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Necessary tool for good or privacy invasion?

RohaqRohaq Registered User regular
edited December 2006 in Debate and/or Discourse
Apparently the FBI can tap into cellphone microphones, regardless as to whether they're on a call, or even if they're powered on, details here:
http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/12/02/0415209

Of course, I'm in the UK, so what the FBI does isn't much of a concern of mine, but knowing that this technology exists in such a widely used piece of communications equipment, especially if it's not something I was notified about at point of purchase, worries me greatly. I'm willing to bet that it's closely guarded, considering we're only just hearing about it now, and usage of such a system would be closely monitored in itself; cellphones are used by everyone from schoolkids to politicians nowadays, after all, and being be to listen in on confidential conversations just because one person forgot to pull the battery out of their Nokia would present a huge security risk, but at the same time, this just feels Orwellian in nature.

Opinions?

Rohaq on
Spoiler:

Posts

  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    So long as they obtain a warrant for it I fail to see the problem.

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  • Whiniest Man On EarthWhiniest Man On Earth Registered User
    edited December 2006
    moniker wrote:
    So long as they obtain a warrant for it I fail to see the problem.

    Assumption: Because a warrant is issued, surveillance must be just.

    EDIT: Let me also add that to anyone in activist circles, this is pretty old news. Evidence along these lines has come up in court cases before.

    I wonder if we could sue the FBI for DMCA violation for reverse-engineering cellphones.

  • Bad KittyBad Kitty Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    Generally a warrant requires probable cause and thus a right for officials to search. It's a legitimate invasion of privacy.

  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    defrag wrote:
    moniker wrote:
    So long as they obtain a warrant for it I fail to see the problem.

    Assumption: Because a warrant is issued, surveillance must be just.

    Yes, the surveillance has to be justified before a judge in order to obtain a warrant.

    tea-1.jpg
  • LessLess Registered User
    edited December 2006
    defrag wrote:
    moniker wrote:
    So long as they obtain a warrant for it I fail to see the problem.

    Assumption: Because a warrant is issued, surveillance must be just.

    EDIT: Let me also add that to anyone in activist circles, this is pretty old news. Evidence along these lines has come up in court cases before.

    I wonder if we could sue the FBI for DMCA violation for reverse-engineering cellphones.

    But if that assumption were false, it would imply this was just a new vector for a much larger problem with our government.

    Sidenote: I'm not sure if I'm up to date on this, but hasn't the FISA court granted like 99.99% of the warrent requests it recieves for surveillance of this general nature? Or do they even ask them anymore?

    i've got so many things you haven't got
  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    Less wrote:
    Sidenote: I'm not sure if I'm up to date on this, but hasn't the FISA court granted like 99.99% of the warrent requests it recieves for surveillance of this general nature?

    A decade or so ago when Clinton was doing some surveillancey stuff conservatives were complaining that FISA was a rubber stamp, so most likely yes. That's a separate issue, though one that does need to be addressed.

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  • edited December 2006
    How could the microphone possibly be activated when the phone was not in the middle of a call, let alone when it was off?

    Wii friend code: 8704 3489 1049 8917
    Mario Kart DS: 3320 6595 7026 5000
  • RohaqRohaq Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    moniker wrote:
    Less wrote:
    Sidenote: I'm not sure if I'm up to date on this, but hasn't the FISA court granted like 99.99% of the warrent requests it recieves for surveillance of this general nature?

    A decade or so ago when Clinton was doing some surveillancey stuff conservatives were complaining that FISA was a rubber stamp, so most likely yes. That's a separate issue, though one that does need to be addressed.
    Surely the fact that warrants are being handed out like candy should have been investigated and resolved before they allowed such an easily accessible and personal invasion of privacy to be authorised under allowable surveillance law?

    Spoiler:
  • redxredx East Bumblefuck, PARegistered User regular
    edited December 2006
    How could the microphone possibly be activated when the phone was not in the middle of a call, let alone when it was off?

    a little piece of code in the phone's firmware closes a circuit.

    All I've got is a snuggle hammer.
  • RohaqRohaq Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    How could the microphone possibly be activated when the phone was not in the middle of a call, let alone when it was off?
    As long as the phone has a battery installed, the chipset can remain powered, even if everything appears to be off.

