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View Diary: During Intel Cmte Hearing, DoJ Admits to Sen. Warner That USA Freedom Act Expands Surveillance (46 comments)

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  •  Meanwhile, terrorists will use pre-pays (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobswern, koNko

    No matter how much the government increases surveillance, the focus remains on people who are not criminals or terrorists, i.e. people who use phones and IP addresses registered in their own names. The one place where the NSA etc are nearly blind is in the vast number of anonymous pre-paid phones and devices that are used by all actual terrorists and criminals for voice, text and email communications.

    Presumably, the NSA could pick up "chatter" on such phones but as long as they are used once and thrown away, the users are very difficult to trace.

    In 2010 Senators Schumer and Cornyn introduced a bill to register these devices but it was killed long before it came to a vote. I contacted Schumer's office to inquire as to why the bill was never re-introduced but his press people had no clear answers.

    My own theory is that pre-pays are a growth industry and Verizon and other companies balked at the additional costs involved in maintaining any kind of pre-pay phone registry and advised Schumer and colleagues to back off on their very reasonable proposal.

    See A Huge Gap in Our Security for more on this.

    If my soldiers were to begin to think, not one would remain in the ranks. -Frederick the Great

    by Valatius on Fri Jun 06, 2014 at 05:46:48 AM PDT

    •  Perhaps not entirely (0+ / 0-)

      ACLU researcher Chris Soghoian discovered that, at least within US networks, pre-paids are flagged and tracked by geolocation to cell towers, and if turned off, logged. All phones have a unique MAC address identifier that tags any metadata.

      So if one wished to use a pre-paid for such an act, or perhaps more commonly as used by drug dealers to evade the DES, it would be better to leave it turned on and drop it on an unsuspecting person or vehicle that continues to travel.

      Just because congressmen introduced a bill requiring ID for purchases of pre-paids doesn't mean they aren't tracked and traceable back to POS.

      No one is coming to save us, the future is in our hands.

      by koNko on Sat Jun 07, 2014 at 06:41:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yet, such devices are a real security weakness (0+ / 0-)

        I understand that the location is traceable but if the pre-pay is used, say,  once on a busy city street not visible to public video videocameras, and then thrown away, it is virtually impossible to trace. Of course, if a criminal uses it over and over or uses it in front of a public video camera, he can be located more easily.

        In any case, the fact that this kind of device is not registered shows a lack of seriousness by our government when it comes to effective electronic pursuit of criminals or terrorists.

        If my soldiers were to begin to think, not one would remain in the ranks. -Frederick the Great

        by Valatius on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 01:30:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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