[Ppnews] Court Says FBI Can Use Your Cell Phone To Spy... On You

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Dec 12 11:21:50 EST 2006

Court Says FBI Can Use Your Cell Phone To Spy... On You

Can You Hear Me Now?

by Vic Walter and Krista Kjellman, ABC News

Cell phone users, beware.  The FBI can listen to everything you say, 
even when the cell phone is turned off.

A recent court ruling in a case against the Genovese crime family 
revealed that the FBI has the ability from a remote location to 
activate a cell phone and turn its microphone into a listening device 
that transmits to an FBI listening post, a method known as a "roving 
bug."  Experts say the only way to defeat it is to remove the cell 
phone battery.

"The FBI can access cell phones and modify them remotely without ever 
having to physically handle them," James Atkinson, a 
counterintelligence security consultant, told ABC News.  "Any 
recently manufactured cell phone has a built-in tracking device, 
which can allow eavesdroppers to pinpoint someone's location to 
within just a few feet," he added.

According to the recent court ruling by U.S. District Court Judge 
Lewis Kaplan, "The device functioned whether the phone was powered on 
or off, intercepting conversations within its range wherever it 
happened to be."

The court ruling denied motions by 10 defendants to suppress the 
conversations obtained by "roving bugs" on the phones of John Ardito, 
a high-ranking member of the family, and Peter Peluso, an attorney 
and close associate of Ardito, who later cooperated with the 
government.  The "roving bugs" were approved by a judge after the 
more conventional bugs planted at specified locations were discovered 
by members of the crime family, who then started to conduct their 
business dealings in several additional locations, including more 
restaurants, cars, a doctor's office and public streets.

"The courts have given law enforcement a blank check for 
surveillance," Richard Rehbock, attorney for defendant John Ardito, 
told ABC News.

Judge Kaplan's ruling said otherwise. "While a mobile device makes 
interception easier and less costly to accomplish than a stationary 
one, this does not mean that it implicated new or different privacy 
concerns." He continued, "It simply dispenses with the need for 
repeated installations and surreptitious entries into buildings.  It 
does not invade zones of privacy that the government could not reach 
by more conventional means."

But Rehbock disagrees.  "Big Brother is upon us...1984 happened a 
long time ago," he said, referring to the George Orwell futuristic 
novel "1984," which described a society whose members were closely 
watched by those in power and was published in 1949.

The FBI maintains the methods used in its investigation of the 
Genovese family are within the law.  "The FBI does not discuss 
sensitive surveillance techniques other than to emphasize that any 
electronic surveillance is done pursuant to a court order and ongoing 
judicial scrutiny,"  Agent Jim Margolin told ABC News.

The Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 863-9977
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://freedomarchives.org/pipermail/ppnews_freedomarchives.org/attachments/20061212/6836b5b5/attachment.html>

More information about the PPnews mailing list