The National Security Administration (NSA) is on my short list of Federal agencies that need to be completely disbanded and disappear. They overstep the Constitution with everything that they do. Unfortunately, however, they are not the only group that seems to think that it’s okay to break the law “to protect us.”
This time the story isn’t about the NSA; it’s about the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In December 2012, the FBI ordered state and local law enforcement organizations to keep quiet about FBI surveillance of mobile phones. This requirement is still in effect.
Basically, your local police departments are not allowed to tell you that the FBI can both listen to your mobile phone calls and track you based on your mobile phone’s signal.
The Washington Post reported:
“The December 2012 document [obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request] is a heavily redacted letter between the FBI and police in Tacoma, Wash., as the local department sought to acquire an IMSI catcher, sometimes described as a ‘fake cellphone tower’ because it tricks individual phones into routing their calls and other data through the surveillance equipment.”
J.D. Heyes writes,
“The FBI document was not classified, the Post reported. However, it was designated as ‘law enforcement sensitive.’ In it, the bureau informed the Tacoma police chief that the Federal Communications Commission authorizes the sale of that particular kind of surveillance gear to state and local police agencies, but only if they sign an FBI ‘non-disclosure agreement.’
“Details of the agreement were redacted, said the Post, which further reported that “the blacked-out portions stretch across the bulk of a six-page document.”
“Emails that were collected under a separate FOIA request filed by the American Civil Liberties Union showed that, in June, the U.S. Marshals Service had requested that police in Florida not reveal that it had used ISMI interceptors to determine locations of criminal suspects. Rather, police were told to say that they had determined the whereabouts of the suspects through the use of ‘a confidential source.'”
I find it rather disturbing that this “confidential source” is our own Federal government running rough shod over our Fourth Amendment rights against illegal search and seizure and also our right to privacy. If we aren’t protected from surveillance of our telephone calls, then it’s hard to justify that a person cannot use scanning equipment to be a peeping tom on someone’s home because, after all, those signals were picked up outside of that person’s home.
In light of this, you may want to consider whether you actually carry a mobile phone, though in this day and age that may be an impractical ideal. Regardless, you need to be on guard to protect yourself from illegal surveillance. It’s your privacy, and no government has a right to invade it without going through the proper legal channels of a search warrant.
What do you think about this latest domestic spying program? Tell us below.