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All I want is to be left alone in my average home... But why do I always feel I'm in the twilight zone?
October 9, 2011 6:55 PM   Subscribe

In August 2011, 35 ACLU affiliates filed 381 requests in 32 states with local law enforcement agencies seeking to uncover when, why and how they are using cell phone location data to track Americans. So how long do American cell phone carriers retain information about your calls, text messages, and data use? According to data gathered by the US Department of Justice, it can be as little as a few days or up to seven years, depending on your provider. (Via / More)
posted by zarq (27 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Not cell phone related, but I get subpoenas literally every day, sometimes 2 or 3 a day, asking for IP addresses for customers -- we keep DHCP records for a year.
posted by empath at 7:05 PM on October 9, 2011


Gee, how did I know AT&T was going to be the one who keeps them for seven years?
posted by entropicamericana at 7:06 PM on October 9, 2011 [9 favorites]


Not cell phone related, but I get subpoenas literally every day, sometimes 2 or 3 a day, asking for IP addresses for customers -- we keep DHCP records for a year.

Can you define "we"? I'm kinda interested in knowing what kind of work you do. Memail me if its private.
posted by hal_c_on at 7:09 PM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I get subpoenas literally every day

I hope those subpoenas are investigative rather than administrative. I had a long conversation with a local sheriff's office this week about how the administrative subpoena he was planning to send me wasn't constitutional and I wasn't going to respond to it because my ISP company was not a branch of government. He kept forcing "exigent circumstance" on the discussion and I told him that if getting a proper warrant took their enforcement division too long, then they needed to look into that rather than prying the arm of the legislature with "child protection" so they could water down the constitutional process with a "law" that wasn't constitutional.
posted by pashdown at 7:12 PM on October 9, 2011 [24 favorites]


Episode 60,003 in an ongoing series: God bless the ACLU.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 7:18 PM on October 9, 2011 [17 favorites]


I'll post some random privacy related stories :
Florida school district begins fingerprinting scanning students
FBI leaves cleared names on terrorist watch list

There should really be a front page post on facial recognition advancements too :
FBI to launch nationwide facial recognition service
Cloud-powered facial recognition is terrifying
Big brother calls 'shotgun' in Illinois
Army tracking plan: Drones that never forget a face (via the drone fpp)

DHS goes ahead with 'pre-crime' detection project
In all fairness, they've had considerable 'success' with their current 'pre-crime' project.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:51 PM on October 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


I hope those subpoenas are investigative rather than administrative.

I dunno, I'm not in legal, I just search the logs.

I'm kinda interested in knowing what kind of work you do.

I work for an ISP.
posted by empath at 8:18 PM on October 9, 2011


And just this evening, California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a bill, SB 914, that would have required a search warrant to search cell phones.
posted by gingerbeer at 8:20 PM on October 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


It might be worth mentioning, for the benefit of a few, that removing the battery from a phone ends the tracking. Installing an off-switch does it more conveniently. As does sticking the phone in a shielded container, or putting it where the Ma don't shine.

Then you can choose to play when you want to.
posted by Twang at 9:00 PM on October 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I lost a good friend this week. In his obit:

His wife, [name redacted], and daughters [names redacted] would appreciate contributions in his memory to Northern California ACLU.

How can I not?
posted by Danf at 9:14 PM on October 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


I work for an ISP.

Woman on Plane: Which ISP do you work for?

Narrator: A major one.
posted by grouse at 9:24 PM on October 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


It may also be interesting to hit Google News and search for "secret court order google sonic" for a new WSJ article.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:24 PM on October 9, 2011


Narrator: A major one.

