Home > Uncategorized > Why Worry About Public Surveillance? Are you Hiding Something?

Why Worry About Public Surveillance? Are you Hiding Something?

In the aftermath of the killing in Ferguson, MO, three police officers – none of whom are from the Ferguson police department – were suspended after blatantly racist and extremist comments and unacceptable behavior. A Rock Island, IL sheriff recently pled guilty to cyberstalking and resigned.

Do you think that, given an opportunity, these local law enforcement officers and others of their ilk would use information gleaned from your cell phone in a responsible manner? Would they respect information privacy?

Local law enforcement does have the opportunity. In September, news broke that owners of encrypted cell phones had identified 19 fake cell phone towers in various parts of the United States; it wasn’t long before the towers were connected to the NSA, as well as local, regional and state law enforcement.

This enables something as simple as tracking a user’s location or as potentially sinister as so-called “Man in the Middle” attacks where calls and texts can be heard or read before being forwarded on to a legitimate cell tower and the intended recipient. Is this a violation of physical security or cybersecurity? Or both?

Do you trust your local law enforcement to protect your information privacy? How many police officers or sheriff’s deputies are trained to understand these limits? In Florida a local police department used cell phone location information to conduct a search without a warrant. What else can and will they do? What have they done?

And what does this do to our expectations of information privacy?

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. September 16, 2014 at 9:40 am

    When I advise people about their privacy, some will respond with “I’ve got NOTHING TO HIDE”. ” No one cares what I do, the CIA isn’t monitoring my calls, and if they did they would be so bored!”

    Then I explain another way at looking at their personal privacy; what if something happens? It doesn’t have to be even your “something”. Suddenly your brother-in-law gets busted for say oh…Possession of Child Pornography. All of a sudden, your family’s good name is plastered all over the place, and people (probably not the CIA) are now interested in you too. You know, it’s guilt by association.

    Now your neighbors are wondering if you too have “disturbing images of children”. Your employer may too be worried about your computer at work. Your kid’s friends’ parents may want to “know more about you” before they let their offspring play with yours going forward.

    The problem doesn’t even need to be that drastic. Just the rumor of a romantic tryst between you and a co-worker, will have all the office detectives, including your boss, snooping your every move.

    This is what happens – when “something” happens (even when it’s not true, not your fault or even about you).

    This is when people break out their Wish List…

    They wish they had been more discrete on Twitter.
    They wish they had been less open on Facebook.
    They wish their home network’s password wasn’t their dog’s name.
    They wish they hadn’t let so many people access their Picassa/Flickr/iPhoto accounts.

    The take away…you want to become pro-active about your privacy and security NOW.

    Because if you wait until something happens, it will be too late.

    BEWARE – the computer gadget market is being flooded with software, and even USB “sticks” (one of them is called a Porn Stick) that can suck everything out of your iPhone/Android/Blackberry in nothing flat.

    Anyone with $100. bucks and the motivation to spy on you, can download the contents of your phone in mere minutes.

    From Law Enforcement Agencies to your New Date; now anyone can now run a computer forensics examination on your phone with no prior training, or real commitment to the science of performing cell phone forensics.

    Make a commitment to protecting your cell phone from these very real threats to your privacy now.

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