Someone's Listening: Civ Lib Groups Demand Eavesdropping Disclosure
While the ACLU and the EFF demand that the Department of Justice disclose when they're listening in on Americans' mobile phone conversations and tracking their movements via phone signals, they're met with the tired old "you have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide" line.
A federal court action has been filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The two groups are are asking for details of all investigations involving mobile phone tracking, though they're particularly interested in cases where courts haven't been involved.
"The information now in the public domain suggests that [the DOJ] may be engaging in unauthorized and potentially unconstitutional tracking of individuals through their mobile phones," claims the complaint.
"It is important to remember that the courts determine whether or not cell site data or more precise cell location data can be turned over to law enforcement in a particular case," said Dean Boyd, a spokesman for the DOJ's National Security Division. "Law enforcement has absolutely no interest in tracking the locations of law abiding citizens. Instead, law enforcement goes through the courts to lawfully obtain data to help locate criminal suspects, sometimes in cases where lives are literally hanging in the balance, such as a child abduction case or a serial murderer on the loose."
The ACLU request for information includes documents, memos and guides related to the policies and procedures for tracking people through their mobile phones. The ACLU also wants to know the number of times the government has applied for mobile phone location information without establishing probable cause.