    Spoiler:
  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    Rohaq wrote:
    moniker wrote:
    Less wrote:
    Sidenote: I'm not sure if I'm up to date on this, but hasn't the FISA court granted like 99.99% of the warrent requests it recieves for surveillance of this general nature?

    A decade or so ago when Clinton was doing some surveillancey stuff conservatives were complaining that FISA was a rubber stamp, so most likely yes. That's a separate issue, though one that does need to be addressed.
    Surely the fact that warrants are being handed out like candy should have been investigated and resolved before they allowed such an easily accessible and personal invasion of privacy to be authorised under allowable surveillance law?

    Not really, no.

    tea-1.jpg
  • MalaysianShrewMalaysianShrew Registered User
    edited December 2006
    "'They[FBI] indicated that alternative methods of investigation either had failed or were unlikely to produce results, in part because the subjects deliberately avoided government surveillance.'"

    So...because someone doing something illegal avoided surveillance, the FBI was granted the ability to use "roving bugs" to up the chances to catch someone saying something incriminating? God damn.

    Our only hope is that the legislature gets ornery over the DOJ having too much power and attempts to stop them out of greed.

    Never trust a big butt and a smile.
  • LessLess Registered User
    edited December 2006
    Our only hope is that the legislature gets ornery over the DOJ having too much power and attempts to stop them out of greed.

    I can't wait to hear personal and embarrassing conversations from these legislators leaked on the internet. There's some good ytmnd material right there.

    i've got so many things you haven't got
  • bone daddybone daddy Super Moderator, Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited December 2006
    Less wrote:
    Our only hope is that the legislature gets ornery over the DOJ having too much power and attempts to stop them out of greed.

    I can't wait to hear personal and embarrassing conversations from these legislators leaked on the internet. There's some good ytmnd material right there.

    My conversations are very boring. I'd be willing to be recorded 24/7 if I got to put audio of Senator Jackass teabagging an underage same-sex escort while snorting chiva off a Thai masseuse's ass on the internet once a month. I somehow suspect that ain't gonna happen, though. And not because Senator Jackass is not teabagging underage same-sex escorts while snorting chiva off Thai masseuses' asses.

    Rogue helicopter?
    Ecoterrorism is actually the single largest terrorist threat at the moment. They don't usually kill people, but they blow up or set on fire very expensive things.
  • LessLess Registered User
    edited December 2006
    bone daddy wrote:
    My conversations are very boring. I'd be willing to be recorded 24/7 if I got to put audio of Senator Jackass teabagging an underage same-sex escort while snorting chiva off a Thai masseuse's ass on the internet once a month. I somehow suspect that ain't gonna happen, though. And not because Senator Jackass is not teabagging underage same-sex escorts while snorting chiva of Thai masseuses' asses.

    I know you were making a different point than this, but now that I have that image in my mind, I wonder if they can peep out the camera as well.

    Also, how long before private parties get in on this? They can already intercept normal cell-phone calls; turning this on with a third party device shouldn't be that hard.

    i've got so many things you haven't got
  • bone daddybone daddy Super Moderator, Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited December 2006
    Less wrote:
    I know you were making a different point than this, but now that I have that image in my mind, I wonder if they can peep out the camera as well.

    Also, how long before private parties get in on this? They can already intercept normal cell-phone calls; turning this on with a third party device shouldn't be that hard.

    Well, they probably can get the cameras going, but they'd be far less likely to get anything worthwhile. I imagine most of the useful conversations were coming from cellphones that weren't in use, which are likely in somebody's pocket or sitting in a of the table or some shit.

    I'd actually be surprised if the government didn't employ third parties to mine data if they were legally barred from doing it themselves but the act itself was not outlawed. God knows they've done it often enough already, like purchasing batch cell phone logs from companies like Cingular instead of subpoenaing them.

    Rogue helicopter?
    Ecoterrorism is actually the single largest terrorist threat at the moment. They don't usually kill people, but they blow up or set on fire very expensive things.
  • BroloBrolo Broseidon Lord of the BroceanRegistered User regular
    edited December 2006
    I kind of doubt they'd be able to actually turn a cellphone that is powered down on via remote. The circuits simply don't work that way, at least not for Motorla phones (which I sell and repair). The on/off switch is software based, true, but that's controlled on those phones via non-programmable ROM modules- the only way to change that behaviour is to physically swap the chip out and replace it with a new one, which would involve opening up the phone by hand.

