Author Topic: Sprint/Nextel GIVE POLICE ACCESS To Your Phone Upon Request! 8 million so far!  (Read 5093 times)

Offline Paul-w

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Sprint fed customer GPS data to cops over 8 million times

A blogger has released audio of Sprint's Electronic Surveillance Manager describing the carrier's cooperation with law enforcement. Among the revelations are that Sprint has so far filled over 8 million requests from LEOs for customer GPS data.


http://arstechnica.com/telecom/news/2009/12/sprint-fed-customer-gps-data-to-leos-over-8-million-times.ars

Christopher Soghoian, a graduate student at Indiana University's School of Informatics and Computing, has made public an audio recording of Sprint/Nextel's Electronic Surveillance Manager describing how his company has provided GPS location data about its wireless customers to law enforcement over 8 million times. That's potentially millions of Sprint/Nextel customers who not only were probably unaware that their wireless provider even had an Electronic Surveillance Department, but who certainly did not know that law enforcement offers could log into a special Sprint Web portal and, without ever having to demonstrate probable cause to a judge, gain access to geolocation logs detailing where they've been and where they are.

Through a mix of documents unearthed by Freedom of Information Act requests and the aforementioned recording, Soghoian describes how "the government routinely obtains customer records from ISPs detailing the telephone numbers dialed, text messages, emails and instant messages sent, web pages browsed, the queries submitted to search engines, and geolocation data, detailing exactly where an individual was located at a particular date and time."

The fact that federal, state, and local law enforcement can obtain communications "metadata"—URLs of sites visited, e-mail message headers, numbers dialed, GPS locations, etc.—without any real oversight or reporting requirements should be shocking, but it isn't. The courts ruled in 2005 that law enforcement doesn't need to show probable cause to obtain your physical location via the cell phone grid. All of the aforementioned metadata can be accessed with an easy-to-obtain pen register/trap & trace order. But given the volume of requests, it's hard to imagine that the courts are involved in all of these.

Soghoian's lengthy post makes at least two important points, the first of which is that there are no reliable statistics on the real volume and scope of government surveillance because such numbers are either not published (sometimes in violation of the legally mandated reporting requirements) or they contain huge gaps. The second point is that the lack of reporting makes it difficult to determine just how involved the courts actually are in all of this, in terms of whether these requests are all backed by subpoenas.

Underlying both of these issues is the fact that Sprint has made it so easy for law enforcement to gain access to customer data on a 24/7 basis through the use of its Web portal and large compliance department. Regarding the latter, here's another quote from Paul Taylor, the aforementioned Sprint/Nextel Electronic Surveillance Manager:

"In the electronic surveillance group at Sprint, I have 3 supervisors. 30 ES techs, and 15 contractors. On the subpoena compliance side, which is anything historical, stored content, stored records, is about 35 employees, maybe 4-5 supervisors, and 30 contractors. There's like 110 all together."

All of those people are there solely to serve up customer data to law enforcement, and other comments by Taylor indicate that his staff will probably grow. Sprint only recently made the GPS data available through the Web portal, and that has caused the number of requests to go through the roof. The company apparently plans on expanding the menu of surveillance options that are accessible via the Web. Taylor again:

"[M]y major concern is the volume of requests. We have a lot of things that are automated but that's just scratching the surface. One of the things, like with our GPS tool. We turned it on the web interface for law enforcement about one year ago last month, and we just passed 8 million requests. So there is no way on earth my team could have handled 8 million requests from law enforcement, just for GPS alone. So the tool has just really caught on fire with law enforcement. They also love that it is extremely inexpensive to operate and easy, so, just [because of] the sheer volume of requests they anticipate us automating other features, and I just don't know how we'll handle the millions and millions of requests that are going to come in."

I'm sure they'll find some way to deal with the "millions and millions" of warrantless surveillance requests, and no one will bother to even curb the practice, much less stop it. I've been reporting on this exact metadata/surveillance issue for years now, and it just gets worse. The stressed, jobless, indebted public doesn't care, and Congress doesn't either. If I'm still on this beat in 5 years, I'm sure I'll still be rewriting this same story for the thousandth time.
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Offline Dig

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hey lawyers...

low hanging fruit!
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

Offline Paul-w

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hey lawyers...

low hanging fruit!

No kidding.
Of course they'll use some obscure excuse like the Patriot Act in defense and say it's all legal. Seems to be the road we are going down.

So glad that I got rid of my Sprint service now..... This is nuts.
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Offline Dig

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No kidding.
Of course they'll use some obscure excuse like the Patriot Act in defense and say it's all legal. Seems to be the road we are going down.

So glad that I got rid of my Sprint service now..... This is nuts.

hey lawyers, also be careful not to get blagoyiviched!
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

independentWV

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hey lawyers, also be careful not to get blagoyiviched!

