Were police snooping on Women’s March protesters’ cellphones? Too many departments won’t say


Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/01/27/were-police-snooping-on-women.html

The Women’s Marches last weekend were collectively some of the largest protests ever conducted in the United States. While we would love to have some hard data to be able to inform the public about what type of surveillance being used on the demonstrations, unfortunately many of the police department’s we have requested in our Cell Site Simulator Census have either not given us any documents yet, or used sweeping law enforcement exemptions in order to not disclose some of the more sensitive, and important, information about their use.


In and around the DC march Verizon cell service was zero. Carriers such as TMobile or AT&T were working well for many.

There were several temporary cell towers up and down the Mall left over from the inauguration. Were they snooping? My money is on yes.


The dates in quoted text don’t seem to be very coherent?


Ah, the oh-so-rare Reverse Betteridge.


I observed some suspicious behavior on the cell network while at the Asheville NC march.

The only other time I’ve observed similar behavior on the cell network was in Baltimore MD during the riots.


It sounds like the enforcement provisions are just, you can sue if they don’t abide by it. That means that the taxpayers pay even if you have enough money to follow through and win the judgement. In other words, there’s no disincentive at all for government organizations to ignore this whenever they feel like it.

We need to put some teeth in these laws, which will probably have to be done with ballot initiatives, because politicians will never do it.

For example:
After the required time period is up, send a reminder. Wait a week and send another reminder, whereupon the manager of the person responsible for responding to the request is notified. If you have to send a third reminder, both that person and their manager are sacked for gross negligence, and banned from further employment with the government, while the police chief is notified. If they don’t respond after that, sack the chief, too, pour encourager les autres.


Not snooping. Listening.


If law enforcement agencies don’t start making themselves accountable and more transparent about what they’re doing and why, they’re going to find a lot of people switching off their cell modem and switching to less regulated communication protocols for protests.


Some in Boston. No voice or data. If there were simulators in use, they were doing a good job of simulating a jammed and overwhelmed network. So I doubt there was a lot of cell phone traffic to monitor, since everyone was going on the assumption there was no service. In fact, we had to make sure everyone in our group remained in visual contact!


Alternative and equally unprovable so equally appropriate headline:


As if there isn’t a history of law enforcement attempting to spy on protesters?




My wife and I were in DC for the march and both have ATT and had no cell service. We tried to message and update our friends and had zilch. We both thought it was bacause of the large crowd that caused an overload. I also had wondered if was intentionally blocked.


in this case the headline should read “Were police snooping on Women’s March protesters’ cellphones¿”


Well, in the DC march, we could not make calls, surf the web, tweet, Facebook or text. That leaves location…


I have Credo (Sprint) and couldn’t do squat.


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