.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Mike Allen, Jul 3rd, 2008 @ 7:57am


    you cant impede a shrub but can impede a Bush.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    some old guy, Jul 3rd, 2008 @ 8:03am

    Re: Re: Actually...

    Shrubs aren't above the law. Shrubs are above the dirt.

    Only partially!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    DCX2, Jul 3rd, 2008 @ 8:37am

    Re: Actually...

    Chief Judge Vaughn Walker has something to say about that. Just happened today, too.


    Tod ay, Chief Judge Vaughn Walker of the Northern District of California, issued an opinion in Al Haramain v. Bush, one of the cases challenging the NSA warrantless wiretapping program. The Court found that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) preempted the state secret privilege.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Abdul, Jul 3rd, 2008 @ 8:56am

    With the increasing popularity of cellphone, it would not surprise me to se both government and private firms going after our mobile data.The more and more these phones get sophisticated, the more we are prone to these forms of monitoring. As this article pointed out, there are many miners out there for our data: Mining the Wisdom of Wireless Crowds(http://www.internetevolution.com/author.asp?section_id=526&doc_id=156444&F_src=flftwo )

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    aaron, Jul 3rd, 2008 @ 10:19am

    do as they please

    I would rather have a government that is proactive and hands free to protect itself and its people; then to have a reactive government with hands so tied with red tape that nothing ever gets done.

    Oh wait we already have that kind of government. That's why 9/11 happened, that's why katrina isn't fixed, that's why the midwest is still flooding.

    Government needs to have the ability to do what is required to solve (not patch up) a problem. But it can't, not when it has to pass 5 million peoples approval who think that they as an individual are so special that the situation demands their attention so that they can all be happy thus ruining the intention and purpose of anything the government tries to do.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    The Government, Jul 3rd, 2008 @ 10:45am

    Don't you understand?


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    me, Jul 3rd, 2008 @ 10:54am

    we need them to be on it


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    daretoeatapeach, Jul 3rd, 2008 @ 11:34am

    Re: do as they please

    Since when is getting a warrant "5 million peoples' approval"? Protection against unwarranted searches was one of the reasons we had the American revolution. Are you saying you are against the Fourth Amendment? If so, you should be lobbying to have the Constitution changed, not ignored. But as it stands, having millions of users private content redirected to a secret room in the NSA is a clear violation of the Constitution. But you're correct, we should just give away all our rights, burn the Constitution, and live in a police state. Only then will we really be safe (note sarcasm).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 3rd, 2008 @ 6:11pm

    aaron, really - wtf
    gotta be a troll

    Just turn the stupid thing off, you have the answering service

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Tony Wilson, Jul 4th, 2008 @ 7:05pm

    Re: do as they please

    So, you support the idea of a Government doing as it pleases to protect itself FROM IT'S OWN PEOPLE.

    IE, if the people don't like what the politicians are doing, well, just get rid of those people, right? I mean they have to protect themselves from those who would seek to remove their power or corruption.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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