As a telecom guy, I can tell you that they ALL do this. But it's not as nefarious as you think. That's just how network planning is done, and it's not just done that way by greedy corporates, but that's how university researchers would suggest networks be built.
Network capacity is always designed based on expected average use. It is not built to handle the peak load of each user using their full individual capacity. This is just like roads planning, hallway planning in buildings, seating planning in theaters, etc.
To build based on peak load would waste resources, and the price of the service would normally go up as a result.
Now, that said, it is a marketing choice of the ISPs if they claim you can get 50mbps, when they always oversubscribe the networks. However, you'll probably find an asterisk with an "up to" and a "Best effort" disclaimer.
PS. to the guy getting slow Internet, you should consider buying a DOCSIS 3 modem online, and installing it yourself. Two reasons: if you currently have a DOCSIS 2 modem, you *may* get better performance from the more recent technology, EVEN if your provider uses DOCSIS 2. Second, most of us pay a $7/mo lease for our cable modem, where if you buy it once for $90, you can save money.
Clapper = hypocrite. Does Clapper and the CIA not *constantly* put our agents at risk, by merely deploying them or assigning them missions abroad? Covert missions are dangerous, no? But I suppose they justify THAT risk because they think the risk is worth the benefit. That is reasonable.
So how is it any different that Snowden might put some agents at risk, while the benefit is the defense of our rights, the constitution, and the 4th Amendment?
Interestingly, so far, it's pretty clear to me that Snowden HAS benefited me, as a citizen. I'm not so sure that's true for Clapper. Gov't repeatedly fails to provide evidence that their surveillance has provided results.
Snowden Clapper Has put agents at risk ? Y Defends citizens/rights Y N Self-Righteous Y Y Pants on fire ? Y
The score favors team Snowden.
*as a side note, I proposed, for argument's sake, that Snowden DID put agents at risk, but I am not convinced that this is even true. Yet it is certain that the CIA puts the CIA agents at risk.
You do great work in fighting for our freedoms, of late, specifically the 4th.
However, every time anyone uses some reductive lingo like: "surprising no one" "in a move we all expected" "Duh" "obviously"
...it actually changes the tone of the discussion from one of discuss to one of inevitability. People are already far too apathetic, and a sense of futility just feeds that apathy. We should use language more like:
"constitutional shocker" "What's next?" "Now this is awful" "confirming your worse fears"
Now, I KNOW YOU are disgusted, and that you believe you can play a role in change. So be sure to use language that shows it.
Thank you, Edward Snowden. For resetting the game board:
"When do present-day circumstances--the evolutions in the Government's surveillance capabilities, citizens' phone habits, and the relationship between the NSA and telecom companies--become so thoroughly unlike those considered by the Supreme Court thirty-four years ago that a precedent like Smith simply does not apply? The answer, unfortunately for the Government, is now."
"the Supreme Court decided Clapper just months before the June 2013 news reports revealed the existence and scope of certain NSA surveillance activities. Thus, whereas the plaintiffs in Clapper could only speculate as to whether they would be surveilled at all, plaintiffs in this case can point to strong evidence that, as Verizon customers, their telephony metadata has been collected for the last seven years (and stored for the last five) and will continue to be collected barring judicial or legislative intervention"
BTW, there is no "triangulation", neither for phones or for towers.
- phones usually use a combo of nearest tower, nearest wifi, and GPS. Occasionally, they use TDOA (time difference of arrival) which measures signal delay between three or more towers to estimate location. This is not "angulation". It could be called trilateration, but really it's TDOA.
- the apps do not triangulate towers. They use a database of known tower locations. AFAIK, apps do not have the authority on the phone to use the phone's radio baseband to suss out the nearest towers (although the phone does this). This tech may have evolved, so if you could cite an example of the app you're talking about, I'd love to examine it.
Good luck on that. Wireless telecom is entering an era of "het nets" or heterogeneous networks. The modern network is no longer big towers with wide ranges, but is made up of concentric circles, sectors, micro cells, femtocells, DAS, Wi-fi offload, and more. The public's ability to keep up with every LEGIT cell tower's location is fading.
