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Feds tracking credit cards, store purchases without warrant

 
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Deckard
Apprentice Truthseeker


Joined: 17 Oct 2010
Posts: 164

PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 9:11 pm    Post subject: Feds tracking credit cards, store purchases without warrant Reply with quote

Where are the "constitutional conservatives" on this? MIA as usual...

Feds tracking credit cards, store purchases without warrant: report
by Daniel Tencer

December 2, 2010
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/12/feds-credit-cards-without-warrant/

Federal law enforcement routinely tracks individuals through their credit cards, cell phones, car rentals and even store customer loyalty programs without obtaining a warrant, an online privacy activist has discovered.

According to a document (PDF) obtained from the Department of Justice by online privacy activist Christopher Soghoian, federal agents working on a criminal investigation can draw up their own paperwork requesting that credit companies and retailers give the agents real-time access to purchases made by a particular person.

No court reviews these orders, and the only role courts play in the process is to issue a non-disclosure order to the retailer or credit card company involved, meaning the person being tracked will never be notified of the surveillance.

The process is known as a "hotwatch," and it can be used to spy on cell phones, credit card use, purchases at stores when a customer loyalty card is used, car rentals, and flight ticket purchases. The process "sidestep[s] any Fourth Amendment protections," Soghoian writes.

Ryan Singel at Wired notes the document doesn't set out standards for when an agent can obtain a "hotwatch" order. "The Justice Department told Soghoian the document is the only one it could find relating to 'hotwatches' which means there is either no policy or the department is withholding relevant documents."

Reporting on his blog, Soghoian, a grad student at the University of Indiana and noted online privacy activist, suggests the government has been working to keep "hotwatches" secret. He said he first came across a mention of "hotwatches" while researching a 2005 court case that tested the limits of the government's ability to collect data from cell phone companies.

"A search of Google, Lexisnexis and Westlaw revealed nothing related to 'hotwatch' orders, and so I filed a FOIA request to find out more," Soghoian writes. "If the government 'routinely' applies for and obtains hotwatch orders, why wasn't there more information about these?"

Soghoian says it took him a year-and-a-half to get his answer from the Justice Department. The department initially blocked the release of the document outlining "hotwatches," but Soghoian successfully appealed the decision.

Singel reports that, while federal law enforcement agencies are obligated to report on the number of wiretaps they issue, including national security letters, they are evidently not required to report on the use of "hotwatches."
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wartsttocs
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Joined: 19 May 2009
Posts: 2090
Location: the woods of new hampshire

PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

More "Change You Need"
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vern
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Joined: 02 Mar 2009
Posts: 1680
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 6:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Jan. 28, 2005

Tukwila, Washington firefighter, Philip Scott Lyons found out the hard way that supermarket loyalty cards can come with a huge price. Lyons was arrested last August and charged with attempted arson. Police alleged at the time that Lyons tried to set fire to his own house while his wife and children were inside. According to the KOMO-TV and the Seattle Times, a major piece of evidence used against Lyons in his arrest was the record of his supermarket purchases that he made with his Safeway Club Card. Police investigators had discovered that his Club Card was used to buy fire starters of the same type used in the arson attempt.
For Lyons, the story did have a happy ending. All charges were dropped against him in January 2005 because another person stepped forward saying he or she set the fire and not Lyons. Lyons is now back at work after more than 5 months of being on administrative leave from his firefighter job.

The moral of this story is that even the most innocent database can be used against a person in a criminal investigation turning their lives completely upside down.

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2005/loyalty_cards.html

In a way, Lyons was the lucky one. He got to see tangible proof that the friendly Club Card in his pocket was being used against him.

Just about everyone else quietly cancels their privacy and risks their freedom every day by carrying these cards.

I have been complaining and warning people about these cards since they were introduced - ever since Radio Smack started asking for your phone number to sell you a 2-pack of AA batteries.

People could have boycotted the stores that charged higher prices unless you volunteered to be tracked, but they didn't listen to those crazy people who freaked out about it.

Because one store got away with it, the rest followed.

A well-timed protest could have stopped it.
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hottpotat0
Novice Truthseeker


Joined: 25 Sep 2008
Posts: 88
Location: MICHIGAN lakeside

PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

onward we are dragged towards the state of OCEANIA of 1984
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