For sure, recall when they made GPS a requirement gave mine up the day it went into effect did not believe their excuse.

Offline Paul-w

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See, now I wonder how many other carriers are doing this

AND MORE IMPORTANTLY

Is "On Star" and its bullshit service doing this as well for cars???
StompMud - The Political Mainstream Has Never Been Taken On Like This.

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Anti_Illuminati

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Sprint fed customer GPS data to cops over 8 million times

A blogger has released audio of Sprint's Electronic Surveillance Manager describing the carrier's cooperation with law enforcement. Among the revelations are that Sprint has so far filled over 8 million requests from LEOs for customer GPS data.

Census GPS-Vaccine tracking-military strikes/roundups for noncompliance
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=109035.msg668733#msg668733

I have extracted the text as well as included the full image scans of this document.  The government loves you:  "HAIL THE POLICE! (BLACKWATER, CACI, KROLL, EODT, ET.AL.)  HELL IS RELEASED, WE'RE COMIN TO FIGHT AL-QAEDA CUZ JAY ROCKEFELLER SAID "THERE'S PLENTY OF AL-QAEDA IN OUR OWN COUNTRY!"  WE'RE COMIN' YOU SONS OF BITCHIN' AMERICANS, YOU CAN TAKE YOUR 4TH AMENDMENT AND SHOVE IT UP YOUR ASS, WE RULE!!!  NOW SHUT UP OR YOU WILL BE KILLED OR BROUGHT TO A CAMP TO BE RAPED AND TORTURED FOR 10 YEARS!!!"



FEATURE ARTICLE
North America’s 1st Operational Police UAS
By Marc Sharpe, Identification Constable
Kenora Forensic Identification Services, Canada
History/ Development


On August 28th, 2007 the Ontario Provincial Police not only became the first police agency, but the first civilian agency of any type in North America, to begin regular operational use of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in civilian airspace with federal government approval On October 3rd with Transport Canada’s designation, «FIU-301» prominently displayed, the OPP UAV embarked on the first operational mission at a homicide scene in the Ontario community of Fort Severn. With no fanfare or media attention, eleven investigators assembled along the cool, windy shores of the Severn River, 4 km downstream from the shores of Hudson Bay, to watch the 9lb electric powered aircraft launch skyward to capture a tiny bit of aviation history.

The story began in January of 2004 when I transferred into the Kenora Forensic Unit, which works in conjunction with the Thunder Bay Unit to provide forensic identification services for the 560,000 sq/kms of the OPP’s Northwest Region. With our high volume of major case work and the vast geographical challenges we face, obtaining timely and quality aerial photos, suitable for court presentation, was an expensive undertaking.

Regional logistics dictated chartering aircraft for these shots, which in some cases, exceeded $3000.00. Early in 2005, with the confidence of 15 years as an avid modeller of radio controlled model aircraft, I saw an opportunity to mix my hobby with work. I approached our Unit Commander, Sergeant Carmen McCann, with the assertion that I could build a system that could do the job for the cost of 1 or 2 of these charter flights. With his support, we began looking for some seed money for the project and eventually managed to secure it from our regional command staff.

In order to keep costs low, I undertook the design and development of our system into my shop at home. The system had to be electric powered, rugged and modular in design to facilitate ease of transport and operational use. More importantly, Transport Canada needed to be involved in the development process in order to create a system that they would approve for operational use. The cold hard fact is that ANY size of unmanned aircraft that leaves the ground for ANY purpose outside of hobby or pleasure use is the responsibility of Transport Canada and an requires an operation certificate. It wasn’t long before my great idea of bringing my hobby to work, became a matter of bringing my work home.Almost 3 years later with over 400 hours invested in the design, construction and testing of 3 separate aircraft configurations, reams of paper entrails plus cultivation and consultations with industry and government contacts, we had a system that was ready for operational deployment.

FIU-301 Unmanned Aerial System (UAS)
This system was developed with a single mission purpose:

«To obtain high quality digital aerial images of major case scenes in a timely and efficient manner while operating within a secure police environment.» The aircraft weighs in at just under 9lbs ready to fly, has a 75 inch wingspan and operates with an electric power system capable of pulling the aircraft straight up under full power. The airframe is constructed from aluminium, light plywood, balsa wood and Styrofoam.

There is an infra-red «pilot assist» on board that helps to maintain a level attitude when at shooting altitude. There is no autopilot system on board as the aircraft must be operated within «line-of-sight» of the pilot. It is modular and quickly breaks down into 7 major components with aircraft and all ground support gear stored in two hard cases for transport.  The flying qualities of the design allow it to work within a relatively small area and remain aloft for 20-30 minutes.  The payload consists of 2 on-board cameras; the main being an 8 mega pixel digital still on a rotating mount with a small colour video camera in the nose to assist navigating over the target area.

