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More bad news from the Government.
March 29, 2013 11:51 AM   Subscribe

You know, Stingrays killed the Crocodile Hunter... During the case of United States v. Rigmaiden it was revealed that the DOJ had been using Stingray cell phone trackers concealed in other warrants/without explicit warrants.

The Stingray devices impersonate a tower, allowing the user to perform a MITM attack on cell phone users. The extra-scary part is that the Stingray devices do not discriminate, so far as anyone can tell, between a particular phone and any phone that attaches to it, changing a targetted hunt to a grand sweeping dragnet.
posted by Samizdata (41 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
And every American let out a sound of mildly annoyed non-surprise.

Of course, at this point finding out that the government spied on us using illegal means is pretty much a daily occurance, so maybe it won't even register for some people.
posted by IAmUnaware at 12:00 PM on March 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


The links for "it was revealed" and "Stingray cell phone trackers" to go the same place.
posted by rtha at 12:02 PM on March 29, 2013


It's baffling that this is happening in the home of:

*shotgun* "Git of mah land!!"

Isn't it? ISN'T it?
posted by humboldt32 at 12:06 PM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you are concerned about people randomly stealing your conversations, you have plenty to lose sleep over. As described by Slate,"DIY Stingrays can be built by anyone with $1,500 to burn and a bit of hacker savvy"
posted by Going To Maine at 12:12 PM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, back in the 90s Tsutomou Shimomura was able to track Kevin Mitnick using home built radio receivers to triangulate his cell signal. Technology has changed a lot since then, cell phones are much more widespread, and Shimomura had a lot more expertise than even most hackers, but he was able to track the guy down using stuff he built himself.

Once the FBI showed up they of course had much better technology. Something called Triggerfish, that operated as a base station.

The technology here isn't very interesting, what is interesting is that they got a court order to get Verizon to pinpoint Rigmaiden's location and then went ahead and did it themselves anyway.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:36 PM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Whoops. Mispasted. Was revealed should go here.

(Mod team contacted.)
posted by Samizdata at 12:40 PM on March 29, 2013


The links for "it was revealed" and "Stingray cell phone trackers" to go the same place.

In the end but what about the route?
posted by srboisvert at 12:42 PM on March 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


[Fixed link as requested. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 12:44 PM on March 29, 2013


Ad hominem: "Yeah, back in the 90s Tsutomou Shimomura was able to track Kevin Mitnick using home built radio receivers to triangulate his cell signal. Technology has changed a lot since then, cell phones are much more widespread, and Shimomura had a lot more expertise than even most hackers, but he was able to track the guy down using stuff he built himself.

Once the FBI showed up they of course had much better technology. Something called Triggerfish, that operated as a base station.

The technology here isn't very interesting, what is interesting is that they got a court order to get Verizon to pinpoint Rigmaiden's location and then went ahead and did it themselves anyway.
"

Well, I just need to remind myself the DOJ is paid by the government and not by the, uummmm, taxpaying public...

Yeah, that will work.
posted by Samizdata at 12:46 PM on March 29, 2013


Going To Maine: "If you are concerned about people randomly stealing your conversations, you have plenty to lose sleep over. As described by Slate,"DIY Stingrays can be built by anyone with $1,500 to burn and a bit of hacker savvy""

And it's not the Stingrays I have an issue with.

It's the damn cavalier way the government uses such technology. You think if I got caught zipping around with Stingray gear, I wouldn't do time, no matter what incredibly patriotic and helpful spiel I came up with to justify it?
posted by Samizdata at 12:48 PM on March 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


It's the damn cavalier way the government uses such technology.

Surly that will come to an end once Bush is out of office!
posted by rough ashlar at 12:50 PM on March 29, 2013 [13 favorites]


Surly that will come to an end once Bush is out of office!
The problem wasn't with Bush, per se. The problem was that he started doing blatantly illegal shit and that would not only continue, but snowball. Here we are.
*facepalm*
posted by mfu at 1:17 PM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


And don't call me surly!
posted by XMLicious at 1:18 PM on March 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's the damn cavalier way the government uses such technology. You think if I got caught zipping around with Stingray gear, I wouldn't do time, no matter what incredibly patriotic and helpful spiel I came up with to justify it?

I hypothesize that people catching you zipping around with stingray gear would be relatively unlikely unless you somehow gave it away that you were recording their conversations. Can't prove it, just hypothesizing.

The government shouldn't be wiretapping people without a warrant though, and I agree that that's the main issue here.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:19 PM on March 29, 2013


rough ashlar: "It's the damn cavalier way the government uses such technology.

Surly that will come to an end once Bush is out of office!
"

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

The sad thing is that I voted for Obama the first time around, largely based on his promises of increased government transparency.