    If it were possible to turn on/off phones by remote, I'm betting a lot of places (airplanes come to mind) would already have implemented the technology to keep them off in certain areas, and hackers would have found many interesting ways to wreak havoc by turning phones on when people don't expect it.

  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    bone daddy wrote:
    Less wrote:
    I know you were making a different point than this, but now that I have that image in my mind, I wonder if they can peep out the camera as well.

    Also, how long before private parties get in on this? They can already intercept normal cell-phone calls; turning this on with a third party device shouldn't be that hard.

    Well, they probably can get the cameras going, but they'd be far less likely to get anything worthwhile. I imagine most of the useful conversations were coming from cellphones that weren't in use, which are likely in somebody's pocket or sitting in a of the table or some shit.

    I'd actually be surprised if the government didn't employ third parties to mine data if they were legally barred from doing it themselves but the act itself was not outlawed. God knows they've done it often enough already, like purchasing batch cell phone logs from companies like Cingular instead of subpoenaing them.

    They do that all the time...

    Also, so long as its warranted, i as well dont see the problem. The OnStar comment was funnier to me though.
    Rolo wrote:
    I kind of doubt they'd be able to actually turn a cellphone that is powered down on via remote. The circuits simply don't work that way, at least not for Motorla phones (which I sell and repair). The on/off switch is software based, true, but that's controlled on those phones via non-programmable ROM modules- the only way to change that behaviour is to physically swap the chip out and replace it with a new one, which would involve opening up the phone by hand.

    If it were possible to turn on/off phones by remote, I'm betting a lot of places (airplanes come to mind) would already have implemented the technology to keep them off in certain areas, and hackers would have found many interesting ways to wreak havoc by turning phones on when people don't expect it.

    The same law that ensures that all phone calls are tapable by the federal and local government probably ensures that all cells are as well. I.E. it is most likly already built into the chip/code.

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  • stigweardstigweard Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    Weren't the phones actually bugged with a second mic that attached directly to the battery? I read a few comments in the /. article which lead me to believe this. I wasn't really paying to much attention. It makes far more sense than the witchcraft they made it out to be.

  • BroloBrolo Broseidon Lord of the BroceanRegistered User regular
    edited December 2006
    stigweard wrote:
    Weren't the phones actually bugged with a second mic that attached directly to the battery? I read a few comments in the /. article which lead me to believe this. I wasn't really paying to much attention. It makes far more sense than the witchcraft they made it out to be.

    I'm reading the /. article now, and holy shit, even your *tires* are bugged with RFID chips:
    WRONG! The feds do in fact log all car tires that pass secret monitoring points on certain highways and have for many years since T.R.E.A.D. was enacted by law. License plates are transferrable and also not 100% discernable.

    It is a US felony to commercially import or sell auto tires that do not have a sanctioned spy chip RFID radio transpnders in them, with a unique GUID for every tire.

    A secret initiative exists to track all funnel-points on interstates and US borders for car tire ID transponders (RFID chips embedded in the tire).

    Your tires have a passive coil with 64 to 128 bit serial number emitter in them! (AIAG B-11 ADC v3.0) . A particular frequency energizes it enough so that a receiver can read its little ROM. A ROM which in essence is your GUID for your TIRE. Multiple tires do not confuse the readers. Its almost identical to all "FastPass" "SpeedPass" technologies you see on gasoline keychain dongles and commuter windshield sticker-chips. The US gov has secretly started using these chips to track people as far back as 2002.

    I am not making this up. Melt down a high end Firestone, or Bridgestone tire and go through the bits near the rim (sometimes at base of tread) and you will locate the transmitter (similar to 'grain of rice' pet ids and Mobile SpeedPass, but not as high tech as the tollbooth based units). Sokymat LOGI 160, and Sokymat LOGI 120 transponder buttons are just SOME of the transponders found in modern high end car tires. The AIAG B-11 Tire tracking standard is now implemented for all 3rd party transponder manufactures [covered below].

    The US Customs service uses it in Canada to detect people who swap license plates on cars when doing a transport of contraband on a mule vehicle that normally has not logged enough hours across the border.

    Photos of untamperable tracking chips before molded deep into tires! :
    http://www.sokymat.com/index.php?id=94 [sokymat.com]

    the first subcontracter secretly hired for providing gear for bulk logging of tire RFID on highways in 2002 was :
    http://web.archive.org/web/20021014102238/telemati cs-wireless.com/divisions.html [archive.org]

    ALL USA cars can be radio tracked using the tires. Refer to tire standard AIAG B-11 ADC, (B-11 is coincidentally Post Sept 11 fastrack initiative by US Gov to speed up tire chip standardization to one read-back standard for highway usage).

