In a fairly stunning win for mobile phone privacy, the Supreme Court has ruled that law enforcement agencies must obtain a warrant before they can demand and receive from mobile carriers and mobile providers access to the cell phone location data (known as ‘cell site location information’, or CSLI for short) of a given cellular phone. In the case of Carpenter v. United States, the Supreme Court held that tracking a cell phone is barely different than putting an ankle bracelet on an individual and monitoring their movements, and so overturned related case law that has been around for (up to) decades.
Earlier this week the U.S. State Department wrote a love letter to President Trump’s Mar a Lago (pronounced “maralago” – yes, that does mean “sea by the lake” – hey, we didn’t name it) and posted it to their blog. They quickly got into hot water for shilling for Trump’s business – but not before several other government sites had picked up and published the article. That blog post has now been removed from all public sites – but we have it here for you in case you were curious as to what the brouhaha is about.
The United States is worrying about something that they consider a new Russian threat: increased Russan submarine activity around the undersea fiber optic cables that carry Internet communications, and the potential that those submarine cables could be severed, crippling U.S. Internet operations. Whether you see this as promoting Russia as a bogeyman, or a real possibility, the reality is that history has demonstrated that undersea Internet cables can be cut, and that it wreaks havoc.
As you may know, last Thursday, October 1st, was the deadline for merchants to be able to accept so-called “chip and PIN” or “chip and signature” smartcard credit cards and debit cards, with the EMV chip. Of course, while the burden is on the merchants to accept them, lots of consumers don’t actually have them, as their banks have not yet issued them a new chipped debit or credit card. Whether you already have your shiny, new chip and PIN or chip and signature card or not, here’s everything that you need to know about them.
With the Obama administration’s plan to ease trade restrictions between the United States and Cuba, Cubanos may finally have easier access to an unrestricted Internet. At present, only 5% of Cubans have unfiltered access to the Internet, but if technology and electronics start flowing into Cuba as predicted, the Internet floodgates will open, opening up whole new avenues of communication and trade.
Today the Supreme Court unanimously held that a warrant is required to search a cell phone, in the case of Riley v. California. Warrentless searches of a cell phone are not ok.
Microsoft has disclosed that it has sought permission from the U.S. government to disclose to the public how it handles requests from the Federal government for user data. Microsoft says “We believe the U.S. Constitution guarantees our freedom to share more information with the public, yet the Government is stopping us.”
Russia is using the situation with Edward Snowden, the NSA and PRISM leaker, to push an agenda that would see the United Nations taking over primary control of the Internet, from the United States.
In a move that seems to be straight out of Mad Magazine’s beloved Spy vs. Spy, the United States this week says that it has been posting anti-al-Qaeda propaganda on websites used by al-Qaeda to disseminate anti-U.S. propaganda, particularly in Yemen, where al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has been particularly active as of late. Specifically, the U.S. altered al-Qaeda recruitment ads.
Always remember, and never forget, that the protections of the United States constitution extend only to U.S. citizens, and not to those hoping to visit the US. That is something that British teenager Luke Angel found out the hard way, when an email he sent to U.S. President Barack Obama landed him on the “banned forever from and never allowed entry to the United States” list. No freedom of speech for Luke!