Then I look back at myself and say

What a maroon! /BugsBunny
posted by Samizdata at 1:21 PM on March 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


If you're not doing anything illegal you shouldn't have anything to worry about, amirite???
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 1:28 PM on March 29, 2013


AElfwine Evenstar: "If you're not doing anything illegal you shouldn't have anything to worry about, amirite???"

Yeah, well, keep telling yourself that.

And maybe those pills you get emails about will make your partner happy with your newly enhanced junk.
posted by Samizdata at 1:49 PM on March 29, 2013


I agree. It's reprehensible.
posted by cavalier at 1:54 PM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


And maybe those pills you get emails about will make your partner happy with your newly enhanced junk.

I thought the amirite would give away the sarcasm. It's not just cell phones:

The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 2:00 PM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Triggerfish made an appearance in season 3 of The Wire.
posted by localroger at 2:01 PM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


There's also this:

Attorney General Secretly Granted Gov. Ability to Develop and Store Dossiers on Innocent Americans

So it seems that things have gotten a little beyond the reigning it in stage. This is all very troubling given that Obama administration lawyers have argued in federal court that they can't rule out detaining reporters for reporting, protesters for protesting, or authors for expressing political opinions. All pretty scary stuff.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 2:07 PM on March 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


But I suppose the Obama apology brigade will be in here shortly to explain to us how this is all just part of some overarching strategy involving 13 dimensional chess.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 2:21 PM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


The problem with Obama is precisely that he is much smarter than Bush.
posted by b1tr0t at 2:55 PM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


There was a time when my phone would have kindly alerted me to any rogue BTSes (or any BTS it hadn't "heard" before). Modern phones, being the pieces of utter shit they don't expose interesting information like the neighbor list. I believe you can get the ID of the currently-connected BTS on recent Android phones, but without the neighbor list from a couple of different sites you can't find a rogue automatically like you used to be able to do.

It would be nice if future versions of LTE leveraged Ki (a secret known only by your SIM and your carrier, and difficult for not-NSA people to extract from the SIM) to authenticate the network as well, rather than the current situation where the phone is authenticated but the network is implicitly trusted.

Last I checked, there's no law requiring operators to make it easy for attackers to spoof their networks.
posted by wierdo at 3:22 PM on March 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


But I suppose the Obama apology brigade will be in here shortly to explain to us how this is all just part of some overarching strategy involving 13 dimensional chess.

And how this reporting "In the annals of national security, the Obama administration will long be remembered for its unprecedented crackdown on whistleblowers. " is wrong.

But hey - the "other guy" was gonna be worse and you'd best not switch horses in mid-stream et al.
posted by rough ashlar at 3:27 PM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I believe you can get the ID of the currently-connected BTS on recent Android phones, but without the neighbor list from a couple of different sites you can't find a rogue automatically like you used to be able to do.

What about that custom 'security minded' ROM for the Nexus? Alas I can't find the link to it anymore :-(
posted by rough ashlar at 3:29 PM on March 29, 2013


[Folks, please try not to turn this into yet another generic Obama thread. Thanks. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 3:29 PM on March 29, 2013


But I suppose the Obama apology brigade will be in here shortly to explain to us how this is all just part of some overarching strategy involving 13 dimensional chess.

I agree with you in principle, and it's clear that this end of the discussion will be shut down by said brigade across the user-base and moderators, but we could also look beyond the second term (if only out of sheer necessity) and ask where are we as a country, and what lies in our future?

I'm thinking about the UK and the phone tap scandals, where the Metropolitan Police Service colluded with press and right-wing government officials to eavesdrop on people. This lead to enough public outrage that the Leveson Inquiry was convened.

The Inquiry didn't lead to much of an improvement, but it was a start. I wonder what kind of event in the United States would lead to a similar kind of "critical mass" of interest in getting privacy laws in place, to protect Americans from their government and telecommunications and media companies?

It seems likely something like Obama's DOJ illegally using Stingray trackers won't do it. Perhaps enough psychological trauma remains from 9/11 that we allow our executive branch to collude with AT&T, Verizon et al. in illegal wiretapping, without legal consequences. What are the reasons that we give his administration a pass on this, and can we learn something, anything, from those reasons — as a country — to try to fix things going forwards?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:21 PM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm thinking about the UK and the phone tap scandals, where the Metropolitan Police Service colluded with press and right-wing government officials to eavesdrop on people. This lead to enough public outrage that the Leveson Inquiry was convened.

There used to be time when 'officials' messing with the 'citizens' mattered.

The claim this week that pinged my sonar was the long-standing law about interfering with the US postal mail.

The claim was that was because Catholics priests were asking the flock to tamper with mail going to/from Protestants. (Packages labelled "Atheist" are being "lost" at a 10X greater rate is why that topic came up)

If the Government can't protect the citizens from about of the more powerful, if they can't be bothered to jail the too big to fail, if the billions spent on the Military can't protect buildings from airplanes via not scrambling jets, if (insert whatever other things you wish) - why exactly should Government as it exists expect to be supported by the people?
posted by rough ashlar at 5:08 PM on March 29, 2013


and ask where are we as a country,

incipient facsism

and what lies in our future?

full blown fascism

If the term fascism makes you clutch the pearls you can insert either inverted totalitarianism or de-democritization.