A live wireless down-link provides the camera operator a real time view of what the cameras are looking at in order to facilitate accurate target imaging. There are two separate control systems on board; a 2.4 Ghz system for flight control and a 72 Mhz FM system for camera control.  The ground station components consist of the receiver for the live link, antennas with a digital cassette player or laptop used to monitor. Additional batteries, testers, chargers, a two-way approved aviation radio, supporting documentation, flight and maintenance logs are also contained within the transport cases.

Operational Protocols
Safe operation is our number one priority when deciding to deploy. We must strictly adhere to safety procedure and operating restrictions contained within our standing «Special Flight Operations Certificate» (SFOC). The SFOC is renewable on a yearly basis, but can be suspended by Transport Canada at any time due to safety concerns, accident or other related issues. Being the leader in the police UAV community, we certainly have an eye on future development for all police services and want to demonstrate safe and responsible operations.

Operational deployment must be within a secure police area with a minimum of 3 officers dedicated to the UAV Operation; pilot, camera operator and safety officer. Some of the key restrictions include; operations within our northwest region only, a maximum operating altitude of 400 feet, daylight hours only and remaining within the pilot’s «line-of-sight». We cannot operate in winds above 30 km/h and there can be no precipitation.

We cannot operate over non-police personnel and need permission to over-fly private property. Flight control services within any operating area have the authority to prohibit or terminate operations at any time with additional restrictions if operating within 5 nautical miles of an airport.

Costs
The total cost of the current system tallied at just over $5000.00. At the time of this article, we had used the system successfully at 3 separate homicide scenes and considering the cost of charter services, the system has already paid for itself twice-over. Future Development:

It must be stressed that this system’s sole purpose is to obtain overall aerial images at major case scenes within our region of operation. It has met or exceeded expectations to date, but requires too much piloting skill to be practical for wide-spread use.

Regulating agencies in Canada, the US and Europe are proceeding very cautiously in allowing any type of UAV to work in «civil airspace». To this end, Transport Canada has begun the long process of drafting comprehensive legislation to regulate all aspects of UAV systems. Our unit was positioned uniquely for success due to the population density of our region, my personal aviation related experience and the ability to immediately put the system to work in a secure police operational environment. Any police service considering ANY type of UAV system needs to clearly understand the need to receive operational approval from Transport Canada before expending significant resources.

That said, we have learned much and I believe there is room for wider police use of UAVs within the current rules if we proceed carefully and methodically. If properly approached, while working in partnership with Transport Canada, the entire police community as well as federal regulators can benefit with the emergence of this new tool by setting standards to base future legislation on. The two immediate police functions that make the most sense to pursue for broader service are continued forensic support with the addition of tactical support emphasising officer and public safety. Operations «beyond line of site» by civilian UAVs is very unlikely to be approved for a number of years.

Surveillance systems should not be pursued due to added legal complications and justified concern of the public and media relating to issues of privacy. Surveillance issues and the resulting negative PR impact have demonstrated the ability to quickly overwhelm the potential public benefits these systems can offer. If beyond line of sight operations are to be pursued, it would be my suggestion that search are rescue missions in unpopulated areas should be the catalyst.[/color]  Our system is an initial step in demonstrating to Transport Canada, and other international federal regulators, that police services can safely operate unmanned aerial systems, on a limited basis, within civil airspace. I believe the next step to broader police use is to focus on the forensic and tactical safety applications with systems that can launch and recover within a standard sized residential lot, are very reliable and easy to operate. We must continue to maintain line-of-sight operation, use them for individual incident deployment, and keep them as light as possible while operating below 300 feet.

To be successful, we will need to work with commercial manufacturers to develop such systems while in consultation with Transport Canada to establish training protocols and standard operating procedures for deployment and maintenance for each individual system. I envision individually approved systems for police use that would meet risk assessment standards set by Transport Canada. In this way, a police service would then be able to choose from approved systems and receive certified training from the manufacturer as part of the purchase agreement. The final phase would be registering their system with Transport Canada and follow a standard set of operational rules and regulations.  Setting the dull regulatory stuff aside, my personal thoughts on the ideal aerial platform to progress to the next stage are:

   Ü As small and light as operationally practical;
   Minimal assembly;
   VTOL (Vertical Take Off & Landing) capabilities;
   Not a traditional Helicopter configuration. (too many moving
parts/difficult to operate and transport);
   No external launch system;
   Hands-off altitude & position hold system while hovering;
   Minimum 15 minute hover capability;

   Interchangeable payload option of high-resolution digital still camera (8 mp min.), high quality colour video or low light/IR video option; Complete system transportable in no more than 2 portable hard cases. As a result of our success, it has opened the door to the possibility of testing/operating commercial systems within our unit that can meet these preferred criteria. We intend use the opportunity to work towards the stated goals of developing systems, training and operational procedures that can be applied across the country and perhaps beyond. Stay tuned.