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News Link • Privacy Rights

New Eavesdropping Equipment Sucks All Data Off Your Phone

A small group of congressional staffers were handed "clean" cellphones and invited to start calling each other while, off to the side, a Berkeley communications researcher named Kurtis Heimerl turned on his gear. After a few minutes, Soghoian told the staffers to hang up—and then Heimerl played back their conversations. Not only that, the two men told the staffers, the digital eavesdropping equipment was capable of sucking all the data from their phones—emails, contact files, music, videos—whatever was on them.

Since then, reports that federal, state and local law enforcement agencies are using such devices to track suspects and criminals without warrants have percolated in the national media, thanks largely to Soghoian, now the American Civil Liberties Union's top technologist on privacy issues. (A federal appeals court ruled June 11 that the Fourth Amendment protects people from such intrusions.)

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