What are the reasons that we give his administration a pass on this, and can we learn something, anything, from those reasons — as a country — to try to fix things going forwards?

He gets a pass because, well, look at Romney. Also, most Americans can't think outside the box so instead of voting for a third party candidate they are manipulated into voting for the "lesser of two evils." Now the reason they can't think outside the box is because we are the most heavily propagandized people on the planet, and the limits of the box are very well defined by the establishment press.

It seems that Obama is not singularly the problem. Both Bush and Obama have done what they have done with the help of a compliant house and senate. A good first step would be to stop voting for congressmen and congresswomen who aren't doing their jobs overseeing our intelligence community, military, and executive branch. If our democracy has any hope of being saved it has to start at the local level. What we need to do is build a new progressive movement. We need to take control of the state party systems and start getting good people into office; not the blood sucking worms that, for the most part, currently inhabit the halls of congress.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:12 PM on March 29, 2013


Denied in the Supreme Court, warrantless wiretap opponents are losing ground fast. Does secret surveillance violate the Constitution? Sorry, that’s a secret
posted by homunculus at 5:27 PM on March 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


The claim was that was because Catholics priests were asking the flock to tamper with mail going to/from Protestants. (Packages labelled "Atheist" are being "lost" at a 10X greater rate is why that topic came up)

Citation, please.
posted by Going To Maine at 5:29 PM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Citation, please.

Probably referring to this experiment.
posted by hattifattener at 8:04 PM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


hattifattener: "Citation, please.

Probably referring to this experiment.
"

The original article from the source.
posted by Samizdata at 8:18 PM on March 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Thanks! That helped. Rather troubling, too.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:10 PM on March 29, 2013


Wow, that makes me curious if there's a bias against sending packages through USPS, where return labels printed with two names suggest a same-sex couple? Wouldn't want to offend the post office.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:37 AM on March 30, 2013


Blazecock Pileon: "Wow, that makes me curious if there's a bias against sending packages through USPS, where return labels printed with two names suggest a same-sex couple? Wouldn't want to offend the post office."

I am going to guess probably not. Too difficult to tell if it is father-son/brothers or not, although I would avoid glitter and rainbow tape and pro-gay stickers on the outside, I think.
posted by Samizdata at 3:47 PM on March 30, 2013


The real test would be to go cross cultural - how do packages labeled for different religious groups fair? How do one's labeled with a particular political party?
posted by Going To Maine at 4:49 PM on March 30, 2013


Also, most Americans can't think outside the box so instead of voting for a third party candidate they are manipulated into voting for the "lesser of two evils.

That refrain was posted here on the Blue 'vote for O because R would be worse'.

One of the only reasons I was looking for a Rmoney win was to watch all the "Grrr Bush suxs" Blu-kluers who've said not-much of anything during The Big O's doing similar things come out of the woodwork for "Grrr Romney suxs" for just expanding what was done in the past 4 years.

It seems that Obama is not singularly the problem. Both Bush and Obama have done what they have done with the help of a compliant house and senate.

Those are just the Clowns driving the Clown car. There is layers of layers of people who fix the clown cars, provide the clowns the maps, and then a whole separate layer who decide on the "legality" of what the clowns are doing - complete with 'oh that case would establish law removing this tool we have, lets drop the case over this illegal law so that no one has standing to challenge it'. If the goal is to get a clown car off the road, how far does one go to do that?

How deep does one look to change things? Dear Leaders don't make these changes in a vacuum. How much culpability do the advisers and implementers have in "the problems"? Because "leadership" comes and goes - the bureaucrats who advise stick around and how many of them contribute to the problem?

(firing every bureaucrat creates its own problem as does some kind of 'test' so none of them are a good path)
posted by rough ashlar at 8:22 AM on March 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow, that makes me curious if there's a bias against sending packages through USPS, where return labels printed with two names suggest a same-sex couple? Wouldn't want to offend the post office.

With todays modern networking and computers all it would take is a bit of effort to track such nationwide.

Toss the net wide - include transgender, bi, and poly iconography. To make it legally stick - have notaries notarize that 'On date X at time Y I did insert the above/attached letter into the hand of postal worker A at post office B' . Hell, pick other groups like black panthers, anti-religion Q, and political parties. Because 'authority figures' screwing with stuff knows no bounds.
posted by rough ashlar at 8:30 AM on March 31, 2013


Secrets of FBI Smartphone Surveillance Tool Revealed in Court Fight
posted by homunculus at 12:09 PM on April 9, 2013


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