    The AIAG is "The Automotive Industry Action Group"

    The non proprietary (non-sokymat controlled) standard is the AIAG B-11 standard is the "Tire Label and Radio Frequency Identification" standard

    "ADC" stands for "Automatic Data Collection"

    The "AIDCW" is the US gov manipulated "Automatic Identification Data Collection Work Group"

    The standard was started and finished rapidly in less than a year as a direct consequence of the Sep 11 attacks by Saudi nationals.

    All tire manufacturers were forced to comply AIAG B-11 3.0 Radio Tire tracking standard by the 2004 model year.

    (B-11: Tire & Wheel Label & Radio Frequency ID(RFID) Standard)

    http://mows.aiag.org/source/Orders/index.cfm?task= 3&CATEGORY=AUTOIDBC&PRODUCT_TYPE=SALES&SKU=B-11 [aiag.org]

    (use google cache to glance at that link if you are a hacker, all access to that page is watched by the feds, as are orders.)

    A huge (28 megabyte compressed zip) video of a tire being scanned remotely was at http://mows.aiag.org/ScriptContent/videos/ [aiag.org] (the file is "video Aiagb-11.zip").
    THAT LINK was still valid as recently as Feb 2004, long after my 2002 ignored warnings on slashdot. But in July 2004 died after feds saw my origianl warnings regarding T.R.E.A.D. act (RFID citizen tracking)

  • randombattlerandombattle Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    This sounds like a huge jump to conclusions. A judge says the FBI can tap cellphones and people assume he means magical technowitchcraft?
    According to the judge, the bug worked even if the phone appeared to be 'powered off.'

    Which sounds no different then any other type of extra monitoring device. I would think its a little more believable to assume they are planting a bug on the cellphone rather then magically making technology work with no power.

    Not to mention if they could tap any cellphone with out anything beyond a push of a button don't you think they would use that more often?

    itsstupidbutidontcare2.gif
    I never asked for this!
  • bone daddybone daddy Super Moderator, Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited December 2006
    This sounds like a huge jump to conclusions. A judge says the FBI can tap cellphones and people assume he means magical technowitchcraft?
    According to the judge, the bug worked even if the phone appeared to be 'powered off.'

    Which sounds no different then any other type of extra monitoring device. I would think its a little more believable to assume they are planting a bug on the cellphone rather then magically making technology work with no power.

    Not to mention if they could tap any cellphone with out anything beyond a push of a button don't you think they would use that more often?
    "Switched off" is rarely precisely equal to "no power." Beyond that, even if it was as easy as hitting a button (for instance, with OnStar-equipped cars), it's very rarely a reasonable application of manpower. And even if it were a reasonable application in one case, you'd quickly get to the point where you'd essentially cracked the Nazi code and were looking at whether or not to evacuate London. Would it be worth it to use information you could only have gotten in this one way to convict one person when it's leading you to other conviction-returning evidence in hundreds of cases, and your ace in the hole is blown if mobsters know to eject the battery before saying anything damning?

    Re: tire RFIDs: Paging entropykid.

    Rogue helicopter?
    Ecoterrorism is actually the single largest terrorist threat at the moment. They don't usually kill people, but they blow up or set on fire very expensive things.
  • stigweardstigweard Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    Rolo wrote:
    Giant article about tires.

    I bought my tires with cash. How do they know they belong to my car?

  • bone daddybone daddy Super Moderator, Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited December 2006
    stigweard wrote:
    Rolo wrote:
    Giant article about tires.

    I bought my tires with cash. How do they know they belong to my car?
    I suppose they could theoretically trace them to your vehicle using your VIN, but we're running into Enemy of the State levels of complexity here. We simply don't have the tech to correlate all these different mountains of data into one reliable or utilitarian database yet, given the fact that used tires, vehicles with multiple owners, and imperfect record keeping on the part of Tire Kingdom alone all stand to fuck everything five ways from Sunday.

    Rogue helicopter?
    Ecoterrorism is actually the single largest terrorist threat at the moment. They don't usually kill people, but they blow up or set on fire very expensive things.
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