There aren't a lot left that aren't major ones.
posted by empath at 9:25 PM on October 9, 2011


Sorry, "secret orders target email" will get you right to the WSJ article past the paywall.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:30 PM on October 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


In the European Union, this nonsense is official policy. All member states are required to issue a law placing telecommunication providers under the obligation to store data including the location of a cell phone for ½ to 2 years. By now, most EU members have implemented such laws, except for Sweden (whose government opposes it, perhaps because of the influence of the Piratpartiet) and the Czech Republic and Germany (where national courts have declared the proposed laws unconstitutional). At least in German-speaking Europe, data retention has been a mainstream news issue for years.

> Gee, how did I know AT&T was going to be the one who keeps them for seven years?

That’s because they are the Britta of companies.
posted by wachhundfisch at 12:42 AM on October 10, 2011


except for Sweden (whose government opposes it, perhaps because of the influence of the Piratpartiet)

...or a small, well-educated population. Perhaps one begets the other.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:39 AM on October 10, 2011


Meanwhile: The U.S. government obtained secret court orders to force Google Inc and a small Internet provider to hand over information from email accounts of a WikiLeaks volunteer, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.
posted by adamvasco at 5:16 AM on October 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


From Jeffburdges' first link:
Students now check in with finger scanning devices.

School Superintendent Sandra Cook said the old method just wasn't cutting it.

"We got to talking about attendance in our district and how it was inconsistent
The old method that worked ever since public schooling began just isn't cutting it so they are going to spend $30.00 per student, per year to scan their fingerprints on the bus. Oh and not all the students take the bus and the scan can be fooled with a gummi bear impression. How incompetent are their teachers that they can't do a simple head count?
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:42 AM on October 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm afraid you've missed the point that this finger scanning permits school districts to further optimize their expenses by hiring less competent teachers, Secret Life of Gravy. Imagine how much tax revenue could be redirected to critical administrative functions if teachers aren't expected to be any more competent than Walmart employees!
posted by jeffburdges at 7:56 AM on October 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


One would think that for paranoid national security, cell phone batteries would be better engineered not to die when I'm out and about. How are they going to track me wh
posted by fuq at 8:20 AM on October 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Will the credit card company be able to see that, yes, I did travel to Japan for 3 months and then upstate NY for 2 months, and not turn off my card every week or so for suspected fraud? Ok, great.
posted by ctmf at 10:15 AM on October 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Gee, how did I know AT&T was going to be the one who keeps them for seven years?

Consumers who'd like to avoid any Imperial entanglements might not want to go with the company that uses the Death Star as its corporate logo. I'm just saying.

What I find interesting is the fact that, if you are a criminal defendant, most large telecoms will claim that "no such records were found" or will fight tooth and claw to avoid disclosure if you ever need such records for your defense. That pretty clearly says that they're more interested in protecting government power than about anything else.
posted by Hylas at 1:50 PM on October 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


That pretty clearly says that they're more interested in protecting government power than about anything else.

Not really. It's more that the government can make life very difficult for them in ways that you can't, and you just don't spend enough money to make it worth their time.
posted by empath at 3:14 PM on October 10, 2011 [1 favorite]




Jerry Brown vetoed that?

I'm sorry. Who holds what threat over Jerry Brown, to get that? It seems seriously out of character to me. Or was the whole "Moonbeam" thing so much clever PR crap by his own team?
posted by Goofyy at 10:15 AM on October 11, 2011


I'm sorry. Who holds what threat over Jerry Brown, to get that? It seems seriously out of character to me. Or was the whole "Moonbeam" thing so much clever PR crap by his own team?

It probably has more to do with his being the former AG and the powerful pro-law-enforcement lobby that values a powerless and docile citizenry over any policy consideration that might undercut that. His veto statement [pdf] claims courts are better suited to evaluated "complex" and "case-specific" issues. That's true to a certain extent, but it misses the point--the Legislature is well placed to make general policy statements concerning whether police should get warrants before they disturb the persons or papers (electronic or otherwise) of citizens.

It also ignores how easy it is for police to obtain a warrant telephonically, even outside normal business hours.
posted by Hylas at 11:58 AM on October 11, 2011




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