Project #57967 - week 6 discussion board

Instructions: reply to the three different posts (Post1, Post 2, and Post 3) by saying if whether or not you agree with the post by discussing it. Also, you use in line cititation in each reply for each post. Also, Please refer to which post you are responding to by writing ex. Reply for Post 1. These reply posts can be short. The reply of each post should be between 200-350 words.

Post 1 by david18. What is a pen register?

 

According to the Cornell University Law School, a pen register is a device that “produces a list of the phone numbers of Internet addresses contacted, but does not include substantive information transmitted by the signals”. One thing to take note of, stated by “CDT’s Analysis of S. 2092”, is that this device only records the outgoing calls whereas the trap and trace devices are the ones that store all the incoming calls. Even though the pen register is able to record the phone numbers it is not capable of storing the conversation between the two lines as well as whether or not the call was answered. According to the article mentioned above, the nice part about having this information of stored phone numbers, it can give a lot of information about a person as far as what they enjoy doing, who they call most frequently and what kind of habits they have. Also, even though there is a 1986 federal law which establishes a court order that needs to be issued in order for one to have the privilege of using such a device, the bar set for approval is really low making it almost useless. 

 

The same source listed above mentions how pen registers were used before the Internet was very popular among the population and if the government were to be using this device for the Internet, they might even be able to track all the emails a person gets. This makes me think, how far the government can go with tracking until they actually violate ones privacy because being able to track the incoming and sent emails of a user seems like it would be too personal. Knowing someone’s email addresses compared to phone numbers can give way more information on them. Although in some cases it would seem to be a very smart thing to allow the government to have access to this information in order to protect citizens from any harm, a question always pops up asking who has full access to this data and how can it stay private not being publicly exposed.

 

An article called “Internet Law – Is the Pen Register and Trap and Trace Devices Act Applicable to the Internet?” gives a little more information how the process works when trying to obtain data from a pen register. It also, talk about the Pen Register and Trap and Trace Devices Act, which became active in 1989. As technology keeps improving overtime and more users are able to have access to the Internet, it is interesting to know if ones information can still be kept safe from being hacked into using any electronic form today or is paper form still the most secure way of keeping information private. Many apps these days also try to track ones location at a specific time which can give even more information on a person and can even be life threatening.

Post 2 by WilliamWhy did the TALON database spark controversy?

The TALON database (short for Threat and Local Observation Notice) was a database run by the United States Air force to keep track and help evaluate threats to the United States. TALON was created in 2002 in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001. The United States Department of Defense announced the shutdown of TALON on August 21 2007. The news article from the Defense Department, titled Defense department to Close Talon System, stated that TALON was being shut down because “… reporting to the system had declined significantly, and it was determined to no longer be of analytical value”.

The reason that the TALON database caused a controversy occurred in December 2005; when major news outlets reported that database had been compiling reports on peaceful protest groups inside of the United States. The American Civil Liberties Union article No Real Threat: The Pentagon’s Secret Database on Peaceful Protest is a response to the Department of Defense announcement that TALON was to be shut down. In the article the American Civil Liberties Union gives a more in depth idea of what was happening with the TALON database. After some Freedom of Information Act requests, sent in by the American Civil liberties Union, the disclosed information revealed approximately 2821 reports were about US person information; and 186 of those reports were about anti-military protests/demonstrations in the United States.

In the Documents section of the American Civil Liberties Union article it gave summaries of some of the peaceful protest/demonstration reports. What astounded me was that most of these reports stated that these protest were flagged for violence, vandalism, and civil disobedience, contrary to what information in the rest of the report points out. A particular example of this was a War Resisters League protest, where the group had requirements of protesters to not use harmful language and not damage any property, was flagged for civil disobedience and vandalism.

As a result the TALON database was reviewed and this information was purged from the system.

As side note:

When thinking on all of this the song Alice’s Restaurant by Arlo Guthrie came to mind. Particularly the end of the song in the recruitment center where he states that saying “You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant” as starting a movement.

Post 3 by Tyson11. Why was the Supreme Court decision in Nardone v. US so important?

 

"Fruit of the poisonous tree" was a term coined during the US Supreme Court case "Nardone v. US". The legal term describes, loosely, evidence obtained illegally. Before 1934, when the US congress made wiretapping illegal, people's telephone conversations were not protected by our constitution. After 1934, when congress passed the Federal Communications Act, making the interception of communications illegal. The case of "Nardone  V. Us" was the first case to reverse the Supreme Court's first decision on wiretapping.  

The syllabus of the court case doesn't only make the conversation recorded inadmissible but also all the evidence procured through the use of information gathered. The burden of proof is on the accused and that the finding needs to be known during discovery and not during the jury trial. Followed by the Weiss V. United States case, the Nadrone case was the first one regarding wiretapping. 

Over the next few years, the FBI still conducted wiretaps without prior authorization or warrants and then during World War II the NSA observed all communications traveling out of the country. Though, evidence was inadmissible obtained through wiretaps, the FBI would have two different files. One for legally obtained evidence and the other for wiretapped evidence. This is still the same as using wiretapped evidence because evidence could be cross referenced. 

The FBI and the NSA never stopped their illegal practices of obtaining evidence. To this day with different Acts and national security issues, the government has figured out a way to allow unlawful surveillance of it's citizens. It's impossible to get a proper evidence discovery as the whole amount of evidence is picked through and given to the prosecuting attorneys under in-house scrutiny. While the Nardone case made it impossible for local and small law enforcement entities to pursue cases with illegal evidence, it didn't make any difference to the national security bureaus.  

"Mass surveillance in the United States" lists plenty of different surveillance programs that were enacted after the 1939 Supreme Court ruling in the Nardone case. The most recent instances are PRISM and "Room 614a", both could be considered unauthorized and include corporations cooperating with the government to violate people's rights. There's countless other different programs on that list, some dating back as far as the early 1900s. While some information can be seen as inadmissible there's still evidence that can lead to looking in different places and even putting suspects into predicaments, where they can be searched lawfully.  

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Due By (Pacific Time) 02/16/2015 06:00 am
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