So, you pull out your cell phone to make a call. The call goes through. You chat.
What you did not know was this: the cell phone tower that you thought was owned by your carrier was in fact a decoy. It was that is known as a “stingray.” It functions like a cell phone relay tower, but it is owned and operated by the U.S. government.
This was reported in Wired, the high-tech magazine.
You make a call on your cellphone thinking the only thing standing between you and the recipient of your call is your carrier’s cellphone tower. In fact, that tower your phone is connecting to just might be a boobytrap set up by law enforcement to ensnare your phone signals and maybe even the content of your calls.
So-called stingrays are one of the new high-tech tools that authorities are using to track and identify you. The devices, about the size of a suitcase, spoof a legitimate cellphone tower in order to trick nearby cellphones and other wireless communication devices into connecting to the tower, as they would to a real cellphone tower.
What about your Fourth Amendment rights? As Nancy Pelosi would say, “Are you serious?”
The government maintains that the stingrays don’t violate Fourth Amendment rights, since Americans don’t have a legitimate expectation of privacy for data sent from their mobile phones and other wireless devices to a cell tower.
At some point, encryption software for cell phones will get popular. People will not chat openly on cell phones. Maybe such an app will become a must-have killer app. Anyway, I hope so.
It gets worse. Your cell phone carrier can install a piece of software on your phone that lets the government monitor everything you say, not just when you are calling. This is called a roving bug. A federal judge says this is legal. You can read about this here.
As always, your privacy is slipping away.
For more examples, read the article. It offers some shockers.