STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
If You Encrypt Your Cellphone the Terrorists Win
By Roland Peterson - April 30, 2015

If you value privacy and want to encrypt your cellphone to keep hackers and other snoops from rifling through your personal business then you are aiding terrorists. At least that's what the top prosecutor in New York City said recently when discussing new encryption software released by Apple and Google that is specifically for the operating systems on cellphones.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. recently made his views clear on a popular New York radio station.

"Apple has created a phone that is dark, that cannot be accessed by law enforcement even when a court has authorized us to look at its contents," said Vance on "The Cats Roundtable" show on WNYM 970 AM. "That's going to be the terrorists' communication device of choice."

It's been well-documented that U.S. government officials at all levels – from local law enforcement all the way up to the National Security Agency (NSA) – couldn't give a rat's derriere about Americans' constitutional right to privacy and that anything we write, say or look at is fair game for them to monitor, track and store indefinitely – whether or not you have been accused of a crime.

In a damning report published on June 14, 2014, independent media outlet "Pro Publica" reported: "Listening to your phone calls – which requires showing 'probable cause' of a crime – to monitor the numbers for incoming and outgoing calls in real time, as well as the duration of the calls. Instead, they can get a court to sign off on an order that only requires the data they're after is 'relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation' – a lesser standard of evidence. The government can also get historical phone records with an administrative subpoena, which doesn't require a judge's approval."

And it's worse than that. Local police now have highly advanced tools to help keep an eye on all of us.

For example, earlier this month, Baltimore, Md. police were outed as using sophisticated cellphone surveillance equipment that was given to it by the Obama administration.

According to a report in The Baltimore Sun, the device, called Hailstorm, has been deployed 4,300 times since 2007. It's an upgrade from the so-called Stingray technology, which came under fire a year ago when police started using it indiscriminately to track and monitor cellphone usage in cities across the country.

And for anyone who still believes that police are only using this technology to fight crime and stop terrorists, Edward Snowden conceded to comedian John Oliver, who recently travelled to Moscow to interview the NSA whistleblower, that nothing is sacred anymore.

If you have sent a dirty picture to your wife or girlfriend within the past few years, it's a fair bet that the super spy agency has a copy of your intimates filed away.

It's still illegal for the NSA to snoop on Americans, but since major Internet and cell companies regularly send information through international data channels even your most private moments can be nabbed, perused and stored without your consent.

"The good news is, there is no [government] program named 'The Dick Pic Program,' " Snowden joked to Oliver. "The bad news is they are still collecting everybody's information, including your dick pics."

This article contributed courtesy of Rabble Magazine.

Posted in STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
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