White Flags On The Brooklyn Bridge: Massive Surveillance Can’t Even Stop Minor Crimes

by Alex Marthews on August 8, 2014

On July 22, at 3:30am, in place of the Stars and Stripes that usually fly over the Brooklyn Bridge, bleached-out American flags appeared instead. Despite three surveillance cameras and allegedly round-the-clock police surveillance, four or five people, their identities still unknown, were able to cover up the lights trained on the flags, take them down, […]

Are Boston Police Using Stingrays? Help MuckRock Find Out

by Alex Marthews on June 4, 2014

Today’s news in Wired that the federal government is willing to send in the US Marshals to prevent disclosure of how local police departments are using stingrays, makes it seem that what they’re hiding is pretty important. Our friends at public information service Muckrock.com are launching a new research project to find out exactly what […]

NH: Warrants now likely to be required for cellphones

by Alex Marthews on May 13, 2014

Following on from February’s ruling by Massachusetts’ Supreme Judicial Court that law enforcement needs a warrant to obtain cellphone location information, New Hampshire is now strengthening its laws relating to cellphone searches. A short and simple bill introduced by Reps. Kurk, Sandblade and O’Flaherty, all of Hillsborough County, NH, provides that a warrant, “signed by […]

This Is Mass Justice: SJC Requires Warrants For Cellphone Tower Data

by Alex Marthews on February 26, 2014

On February 18, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court declared that here in Massachusetts, state cops actually do have to get a warrant if they want to access your cellphone location data. This is what an independent judiciary looks like. The Justices of our Supreme Judicial Court have withstood over half a century of New England […]

Sauce for the Gander: Boston Police Officers Apparently Don’t Like Being “Followed All Over The Place”

by Alex Marthews on November 19, 2013

From the ACLU of Massachusetts: Boston Police Department bosses want to install GPS monitoring devices in every patrol car, to enable dispatch to more efficiently process 911 calls. But police officers and their union are outraged, saying that the ubiquitous tracking is too invasive of their personal privacy. Tracking the location of officers as they […]

SJC Reviewing Warrant Requirement for Historic Cell Phone Location Data

by Alex Marthews on September 24, 2013

Massachusetts’ Supreme Judicial Court is soliciting amicus briefs from interested parties in two cases highly relevant to electronic privacy. First up is Commonwealth vs. Shabazz Augustine, where they seek to establish: “whether there is a warrant requirement for cell phone records collected and held by the phone company, namely historic cell site location information, sought […]

Can You Hear Us Now? Colonial-Style General Warrants Return To America

by Alex Marthews on June 6, 2013

Glenn Greenwald in the British newspaper The Guardian has published a leaked Top Secret order dating from the day of the Boston Marathon bombings providing evidence of intrusive cellphone surveillance dating from at least 2007. In the order, the NSA directs Verizon to send to it daily the metadata on ALL CELLPHONE CALLS – the […]

Stingrays Can Do More Than You Ever Imagined: Law Enforcement, Cellphone Interceptions, and Countermeasures

by Alex Marthews on April 9, 2013

Previously, we reported on the existence of stingrays, also known as `IMSI catchers’, which are used by law enforcement as mobile cellphone towers. Stingrays intercept location and other data from all cellphones in the area, redirecting the traffic from regular cellphone towers. They can be used to get cellphone data without having even to go […]

Microscope Monday: Massachusetts’ proposed Electronic Privacy Act (S. 796 / HD 1014)

by Alex Marthews on March 25, 2013

Howdy and good morning, lovers of the Internet freedoms! It’s time for another in our “Microscope Mondays” series, where we take a good hard look at pending legislation here in Massachusetts relevant to surveillance. Previously, we’ve covered a praiseworthy effort to restrict the use of drones for law enforcement purposes and Martha Coakley’s should-be-better-known “Let’s […]