Menu
Senator demands answers about DOJ mobile phone surveillance planes

Senator demands answers about DOJ mobile phone surveillance planes

A program that reportedly tracks mobile phones from airplanes raises privacy concerns, Markey says

A reported mobile phone surveillance program at the U.S. Department of Justice raises serious privacy questions, a U.S. senator said Monday.

The DOJ program, which reportedly uses cell-tower mimicking equipment on airplanes to target the mobile phone locations of criminals, raises questions about how many "innocent" people's mobile phone data is also swept up in the operation, said Senator Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat. The DOJ has not confirmed the existence of the surveillance program, reported in a Wall Street Journal article on Thursday.

"Americans are rightfully disturbed by just how pervasive collection of mobile phone information is, even of innocent individuals," Markey said in a statement. "While this data can be an important tool for law enforcement to identify and capture criminals and terrorists, we must ensure the privacy rights of Americans are protected."

Markey on Monday disclosed a letter he sent to Attorney General Eric Holder asking for details about the program.

"We need to know what information is being collected, what authority is being used to collect it, and if and how this information is retained and stored," said Markey, a long-time advocate of personal privacy.

A DOJ spokesman didn't immediately return a message seeking comment on Markey's letter and the surveillance program.

In the letter, Markey asks Holder how long the surveillance program has operated and if the DOJ has any other mobile phone surveillance programs that use airplanes, helicopters or drones. He asks how many times the DOJ has conducted mobile phone surveillance operations over U.S. cities.

The senator also asks if the DOJ has a court order that allows the surveillance and whether the agency has informed judges about the number of "innocent people whose information may be swept up."

He also asks what kind of information the program collects and whether there are any limitations on what kinds of investigations the surveillance can be used for.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags U.S. Department of JusticeU.S. Senate4gtelecommunication3gsecurityEric HoldergovernmentprivacyEd Markey

Featured

Slideshows

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow Electronics introduced Tenable Network Security to local resellers in Sydney last week, officially launching the distributor's latest security partnership across Australia and New Zealand. Representing the first direct distribution agreement locally for Tenable specifically, the deal sees Arrow deliver security solutions directly to mid-market and enterprise channel partners on both sides of the Tasman.

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel
Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel

Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel

Typically, the New Year brings new opportunities for personnel within the Kiwi channel. 2017 started no differently, with a host of appointments, departures and reshuffles across vendor, distributor and reseller businesses. As a result, the job scene across New Zealand has changed - here’s a run down of who is working where in the year ahead…

Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel
​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?

​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?

Digital Transformation (DX) has been a critical topic for business over the last few years and IDC is now predicting a step change as DX reaches macroeconomic levels. By 2020 a DX economy will emerge and it will become the core of what New Zealand industries focus on. From the board level through to the C-Suite, Kiwi organisations must be prepared to think and act digital when the DX economy emerges in 2017.

​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?
Show Comments