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December 8, 2013, 4:43 pm
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Cellphone data spying: It's not just the NSA
John Kelly, USATODAY 7:48 a.m. EST December 8, 2013
At least 25 police departments own a Stingray, a suitcase-size device
that costs as much as $400,000 and acts as a fake cell tower. The
system, typically installed in a vehicle so it can be moved into any
neighborhood, tricks all nearby phones into connecting to it and feeding
data to police. In some states, the devices are available to any local
police department via state surveillance units. The federal government
funds most of the purchases, via anti-terror grants.
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I read that today. Hailstorm does seem to be pretty secret. Ars Technica
did a nice survey of cell hacking tools a few months ago.
If the device transmits, it should have a FCC product ID. The only
passive detection scheme is the Silent Ping. They use the scheme in
Germany, but it would work on any GSM phone with SMS. Possibly CDMA as
well. The entity doing the tracking sends SMS messages to the target of
a particular nature that does not actually show up as a message on the
phone. The communications cases the phone to talk to the tower, and thus
you have something to radio direction find. You can arrange to have your
carrier block SMS.
All these other devices should have a FCC product ID since they
transmit. But the government DOES have stinkin' badges, so I guess they
get an exemption.
Cell tower spoofing apparently isn't all that difficult thanks to those
picocells. While the kind they put in a convention center costs bucks,
some cellular providers sell femtocells for home use. They have been
The GSM system can be hacked in a similar manner.
Somewhere in the discussion you need to differentiate between location
data and actually hacking the phone. Location data has many vectors.
Actually hacking the phone remotely is harder for amateurs since there
is crypto. But 3G crypto has been hacked. Probably 4G as well since 4G
in the US is just fancy 3G. LTE is probably another story. I would
assume the feds have access to whatever crypto is used in LTE.
If you use an iphone or Android phone, you are really screwed since it
has been demonstrated that apps can be removed remotely. Perhaps not
true on Cyanogenmod Android phones. There is no evidence this can be
done on a blackberry OS, either 10 or the old generation.
When you read in the press that the NSA hacked Chancellor Merkle's
phone, it was her Android phone that is provided by her political party.
Just like in the US, German politicians can't use government equipment
for political purposes. Merkle's government phone is a Blackberry Z10
with a special crypto chip where the SDHC card normally goes.
Obama's Blackberry looks like an old Bold, i.e. the 9000 series. Of
course, there are not a lot of photographs with him using his
Blackberry, so they might have upgraded him.
Obama's ipad is apparently very hacked, as in cameras removed. Nobody
really knows. There is a company in Virgina that mods ipads for
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What does that matter? Are our Constitutional rights are no longer valid
because the Constitution is over 200 years old?
Unreasonable search and seizure, warrantless searches.
If it was permanent there would be no need to continue the searches.
Seriously, do you really contend that the safety is not temporary?
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And I didn't say it was, yet what he said is still relevant.
Limited or not, they are still a violation of rights. Eventually they won't
be so limited as long as we tolerate them. But if we have nothing to hide,
why would we mind them violating our rights, correct?
So you condone unconstitutional searches as long as it "keeps us safe"?
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Yes. Now we have border patrol checkpoints up to 100 miles away from the
border. People traveling are being stopped and questioned. "Are you a
citizen" they ask. The courts have ruled that these checkpoints are legal
but also have ruled that we cannot be made to answer their questions. If
you don't answer, they try to move you to another area ("Secondary") so your
vehicle can be searched. You also do not have to comply with that but they
will make things difficult for you.
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Even better, even if you aren't doing anything wrong and aren't found to
have done anything wrong, your car and cash may well be forfeit just for
That seems rather essential to me. But that's just me.
If you've had half as much fun reading this as I've had writing it,
I've had twice as much fun as you.
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Well that depends. Given that Americans right to travel has been so
infringed upon as to require permission from the gov't to simply fly, it
can be argued that leaving the country is not quite so simple as it used
to be either.
It is still possible to drive, but that limits your options
considerably, so leaving the country is not always an option.
I'm a tagline virus, please copy me to your signature file
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Interestingly, this isn't the case. Despite what you may hear,
statistically we live in one of the safest times in modern history.
But people don't give up their rights when they feel safe, and making
people feel safe doesn't get viewers.
I understand what all the individual words mean despite the misspellings;
I just don't understand what they mean in that particular order.
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On 12/10/2013 6:12 AM, PAS wrote:
George Bush was a governor of a state where the Lt. Governor has more
power. Do yourself a favor and read the Texas constitution. Texas is a
state that favors local control. Bush had no experience in government.
