The Connecticut Law Tribune
July 07, 2010
Authorities say they have evidence that Luis Soto was near a bank that was robbed in Berlin, Conn. Was there an eyewitness? No.
Soto was reportedly betrayed by his cell phone. Federal authorities sought reams of records from phone companies. They said the data -- which lists which cell towers handled certain calls -- revealed that Soto was not only close to the bank, but he was close to other suspects in the robbery.
Should law enforcement agencies be able to obtain this sort of information without a warrant? That's a question that will soon be debated in a U.S. District Court in Connecticut.
Defense lawyers and advocacy groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation say the way the government obtained the cell information constitutes an unreasonable search and seizure.
"It really is a search, a modern-day search," said David McGuire, an attorney with the Connecticut chapter of the ACLU. "It's not really any different in our perspective than … (police) going in and searching a location without a warrant."
Also see, Report: NSA creating spy system to monitor domestic infrastructure
The National Security Agency has begun work on an "expansive" spy system that will monitor critical infrastructure inside the United States for cyber-attacks, in a move that detractors say could end up violating privacy rights and expanding the NSA's domestic spying abilities.
The Wall Street Journal cites unnamed sources as saying that the NSA has issued a $100-million contract to defense contractor Raytheon to build a system dubbed "Perfect Citizen," which will involve placing "sensors" at critical points in the computer networks of private and public organizations that run infrastructure, organizations such as nuclear power plants and electric grid operators.
In an email obtained by the Journal, an unnamed Raytheon employee describes the system as "Big Brother."
"The overall purpose of the is our Government...feel(s) that they need to insure the Public Sector is doing all they can to secure Infrastructure critical to our National Security," the email states. "Perfect Citizen is Big Brother."
"Raytheon declined to comment on this email," the Journal reports.
And on NSA's web site, they say:
These are our commitments to you, our fellow citizens:
* We will act with integrity to advance the rights, goals, and values of the Nation.
* We will adhere to the spirit and the letter of the Constitution and the laws and regulations of the United States.
* We will support and protect our troops in the field.
* We will combat terrorism around the globe - when necessary, putting our lives on the line to preserve the Nation.
* We will provide our policymakers, negotiators, ambassadors, law enforcement community, and military the vital intelligence they need to protect and defend the Nation.
* We will defend the national security networks vital to our Nation.
* We will be a trusted steward of public resources and place prudent judgment over expediency.
* We will continually strive for transparency in all our review, monitoring, and decision-making processes.
* We will be accountable for our actions and take responsibility for our decisions.