What’s Next For Privacy Rights In The Digital Tracking Age
Some commentators are confident that lower courts will rely on Carpenter to extend the probable cause warrant requirement to newer data searches that arguably infringe on greater privacy rights. Whereas historical and real-time CSLI searches are often particularized to an identified individual, reverse location searches may look at the whereabouts of hundreds or thousands of individualsmost of whom are not suspected of any wrongdoing. And some question the effectiveness of reverse location searches in generalarguing that such searches are highly prone to errors and shouldn’t be used at all.
This area of law is evolving. As courts and legislatures try to catch up to the technology, more cases and statutes will likely emerge. If you have questions regarding your privacy rights, contact a lawyer who specializes in civil rights or criminal defense.
Cellphone Key In Helping Westminster Police Locate Missing 11
The man arrested in connection with the disappearance of an 11-year-old girl who was the subject of an AMBER alert but was eventually found safe met her through Craigslist and told police she was portraying herself as an adult, according to an arrest affidavit from the Westminster Police Department .
> Content Warning: The subject matter in this story may be disturbing to anyone sensitive to stories pertaining to violence against children.
Michael Patrick Buckley, 30, was arrested Wednesday afternoon on a charge of sexual assault as a pattern of abuse.
The girl was reported missing on Tuesday after she left her Westminster house that afternoon, according to police. She told her mother she was going to Countryside Park and was reported missing when she failed to check in as required by her parents, according to police.
The next morning, a man who was having work done on his home said that around 3:15 p.m. on Nov. 16, a girl had approached one of the contractors and asked to use his cell phone, the affidavit says. The contractor allowed the girl to use his phone to call someone she described as her “boyfriend” the affidavit says.
The girl walked away and returned about 20 minutes later to use the man’s phone again, the affidavit says.
RELATED: Family releases statement after missing 11-year-old Westminster girl found safe
9NEWS is no longer naming the girl to protect her identity.
A New Lawsuit Could Shake Loose San Diego Info
Last month, the First Amendment Coalition a California nonprofit devoted to free speech and open government sued the San Diego Police Department and demanded more information about its use of cell phone surveillance technology.
The suit claims that SDPD has denied journalists requests for information about how it uses StingRay devices, and asks the court to compel the city and the police to disclose documents containing information about their possession and use of International Mobile Subscriber Identity Catchers.
Potentially, the lawsuit could turn up details about how the technology is assisting cops. According to Inewsource, the First Amendment Coalition learned that the Los Angeles Police Department used these devices 21 times in a four-month period in 2012 to aid in homicide, kidnapping, suicide, rape, human trafficking, robbery, fugitive and narcotic cases.
Court records indicate that no date has been set for legal proceedings in the lawsuit, which was filed on Dec. 15. The city of San Diego challenged the judge assigned to the case, Richard E. L. Strauss, and the Superior Court transferred the case to Judge Judith Hayes.
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What Can You Do
As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Follow these simple steps to keep your phone secure, your social media accounts safe, and your property out of reach from prying eyes, for the next time. In addition to these tips here, have a look at EFFs excellent guide for protesters it has great tips for how you can protect yourself next time you go out there!
Can Police Track Phone Calls
Most people have never heard of stingray technology, but that does not stop government and police agencies from using it to spy on citizens. Essentially what Stingray refers to is a secretive technology that mimics cellular towers to confuse mobile phones in proximity to the device. What happens is that the mobile phone is tricked to think the stingray device is a legitimate cell tower and therefore connects to the spy device. Once connected to the stingray, police can then track call history, identify who is calling into the mobile device, monitor conversation, pinpoint the location of an individual, and more. Stingray technology essentially takes domestic wiretapping to a whole new advanced and terrifying level of privacy invasion, and that is why everyone should hold some concern.
Two organizations, the ACLU and EFF, have moved forward with legal paperwork stating investigations using stingray technology were essentially illegal. The reason is that authorities using the stingray technology did so without first explaining in detail to the courts how they would use stingray devices. Both organizations feel that the government and police intentionally misled the oversight authority knowing that if the truth was revealed the courts may be apprehensive to greenlight any such activity.
