Daily Archives: 2020-09-02

Feds can’t ask Google for every phone in a 100-meter radius, court says

Source: Ars Technica

Article note: Yesssss. 3rd party doctrine + All persons warrants made an effective end-run around 4th amendment protections, and should not be permitted. I'm still generally suspect about things that collect and retain that kind of data as a matter of course, but at least there is some legal protection happening.
Stock photo of people on urban sidewalk walking and looking at smartphones.

Enlarge (credit: Page Light Studios)

Federal courts in the Chicago area have three times rejected government applications for warrants to force Google to produce a list of smartphones near two particular commercial establishments during one of three 45-minute intervals. The most recent ruling was handed down last week and was recently made public.

The decisions are significant because Google has reported massive growth in law enforcement use of such "geofence" searches. Google says there was a 1,500-percent increase between 2017 and 2018 and a further 600-percent jump from 2018 to 2019. That's a hundredfold increase in two years. Google received 180 geofence search requests a week during 2019, according to CNet.

Google is a popular target for this kind of request because almost everyone uses Google products in one way or another. Google's Android controls a majority of the smartphone market, and even most users who run iPhones use apps like Google Maps and Gmail. Moreover, Google frequently has GPS data that places a user's phone to within a few meters—much more accurate than the tower location data law enforcement can get from wireless providers.

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Court Rules NSA Phone Snooping Illegal — After Seven-Year Delay

Source: Slashdot

Article note: Seven years late, and with an extremely suspicious past tense.

The National Security Agency program that swept up details on billions of Americans' phone calls was illegal and possibly unconstitutional, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday. From a report: However, the unanimous three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said the role the so-called telephone metadata program played in a criminal terror-fundraising case against four Somali immigrants was so minor that it did not undermine their convictions. The long-awaited decision is a victory for prosecutors, but some language in the court's opinion could be viewed as a rebuke of sorts to officials who defended the snooping by pointing to the case involving Basaaly Moalin and three other men found guilty by a San Diego jury in 2013 on charges of fundraising for Al-Shabaab. Judge Marsha Berzon's opinion, which contains a half-dozen references to the role of former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden in disclosing the NSA metadata program, concludes that the "bulk collection" of such data violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The call-tracking effort began without court authorization under President George W. Bush following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. A similar program was approved by the secretive FISA Court beginning in 2006 and renewed numerous times, but the 9th Circuit panel said those rulings were legally flawed.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Valved Face Masks and Face Shields Offer More Comfort but Less Protection

Source: NYT > Health

Article note: That pretty solidly comes down on the "Aerosol (or at least fine particle) transmission" side of things, which at this point should surprise no one. Good mask seals with electrostatic trapping layers on your face, HEPA filters and/or UV-C in air handlers, fresh circulating air where possible.

While any face covering is better than nothing, clear plastic shields and masks with exhale valves allow large plumes of particles to escape and may also expose the wearer to more germs.

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Teens’ anxiety levels dropped during pandemic, study finds

Source: Hacker News

Article note: Mayyyybe this is an indication we aren't generally doing schooling/adolescence in a particularly healthy way, if "lockdown due to horrible disease" is less stressful than the usual way of things. I've been noting for a while that I expect one of the good pandemic side-effects will be improving a generation's relationship with being alone / self entertaining / self scheduling and also with food because they're not being competitively over-scheduled all the time and are participating in food preparation.
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