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Secret Service Allowed To Use Warrantless Cellphone Tracking (myway.com) 104

mi writes: A mere belief in there being a threat against the President or any other protected person is now sufficient for the U.S. Secret Service to use cell-site simulators (commonly known as "stingrays"). In certain "exceptional circumstances," the stingrays can be used without a judge-signed warrant and even without probable cause. When asked whether this essentially granted a blanket exception for the Secret Service, Homeland Security Assistant Secretary Seth Stodder said the exemption would not be used in routine criminal probes, such as a counterfeiting investigation. I suppose, the personal verbal assurance of an executive-branch government employee should put all fears of the citizenry to rest.
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Secret Service Allowed To Use Warrantless Cellphone Tracking

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  • What's left to say that hasn't already been said?

    • Voteobama? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mi ( 197448 ) <slashdot-2017q4@virtual-estates.net> on Friday October 23, 2015 @12:14AM (#50785581) Homepage Journal

      In 2008, when this very site discussed John McCain's opinion on warrantless wiretapping [slashdot.org], his views were sufficiently unpopular for TFA to be tagged voteobama [slashdot.org]...

      The first post [slashdot.org] requested a link on Obama's view on the subject — and got a +1 Interesting upvote. The reply — with a level-5 moderation — quoted a promise [cnet.com] by the then junior Senator from Illinois thus:

      Obama: No warrantless wiretaps if you elect me

      All of you, fellow Slashdotters, who voted for the post-racial Nobel Peace Prize winner based on that (or similar) promise, should ask for your money back. Public self-flagellation is optional.

      • Mod way up.
      • Oh, I'd go even further.

        When the left were patting themselves on the back at how wonderful they were at ushering a new era of peace and hope, even when poo-pooing anyone bringing up Obama's vote on the Telecom Immunity bill and his then stance on gay marriage (and let's not forget some of the most meaningful advances on this have come from... gasp! the right), they were demonizing everyone else (Ron Paul especially) with a better record on civil rights, casting doom and gloom upon the nation if anyone else

    • by rastos1 ( 601318 )

      What's left to say that hasn't already been said?

      I never heard the officials explaining why getting a warrant is a problem. Would that prevent them from protecting the POTUS or investigating a crime?

      • The officials have explained (in the article, if you had cared to read it) that it would only be in certain situations, where the president would be killed if they didn't use it. Something like if this happened [youtube.com], you wouldn't really worry about warrants. The real question is whether they've ever actually used that power or not.

        They used the other exception in a hostage/kidnapping situation, apparently because there wasn't time to get a warrant.
        • by rastos1 ( 601318 )
          As if having one judge standby per state was not worth upholding the Constitution.
        • by Holi ( 250190 )
          And the exceptional circumstance clause in the Constitution says what? I mean I have been back and forth through it and I just can't find that part that says they can disregard if they really really want to.
    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      One thing: If nothing decisive is being done very soon, things will get a _lot_ worse.

  • It's only (reportedly) used in situations where the president is likely to be in danger.
    At some point, you are willing to ruin your court case in exchange for protecting your president.
    • by Headrick ( 25371 )

      Yup, I'm totally convinced that is the only situation it will ever be used in.

    • And they claim that this President is in danger 24/7/365. That means they can always use it.

  • So, all people have to do is say "it's a threat" and they can do whatever the fuck they want now...


    Can we just all gang up and export our politicians into space?

    What? No! Who said they'd need space suits?

  • as their name implies.
  • 4th amendment (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NoKaOi ( 1415755 ) on Thursday October 22, 2015 @10:44PM (#50785337)

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized; unless the government doesn't feel like it.


  • by Diddlbiker ( 1022703 ) on Thursday October 22, 2015 @10:47PM (#50785351)
    Exceptional circumstances, like "Today's a day ending in a 'y'"
  • Dear Leader must be protected after all. There are many terrible secrets of space..

  • Hmm. I must have missed that bit in the constitution. You know, that document we rely on to limit the power of the government so they don't abuse the population and get all tyrannical? Reckon I'll just have to put on my constitution-reading glasses and have another look. Bup bup bup shall not be infringed yadda yadda due process blah blah blah, nope, don't see that in there! Maybe I have one of those abridged constitutions. Maybe they cut the boring shit out to save space, or something.
    • Well, in case you're only just joking ... the governments have been ignoring the Constitution at an accelerating rate for quite some time.

      They're fully into "don't give a fuck" by now.

      All those people who have taken an oath to "defend and uphold the Constitution"? That means "except where inconvenient".

      Are you still laboring under the belief you live in a free and just society? You should get over that.

    • The bits you're looking for must be under all the brown stains that have developed over the years whenever the Whitehouse ran out of toilet paper.

  • Logging is a very useful tool for me. The less I say about that the better for you.
  • As I understand it, if the Secret Service wanted to go and start stingraying everybody, there's nothing really historically stopping them other than "anything they picked up wouldn't necessarily be admissible in court," and all that's changed is that a few more situations would make any collected evidence admissible. This goes for any method of evidence collection. There was some discussion a few days ago in another thread about police needing a warrant to use FLIR to look at possible growhouses, and it's t

  • Had the network been properly hardened, with a list of valid towers, then a user's cell phone would never erroneously connect to a Stingray tower.

    Now, certainly, law enforcement might work with cell providers to put their spy devices on the list of valid towers. But that would require effort. As it is, dumb devices connect blindly to spy devices and divulge secrets, all with no extra effort from the criminals in charge.

  • "Homeland Security Assistant Secretary Seth Stodder said the exemption would not be used in routine criminal probes, such as a counterfeiting investigation."

    Yup, no fear.

    They think we are this naive. Well, most of us are.

Someone is unenthusiastic about your work.