Local Police May Be Hacking Your Phone: Piercing Secrecy Around Stingrays

by Alex Marthews on September 4, 2014

Without your knowledge or permission, your smartphone’s calls could be being intercepted right now by your local police department, and your taxes are definitely being misused to pay for unconstitutional police snooping. We have reported before on “stingrays”, which started being used by local police departments in around 2006. These devices impersonate a cellphone tower […]

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 […]

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 […]

Boston PD Suspends ALPR Program After Massive Privacy Violation

by Alex Marthews on January 15, 2014

Just before Christmas, Muckrock and the ACLU of Massachusetts brought out excellent articles based on a full year of Muckrock’s investigative reporting into Boston PD’s use of automated license plate recognition technology. ALPR systems automatically photograph and store in a police database the license plates of any car an ALPR-equipped police vehicle passes. The car […]

MA-05: In their only debate, Clark and Addivinola spar over surveillance

by Alex Marthews on December 9, 2013

Democratic nominee Katherine Clark and Republican nominee Frank Addivinola spent a substantial portion of their only televised debate sparring over privacy and surveillance. It has been great to see these issues playing such an important role in a Congressional campaign. However, there have been two less good outcomes, independent of who wins. First, it’s still […]

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 […]

Cambridge debates switching on its surveillance cameras after Marathon attacks

by Alex Marthews on August 9, 2013

The city of Cambridge, MA is considering whether to switch on its network of surveillance cameras. Councillor Craig Kelley, who chairs the Public Safety Subcommittee [UPDATE: and whom, I should make clear, is skeptical about the merits of surveillance camera systems, scheduled seven public hearings on the newly proposed Security Camera Policy, but like most […]