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Can Police Tap Your Phone Without Your Knowledge
Can the police tap your phone or look at your text messages? If youre under investigation by law enforcement, do you still have a right to privacy? In some situations, legal trouble begins long before an accusation occurs. Law enforcement can begin an investigation on you without letting you know.
They have a legal right to watch what you do in public or in plain view in your business or home. But what some may not know is that police are allowed to access your private emails or phone conversations under certain conditions. Although you wont know exactly when the police have begun an investigation into these matters, knowing what they have a right to do can help.
What Do The Conditions Mean For Police
It means the police can and likely will search your cellphone if they believe searching its contents may be relevant to why you were arrested. It means they can search your cellphone, but they have to follow certain rules. If you were arrested, and your phone is unlocked or is not protected with a password, it would not be unreasonable for police to flip through the pictures or text messages inside if they believe doing so forms part of their investigation.
You cant really refuse a police search once you have been arrested without risking further charges, but what you can do is remain silent. So what if your phone was locked and police are demanding the password. If you choose to remain silent, what options do police have if they are committed to searching your phone?
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Is Police Tracking By Cell Phone Lawful
In an era of widespread cell phone use, law enforcement officials regularly follow individuals by tracking their cell phone signals. Is this an infringement upon individual privacy? Should people expect to be able to use their phone without giving any thought as to whether or not their signal would reveal their location and potentially incriminate them?
Those very questions were recently examined by the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. In United States vs. Melvin Skinner, the court held that an individual has no reasonable expectation of privacy in the data given off by his cell phone. Likening the situation to one in which police locate a defendant by more traditional means, the court found that there was no inherent constitutional difference between trailing a defendant physically and tracking him via cell phone technology.
The Skinner case, decided on August 14, 2012, involved an alleged drug dealer who argued that his rights had been violated when police tracked him via a pay-as-you-go cell phone. The court ruled that the monitoring of his car – in which he was carrying a large quantity of marijuana was no more of a comprehensively invasive search than if the car had instead been identified and then tracked visually, with the search being handed off from one local authority to another as the vehicle progressed.
How To Track A Stolen Phone Using Whatsapp
Of course, WhatsApp is a great way to share and track the physical location of friends and family. But that doesnt mean one can use it to track a stolen phone . Much like any other location-sharing app, WhatsApp needs you to explicitly share the location with someone you trust. You cant expect that from a thief for sure. WhatsApp itself suggests you lock your SIM card as soon as your phone is lost or stolen.
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Turn Off Your Device Location
GPS location is one of the primary means the police could use to track your current location. Its advisable always to turn it off whenever you are not making use of it. Apart from the law, an intruder or a hacker can quickly get rid of your phone when you turn on your device location unnecessarily.
Follow the steps below to turn off the location on your device.
How Your Family Can Track Your Location
Your phone is capable of determining its location and sharing it in the background, even if the screen is off. You dont need to have an app open.
You can see this yourself if you use a service like Apples Find My Friends, which is included on iPhones. Find My Friends can be used to share your precise real-time locations with family members or friends. After you give someone access, they can open the app, and Apples servers will ping your iPhone, get your location, and show it to them. Its a convenient way to see whether your partner is on the way home from work yet or find your friends in a crowd.
Android phones have something similar in a Google app called Trusted Contacts, and of course, there are many third-party apps that help you share your real-time locations with people.
Of course, this is only with your permission, but it just shows how pervasive this technology is. After all, its the same technology you can use to remotely track your lost iPhone or Android phone in case you lose it. But its accessible to any app that asks for access to your location in the background.
What You Can Do About It: Be careful about who you share your real-time location with.
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How Rogue Bounty Hunters Can Track Your Location
The latest controversy was touched off by Joseph Cox over at Motherboard, who gave a bounty hunter $300 and a phone number. That bounty hunter managed to find the precise, current location of the cellular phone associated with that phone number, down to a few hundred meters.
Wait, slow down: How?
Well, apparently AT& T, Sprint, and T-Mobile all sell dataincluding geographic locations associated with customer phone numbersto a variety of sketchy third-party companies. This data might be used by the bail bond industry to track people down, for example. But theres not much oversight, and rogue bounty hunters have access to the data. People are reselling to the wrong people, a source in the bail industry told Motherboard.
