US governemnt planes collect cell phone data2014-11-14 10:43 by Daniela
According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, American government has been spying on its citizens by using Cessna airplanes to capture phone data.
Those airplanes had a two-foot-square device, called "dirtbox" on board. The "dirtbox" mimics cellphone towers' signals and tricks mobile phones that this is the closest network and the phones gets connected to it automatically, revealing unique identifying numbers and general locations. This allows the government to scan the cell phone data of suspected criminals, and anyone who might be standing near them.
The surveillance program started around 2007 and included at least five metropolitan airports around the country. The frequency and duration of the flights is still unclear.
"The program is the latest example of the extent to which the U.S. is training its surveillance lens inside the U.S. It is similar in approach to the National Security Agency's program to collect millions of Americans phone records, in that it scoops up large volumes of data in order to find a single person or a handful of people. The U.S. government justified the phone-records collection by arguing it is a minimally invasive way of searching for terrorists," the Journal writes.
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