If Gore was president, truly incompetent people would not be put in
positions of power. Donald Rumsfeld, Condi Rice, etc. Especially Douglas
Regarding Gore selling his vote, it sounds like Fox News/Hanity/Limbaugh
bullshit. But I will bite. Who exactly did he try to sell his vote to,
what day, and at what price? Be specific.
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I'm fairly well-versed in the power that a governer in Texas has, thank you.
That has nothing to do with how Al Gore would have performed as president
and I'm sure many might feel the same way. Do you think that Al Gore's
experience as a Senator qualifies him to be president any more than Goerge
Bush's experience did?
Here you go, you can choose whether to believe it or not:
"Gore's Gulf War Vote Hinged on Key TV Slot" by Senator Alan Simpson
Al Gore's new campaign ad is running across the country now and says he is
"fighting for us." But the true story of his Gulf War vote in January 1991
says he is usually fighting for Al. Here is the inside story of what
The Gulf War vote was pretty serious business. I can't think of anyone who
didn't have a lump in his or her throat while weighing the situation:
500,000 Americans troops already deployed; Saddam Hussein promising the
"mother of all battles"; most "experts" predicting heavy American losses.
The choice was not an easy one. Senators with combat experience on both
sides of the aisle were on both sides of the issue. Some Democrats openly
supported the measure; some Republicans openly opposed it. And vice versa.
The seriousness of the situation called for open, honest debate. No
deal-making. No cajoling. No politics. Just an honest discussion, followed
by an honest vote of conscience by each senator. As Republican whip, I
worked with the Republican leader, Bob Dole, and the Democratic leaders,
George Mitchell and Sam Nunn, to schedule the debate. As Republicans, Bob
and I were responsible for scheduling time to speak for senators who
supported the war. As Democrats, George and Sam were responsible for
scheduling time to speak for those who opposed the war.
The night before this monumental debate, I sat in the Republican cloakroom
with Sen. Dole. The mood was somber. The tension was palpable. We were on
the verge of sending troops to war. Our national credibility was on the
line. Would America stand up to tyranny and aggression in the Middle East?
This was not some issue to be taken lightly.
As Bob and I discussed the debate schedule for the next day, a senator
walked into our cloakroom and asked to speak to us. The senator's appearance
and request surprised Bob and me. It surprised us because the senator was a
Democrat, coming to ask for a favor.
Who was that man? It was Tennessee Senator Al Gore, Jr. Senator Gore got
right to the point: "How much time will you give me if I support the
President?" In layman's terms, Gore was asking how much debate time we would
be willing to give him to speak on the floor if he voted with us. "How much
time will the Democrats give you?" Senator Dole asked in response.
"Seven minutes," was the droning response. I'll give you 15 minutes,"
Senator Dole said. "And I'll give you five of mine, so you can have 20
minutes," I offered.
Gore seemed pleased, but made no final commitment, promising only to think
it over. Senator Gore played hard to get. He had received his time. But now
he wanted prime time. And Senator Dole and I knew it.
After Senator Gore left, Senator Dole asked Howard Greene, the Republican
Senate secretary, to call Gore's office and promise that he would try to
schedule Gore's 20 minutes during prime time, thus ensuring plenty of
coverage in the news cycle. Later that night, Senator Gore called Greene and
asked if Senator Dole had scheduled him for a prime-time speaking slot.
When Greene said nothing had been finalized yet, Gore erupted, "Damnit,
Howard! If I don't get 20 minutes tomorrow I'm going to vote the other way."
The following day, Gore arrived on the Senate floor with, I always thought,
two speeches in hand. Gore was still waiting to see which side, Republicans
or Democrats, would offer him the most and the best speaking time.
Senator Dole immediately asked the Senate to increase the amount of speaking
time for both sides. I believe only then, after Gore realized we were asking
for more time to make room for him on our side, that he finally decided to
support the resolution authorizing the use of force to drive Saddam Hussein
out of Kuwait.
It brings me no joy to recount the events leading up to the Gulf War vote.
It isn't something I wanted to do. But it is something I have to do. I was
there. I have to set the record straight because the Gore campaign is now
running an ad proclaiming that Gore "broke with his own party to support the
Gulf War." In reality, It's much closer to the truth to say he broke for the
cameras to support the Gulf War.
And I have to set the record straight because the Gulf war vote was far too
important an issue to fall victim to politics and repulsive revisionism.
It was a moment of challenge, and sadly, Al Gore was not up to it. As a
member of the United States Senate for 18 years, I saw many senators show
their stuff when times got tough. And, sadly, I saw some who failed to rise
to the occasion. In January, 1991, Al Gore put politics over principle.
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