Thanks to increasing pressure from the public and from publications such as ARS Technica and the Wall Street Journal to disclose just how the Justice Department is obtaining and using their cell phone information, the DOJ announced that it will start, slowly, revealing more about its surveillance of Americans.
Said a DOJ spokesman, the department is “examining its policies to ensure they reflect the Department’s continuing commitment to conducting its vital missions while according appropriate respect for privacy and civil liberties.” The department hasn’t been concerned for that “respect for privacy” in the past, as nearly all of its surveillance of vast numbers of citizens in the hopes of finding a few miscreants has been done without a search warrant in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
But now, according the spokesman, the department will start following the rules.
It’s about time. Technology dating back to the late 1990s has been refined to the point where agencies from the FBI to the IRS to ICE can track and follow anyone using a cellphone. That technology fools the cellphone into thinking that a “false tower” with the strongest signal is a legitimate one and it immediately transmits ID information to the agency’s tower.