Maryland's Attorney General: you consent to surveillance by turning on your phone


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Write the saddest story you can using only 4 words

Just carry around a bricked iPhone and you will be okay…
So umm yeah way to go America… or something.




The issue is whether Andrews can claim an objectively reasonable expectation of privacy in information which he was voluntarily broadcasting to third parties at all times.

Next: you consent to surveillance by emitting infrared radiation


If real-time tracking location of government officials was available to the general public - just like taking photos and videos in public areas - you can bet your sweet ass that this augment would be different.

I can’t wait until Stingray/Dirt Box tech is open source and out for everyone.


As of 2001, that was no longer true.


information which he was voluntarily broadcasting

once you lose the right to encrypt it, you’re basically begging to be surveilled. /s


Well, that’s promising, at least.


That’s correct. I also consented when I emerged from hiding under my covers and got out of bed.


I was thinking of something along the same lines:

  1. Find the AG’s home through publicly available records (or by simply watching a public official traveling in public)
  2. Access their Wi-Fi signal (since it’s publicly “visible” in the same sense of all electromagnetic radiation)
  3. Use packet sniffer and other tools to monitor said radiated data
  4. Post everything on a blog

The privileged should not have a monopoly on privacy.


I believe they can track phones when they’re switched off.


The only way to stop those communications (even with the phone off) is to place it in something that blocks the signals.


It depends on what your definition of “Off” is. Sleep mode? Definitely traceable. Powered fully down? It might be possible to Wake-on-WAN, if you are specifically targeted. You could also have a pwnd phone that isn’t as off as it says it is. Powered Off with the battery removed? That’s off. However, I’d bet that being powered down during the event might be circumstantially used against you.

Better would be to leave “your” phone at home, turned on, and once you are away from places identifiable to you, turn on your sanitized phone. but that doesn’t solve the problem of total surveillance of everybody always. For that we’d have to change how the law treats our relationship with companies.


Cell phones are tracking devices that make phone calls (to borrow from J. Appelbaum). The physical netowrk can’t route calls to you if it doesn’t know what towers you’re closest to. The job of a cellphone is necessarily to track you everywhere, and sometimes tell you someone wants to speak with you. And, the government’s argued many times that your cell phone, as your agent, is sending requests to a variety of towers owned and operated by third parties who may or may not have any business relationship with you, basically begging for a connection. The only thing that makes people think it’s private is that 1) by analogy to a landline phone, it really should be, and 2) people may not understand that’s how it works.

The whole case hinges on expectation of privacy, which comes down to the question, “how many people actually know that that’s how a cell phone works, really?”


“He was breathing. It was his choice, he didn’t have to breathe. So we were within our rights to teargas him.”


The title is confusing me. What does consent have to do with it? Isn’t an essential component of surveillance that the person being monitored doesn’t know about it?

Maybe the real question is what information are authorities allowed to gather without a warrant.


Consent here would supposedly negate expectation. You can’t consent to be monitored and not know you’re being monitored, and it’s hard to believe you expected privacy when you know you are being monitored. The state will argue (and has argued) that person is informed (including about how cell phones work) and consents when they use a cell phone to those conditions; such consent negates the possibility that they actually believe they have privacy, so tracking them cannot be a violation of their (non-existant) privacy.

But since most common law is based on a hypothetical, reasonable person, the question becomes whether such a person would actually expect (and not just want) privacy. In other words, does you average person actually understand how and why a cell phone is necessarily different from a landline phone? (My guess would be “no, they do not.”)


Hey man - every time I turn on my phone, there’s a big green consent button appears, sayin’ “Guys - monitor me please - right, OK?!”

What’s the issue people? Dontcha have the big green button too?


Same BS double-standards as ever, like when the judge ruled we have no expectation of privacy from people going through our curbside garbage then went ballistic at protesters who collected her curbside garbage to go through it.


I look forward to an internet live feed of all data emanating from said AG’s phone.