Heres the sad thing: This isnt even a new problem! The New York Times reported that this could happen back in May 2018. Cellular carriers promised to do better. For example, T-Mobile CEO John Legere promised to not sell customer location data to shady middleman in response to the New York Times Story back in June 2018
The good news is that AT& T, Sprint, and T-Mobile have all promised to stop selling this data to aggregators in response to Motherboards January 2019 story. And it seems like Verizon already stopped after the earlier New York Times story.
What You Can Do About It: Hope carriers stop selling your data to shady intermediaries this time, as promised.
What Does It Mean
Your digital belongings – phone, SIM, SD card data could have been copied and gone through.
Your phone may have been turned on, apps and browsers opened. The cops might have access to any accounts your phone was logged into, this means they may have read personal communication, noted your personal accounts including email addresses, social media account names to follow, sent messages or made posts using your log in.
The SIM card contains a lot of personally identifying information that ties the phone to its user. It can also contain contact lists as a series of pairs of name and phone number. This means that if your SIM card is searched, it’s possible that the police will now identify and target the people you have in your address book. Police track the location of individuals through the location of their mobile phone and SIM card, your unique phone and SIM combination may now be used to locate you.
The SD card contains photos and other media could contain chat logs, and other user-generated content. Not only can this data be used to build a profile on you, but can be used to map social connections between people you frequently communicate with, and they can unjustly become “persons of interest” to investigators. Such tactics can also be used, sometimes under the flimsiest of pretexts, to justify warrants for escalated surveillance on you in the near future.
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Tracking Lost Or Stolen Phone:
If the pointer of the device is still, it means that your device was left somewhere and it is still lying there.
However, if your phones pointer is moving, it means that your phone has been stolen. You should seek the help of the authorities and not go out alone to find it. It can be a risky misadventure.
Tracking A Cell Phone Location
Using Cellular Technology To Locate Criminals
For years, police departments and government agencies have called upon a vast array of technological gadgets and gizmos to uncover criminal activity. These items have included hidden cameras, wiretaps, GPS tracking systems, and more. However, some forms of surveillance technology have been met with a high level of criticism, and some applications have been so controversial that they had to be evaluated by the high courts. This was the case of police using tracker devices without warrants to track down where potential criminal suspects would travel in their personal automobiles. Although the proper protocol for police use of GPS monitoring systems is now in place, the law enforcement use of cellular towers to determine locational data of potential suspects is still a very large concern for privacy advocates, police departments, and attorneys everywhere.
Cell phones are incredible pieces of technology that allow people to place and receive phone calls, check emails, connect with friends through social networking, and more, but these devices are also data farms that even store information regards to locational data. Basically, this means cell phones are storing every place a person goes, how long they were at specific locations, and more. This is done through the use of the GPS monitoring chip manufactured in every mobile phone and cell tower.
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Warrantless Searches Mobile Phones
Society is more connected now than ever before, but does that mean police should be allowed access to historical locational data from cell phones to make arrests or build evidence?
Should legislators or courts mandate police enforcement acquire a warrant before accessing any locational data gathered from cell phones?
Do you have concerns about government agencies using stingray devices to acquire information from mobile phone systems or how they utilize tracking location by cell phone technology?
Whats The Cell In Cellphone
Mobile telephony is based on the idea of cells. As we move around we are connected to a nearby base station. The coverage of a base station is called a cell.
The size of a cell depends on many factors but its diameter ranges from a kilometre or less in densely populated areas up to about 30 kilometres in rural areas. Consequently, data on which base station we are connected to can provide information as to our location.
Most people do not appreciate just how chatty their mobile phone is. When a mobile phone is switched on, there is a constant dialogue between it and the network, even without a call being made.
In particular there is a constant exchange of data as to which cell the device is currently located in and which base station it should be connected to. If a signal becomes too weak because we have moved out of the cell, or if the current base station we are connected to becomes too congested the phone connection may be handed over to another base station.
All this happens without our intervention and without us making a call.
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