Risk
7/2/2008
06:07 PM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Civil Rights Groups Sue Over Government's Cell-Phone Tracking

The groups also want to know the number of times the government has sought cell-phone location information without court permission and how many times it has obtained the information.

Two civil rights groups have filed a lawsuit asking a federal court to order the Department of Justice to turn over records related to the government's use of people's mobile phones as tracking devices.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed the suit Tuesday in federal court in Washington, D.C., The complaint was filed after the Justice Department failed to release the records following a request (PDF) by the ACLU under the Freedom of Information Act.

The ACLU filed the FOIA request in November following media reports that federal officials were using Americans' cellular phones to pinpoint their locations without a warrant or any court oversight, the groups said. Some government officials at the time said they did not need probable cause to obtain tracking information from mobile phones. In addition, the reports said some federal law enforcement agents had obtained tracking data from wireless carriers without any court oversight.

In explaining the reason for the lawsuit, ACLU lawyer Catherine Crump said, "This is a critical opportunity to shed much-needed light on possibly unconstitutional government surveillance techniques."

"Signing up for cell phone services should not be synonymous with signing up to be spied on and tracked by the government," she said in a statement.

The ACLU and EFF are seeking documents, memos, and guides regarding policies and procedures for cell-phone-based tracking of individuals. The groups also want to know the number of times the government has sought cell-phone location information without court permission and how many times it has obtained the information.

"The public has an overwhelming interest in the requested information, which concerns our most personal communications," said David L. Sobel, EFF senior counsel and co-counsel in the case.

Marin Perez contributed to this report.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading, September 16, 2014
Malicious software is morphing to be more targeted, stealthy, and destructive. Are you prepared to stop it?
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-2886
Published: 2014-09-18
GKSu 2.0.2, when sudo-mode is not enabled, uses " (double quote) characters in a gksu-run-helper argument, which allows attackers to execute arbitrary commands in certain situations involving an untrusted substring within this argument, as demonstrated by an untrusted filename encountered during ins...

CVE-2014-4352
Published: 2014-09-18
Address Book in Apple iOS before 8 relies on the hardware UID for its encryption key, which makes it easier for physically proximate attackers to obtain sensitive information by obtaining this UID.

CVE-2014-4353
Published: 2014-09-18
Race condition in iMessage in Apple iOS before 8 allows attackers to obtain sensitive information by leveraging the presence of an attachment after the deletion of its parent (1) iMessage or (2) MMS.

CVE-2014-4354
Published: 2014-09-18
Apple iOS before 8 enables Bluetooth during all upgrade actions, which makes it easier for remote attackers to bypass intended access restrictions via a Bluetooth session.

CVE-2014-4356
Published: 2014-09-18
Apple iOS before 8 does not follow the intended configuration setting for text-message preview on the lock screen, which allows physically proximate attackers to obtain sensitive information by reading this screen.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio