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US government planes mimic cellphone towers to collect user data – report

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posted on Nov, 14 2014 @ 08:45 AM
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www.theguardian.com...






US Marshals Service reportedly fitting aircraft with ‘dirtboxes’ that interrogate phones on ground for identity and location




The US justice department is reportedly using electronic equipment on aircraft to simulate cellphone towers so it can collect phone location and identifying information on a mass scale from users on the ground below.

The allegations, reported in the Wall Street Journal late on Thursday, suggest that the US Marshals Service has for seven years flown Cessna aircraft outfitted with “dirtbox” devices that mimic cellular towers, permitting the collection of thousands of unique IDs and location data from users.

According to the Journal the planes operate from at least five metropolitan airports, permitting a “flying range covering most of the US population”.

The reportedly indiscriminate collection would permit the marshals and potentially other justice department agencies to avoid having to seek records from the phone companies themselves, especially in criminal investigations where a court order may be required.


Sigh. More of the same. Our "we know better than you" leaders keep finding a way to get around privacy laws, or just outright ignore them, on a daily basis.



Michael German, a former FBI agent now with New York University Law School, said: “The government’s attitude seems to be if it can, it should, without regard to the violation of Americans’ rights, so long as nobody knows. The overriding problem is the excessive secrecy that hides the government’s ever-expanding surveillance programs from public accountability.

“This isn’t about tipping off criminals. Every criminal or terrorist I ever worked undercover against knew they were criminals and terrorists, and therefore that there was probable cause to believe they were criminals and terrorists, so the government could get warrants to listen to their calls or search their homes.”


This couldn't be more true. If government/law enforcement can, they will. No getting a warrant, no actually proving they have a valid reason to tap your phone, just blanket invasion of privacy and then use whatever they can find against you. Legally obtained or not. If it was illegally obtained, they'll lie and say the information was passed to them by... fill in the blank. The whole justification seems to be that catch all phrase "National Security". Seems like Homeland just keeps getting closer to Fatherland.




posted on Nov, 14 2014 @ 08:48 AM
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a reply to: DAVID64

This doesn't make sense.

Not without collusion from the big Telecoms. They'd need some kind of back door access.

Also, I doubt that they are installing equipment that can gather data from 35 thousand feet below the plane as well.

That takes some serious hardware as far as I know.

Interesting story none the less.

~Tenth



posted on Nov, 14 2014 @ 08:54 AM
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a reply to: tothetenthpower

From an article on the same subject from The Wall Street Journal.



The program cuts out phone companies as an intermediary in searching for suspects. Rather than asking a company for cell-tower information to help locate a suspect, which law enforcement has criticized as slow and inaccurate, the government can now get that information itself.





Also, I doubt that they are installing equipment that can gather data from 35 thousand feet below the plane as well.


They are using small Cessna aircraft, which fly at relatively low altitude.



posted on Nov, 14 2014 @ 08:57 AM
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a reply to: tothetenthpower

NSA has been embedded in AT&T telecom systems for years.


But well before the Times published this story, or even knew about it, an AT&T technician in California discovered something that troubled him greatly.

Mark Klein was working at AT&T's Geary Street switching facility in downtown San Francisco in 2002 when he received an email saying that someone from the NSA was coming to the office to do business. Klein thought this was odd, because he knew that the NSA was not supposed to look at US communications; the switching facility was one of many where trillions of US communications passed through each year.


www.privacysos.org...

Though with the utter failure of the Utah Data Center to come online after multiple computer system meltdowns, I don't think they're as competent as we're lead to believe.



posted on Nov, 14 2014 @ 09:00 AM
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a reply to: DAVID64

And this be our motto: "In you, we mistrust"
And the security cameras in triumph shall stream
O'er the land of the corporate owned and the home of the slaves!



posted on Nov, 14 2014 @ 09:02 AM
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a reply to: DAVID64


They are using small Cessna aircraft, which fly at relatively low altitude.

Freakin spies. Eaves dropping peeping toms. The kind of people that listen through doorways or windows, they are low down, deserve a beat down, freakin nosy busy bodies. But somehow its become justified nowadays.

I understand they need to break up criminal rings and all, but just generally listening, thats against the rule of constitutional law.



posted on Nov, 14 2014 @ 09:04 AM
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I want a phone that the voice data is scrambled on between the network provider and me without relying on an app where both you and who you are talking too runs the same app.

I don't think I am going to get this because the government makes all the phone companies transmit in plane voice so anyone can listen in

Why do we let the criminals at GCHQ/NSA get away with this or don't we have any rights at all



posted on Nov, 14 2014 @ 09:14 AM
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a reply to: DAVID64

Since technology exist for the average citizen to access wifi using their smart phone when on an aeroplane and start uploading and downloading then you can damn well guarantee that the US governments spy bitch NSA will use similar tech at 5,000 feet to do its dirty work on citizens on the ground.

Big Brother is watching (and listening and recording) you.
edit on 14-11-2014 by Sublimecraft because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 14 2014 @ 09:15 AM
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a reply to: DAVID64


They are using small Cessna aircraft, which fly at relatively low altitude.


Ah, I see, I thought it was for commercial aircraft.

That makes a lot more sense.

~Tenth



posted on Nov, 14 2014 @ 09:32 AM
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Here in New York they already know where you are at any time. All police cars have license plate scanners that can can read up to 50 cars per second. Your whereabouts get logged into a database and kept for their use, no warrant needed. So if you ever drive on the road and see the police, they have a record you were there. Also, cameras all up and down the highways that do the same. None of my friends or family believe me and think I'm crazy until I show them the local news article about it with the number to call to submit a FOIA request to get their records. I got my records after 6 months of trying. They had my location logged 27 times in a 2 year period, all down to my location, info, and how fast I was driving. Mostly on the highway going to work and a few trips to the grocery store.

ETA: as the tech gets better, sure enough they will have my daily whereabouts, not just 27 entries. Of course the next logical step is the planes, can cover a lot more ground that way.
edit on 14-11-2014 by WP4YT because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 14 2014 @ 10:02 AM
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So they were not content enough with the data they were getting from the Google Street vans, although that was supposed to be just IP addresses linked to a house number/post code.



posted on Nov, 14 2014 @ 10:35 AM
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Posted earlier here
www.abovetopsecret.com...

Please add further comments to the ongoing discussion in the above linked thread.
Thanks




**Thread Closed**




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