Then, there are LEGIT temporary cells, called COWs, or Cells on Wheels, which the carriers move around for special events, etc. Stingray's would look a lot like these.
It will be a non-trivial matter to identify the Stingrays among all that heterogeneity. Or, to put it in radio terms, you're gonna have a hard time separating the signal from the noise.
And even then, what if you figure out that the new tower you suspected is not a Stingray...well, you're still susceptible to a tower dump. So, you won't be able to conclude that you are being "bugged", nor that you are not being bugged.
So, because of some bad laws, and even worse Law Enforcement practices, we are cornered between two evil forces: The criminals and the crimes they commit, and the justice system and the crimes it commits.
We're just collateral damage in the crossfire.
There will always be at least one crazy douche that commits a terrible crime, and so the system will always have their justification to erode our 4th rights. The cops say what the politicians say: never let a good crisis go to waste.
As a cellular industry consultant and long-time geek, I've had two personal cell phones since 1999. One was a US phone with an account at a US carrier, and the other was always a "world phone" with multiple bands, and bought full price and unlocked, which I used as a travelling phone.
Whenever I went abroad, most countries would sell a SIM card in the airport, or on the main street shops, I'd just pop it into my phone, and in most cases, incoming calls were then free (to me). This was way better than the $4/min AT&T was offering.
I spend years doing this with great ease. Most developing countries had low fees for the SIM, and the EU was easy, but Japan and Korea were tougher because of technology differences. But through the period of 2002 through 2009, the world pretty much closed down for SIM card business.
Most countries now require a very large amount of personal data on a person for them to get a SIM card or cellphone. You need to provide passport numbers, local Citizen IDs (Spain), an official home address in the country (France). India, after the Mumbai bombings, required photocopies of the passport, an address (hotel), some forms completed. Bear in mind, this is all at some tin box roadside vendor. He collects the paperwork, sends it by bike to the town's main telco branch. The telco processes it. In my case, some small error on a form meant that my SIM card was cancelled 2 days after I paid for it, and in the middle of my trip. Fun.
So, globally, now it's pretty hard to just pick up a local SIM. They want to know exactly who you are. That applies whether you're a terrorist, a holidaymaker, or a business shmoe.
Bear in mind, same thing has happened in hotels. Used to be you could travel anonymously, but now a passport is somehow a required document for a hotel room in many countries.
Not false. An active GSM radio must maintain a line of communications with the nearest towers, or if out of range, try to contact a tower. This activity is largely listening to control information from the BTS (tower), but some confirmation replies are also required.
While I agree that this kind of standby power use is much lower than active transmissions of data, over couple of days, even when the phone is not actively used, the "Control channel" traffic will cause some notable battery loss. When powered off, this should not occur.
Lovers of open systems are still free to get on board with other totally open, Linux based mobile OSes, like Moblin. Except of course, that they all suck. And always have. But still, you're free to go there if that's what you truly want.
But it turns out that developers, handset vendors, and customers all prefer the structure that can be provided by a strong hand on the rudder. Android not completely open, but it's not closed either. Yet it benefits greatly from the strong guidance provided by Google - an SDK, a roadmap, an app marketplace, etc.
Google also has two versions, more or less. The more proprietary version they offer to their handset partners, and Android Open Source Project (ASOP) version. BTW, note that the handset partners have a lot of leeway in altering Android, adding credence to the "openness" of it.
But if you want even more open than Android, I have a long list of mobile OSes that were mostly open. They all failed compared to their more structured counterparts. -java (I worked on this here in 1997-99) -Symbian went open in its dying throes -Moblin -Tizen -MeeGo -Mer -Jolla -Ubuntu Mobile
Notice any big successes in that list? Me neither. It seems the one consistent defining characteristic of a fully open mobile platform is: terrible market adoption. So while a small cadre of true linux geeks continue to moan and try to reveal the "secret" that Android "isn't really open", the majority of us already know, and we don't care.