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Mystery 'Interceptors' Capture Our Calls: Experts

And they don't appear to be NSA installations

(Newser) - Security experts have been spotting so-called "fake cellphone towers" of unknown origin that could be spying on us. The "interceptors," as they're called, trick our phones into thinking they're regular cell towers; then, according to VentureBeat , they can listen to our calls or pave the... More »

NSA Got Too Big to Understand: Report

New docs say NSA 'frequently and systematically' abused system

(Newser) - As Edward Snowden's trove began to leak, President Obama was quick to reassure Americans that Congress and the courts kept the NSA's powers and activities in check. But newly declassified documents from the 2009 probe into the agency's wiretapping show that—in 2009, at least—the NSA'... More »

Verizon, AT&T Make a Pretty Penny Off Wiretaps

Government pays Verizon $500 a month to eavesdrop on a line

(Newser) - If you think your cellphone bill is bad, just be thankful you're not the snoops at the FBI or NSA. Tapping a single Verizon customer's phone costs the government $775 for the first month, and $500 for each month thereafter, while AT&T charges a $325 "activation... More »

Berlusconi Gets 1 Year in Wiretap Case

But prison sentence won't start immediately

(Newser) - Silvio Berlusconi was sentenced to a year in prison today in his wiretapping case, but don't look for him to be wearing stripes anytime soon, Reuters reports. He can appeal the decision, and a jail term won't start until all possible appeals are exhausted, ANSA explains. This sentence... More »

Watchdog: Feds Illegally Spied on Americans

Electronic Frontier Foundation sues for documents to prove it

(Newser) - A watchdog agency is suing for the release of documents it says show the feds violated their own 2008 wiretapping law. The suit by the Electronic Frontier Foundation is based on statements made by Democratic Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, reports Wired . Wyden didn't say exactly how the government violated... More »

NYT: Bo Wiretapped Communist Party Chiefs

Eavesdropping expanded to include party bigwigs

(Newser) - Another twist in the scandal shaking China : Bo Xilai was ousted as Chongqing party chief not just for his link to the murder of a British businessman, but for eavesdropping on a scale that would shame British tabloids, reports the New York Times , citing Communist Party insiders. The wiretapping program... More »

Wikipedia Italy Shuts to Protest Press Curbs

'Idiotic' law would require websites to publish corrections after any complaint

(Newser) - Wikipedia shut down its Italian-language version for two days this week to protest a law widely seen as an attempt to spare Silvio Berlusconi embarrassment by muzzling the press and online criticism. The law, currently being debated in Italy's parliament, would require websites to publish a correction within 48... More »

Blagojevich to Judge: Too Many Gaps in Wiretaps

Ex-governor's lawyers cite too many gaps in tapes

(Newser) - Rod Blagojevich’s lawyers have asked a federal judge to forbid prosecutors from playing FBI wiretaps of the former Illinois governor during his upcoming retrial, the AP reports. The lawyers say the tapes—key evidence for the prosecution—are unreliable because of long gaps in the recordings, which remove the... More »

Feds Push for Stronger Law on Wiretapping

Government can't keep up with phone companies' upgrades

(Newser) - Law enforcement and counterterrorism officials are pressing to change a 1994 wiretapping law to force wireless carriers to make their phones easier to wiretap. Telecom companies have been upgrading their services faster than the government can keep up, the New York Times explains. Now an Obama administration task force is... More »

Die Hard Director Gets Year in Jail for Lying

Judge does not feel bad for John McTiernan

(Newser) - John McTiernan, director of Predator and Die Hard, got one year in the slammer yesterday for lying to an FBI agent and a judge. McTiernan admitted to hiring private investigator Anthony Pellicano in 2006 to wiretap a producer he had worked with, but later lied about his association with Pellicano... More »

Feds Want to Make It Easier to Eavesdrop Online

Bill seeks to expand government's wiretapping power

(Newser) - The feds want to overhaul wiretapping regulations to expand their ability to eavesdrop online, reports the New York Times . The Obama administration plans to submit a bill to Congress next year that would require all service providers to be technically capable of wiretapping the communications they enable, from encrypted BlackBerry... More »

Man Arrested for Taping Gun-Toting Cop

Prosecutors around the country try similar tactics

(Newser) - Anthony Graber is facing 16 years in prison because he had his video camera rolling in the wrong place at the wrong time. Graber was filming on his motorcycle when a cop pulled him over—by cutting him off and waving a gun at him. When Graber put the video... More »

Look Out, Wall Street: Feds Using Wiretaps Now

Insider trading case against Galleon is first to use the tactic

(Newser) - The bad boys of Wall Street better watch their mouths. Federal prosecutors used wiretaps to make their case against hedge fund giant Raj Rajaratnam this week, and they plan to use them again in similar investigations. Wiretaps may be common when going after the mafia, say, or terrorists, but their... More »

Obama Supports Extending Patriot Act Provisions

Administration tells Congress it wants to renew surveillance laws

(Newser) - The Obama administration supports extending three controversial provisions of the Patriot Act that are due to expire at the end of the year,  AP reports. The Justice Department tells Congress in a letter they will back preserving the post-9/11 law's authority to access business records, monitor so-called "lone... More »

Judge: CIA Used Fraud to Get Wiretap Case Dismissed

Orders Tenet to explain misleading actions on wiretap suit

(Newser) - US District Judge Royce Lamberth released hundreds of secret filings yesterday, saying the CIA falsely claimed that state secrets were involved in a 15-year-old wiretapping lawsuit, McClatchy reports. The agency allowed the judge to continue believing that an agent involved in the case was undercover, when in reality that cover... More »

Yoo: Wiretaps Were Legal and Necessary

President had right to violate 'obsolete' FISA, Bush lawyer writes

(Newser) - Last week the inspectors general of the Justice Department, CIA, and other agencies suggested the Bush administration violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, singling out lawyer John Yoo for memos justifying warrantless wiretapping. Yoo defends himself today in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, writing that FISA was "an obsolete... More »

Your Cell Phone May Be Eavesdropping

(Newser) - Be careful where you leave your cell phone. All it takes is a quick download—the equivalent of loading a ringtone—to install software that wiretaps your calls and even records ambient noise when the phone is unused. Experts say a surprising number of spouses, co-workers, and parents are using... More »

Save the Trauma Excuses: You Failed on 9/11

Cheney, Rice too often resorted to the extreme without doing their homework

(Newser) - Ironically, Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice have defended their post-9/11 decisions by appealing for empathy, arguing that only those in charge on that bleak day could understand. “I have little sympathy for this argument,” Richard Clarke, who was there, retorts in a withering piece for the Washington Post,... More »

Pelosi: I Knew Harman Was Wiretapped

(Newser) - Nancy Pelosi said today she knew fellow California Democrat Jane Harman was the subject of intelligence wiretaps, but she couldn’t spill because the information had come in a confidential briefing, CQ Politics reports. “Even if I wanted to share it with her I would not have had the... More »

Meet Blago's Political Hero

(Newser) - A photo of Richard Nixon with Rod Blagojevich has surfaced in what Time Out Chicago describes as an ironic twist of fate and a reminder that politicians should rely on better role models. “In 1980, most twenty-something men probably pined to bump into one of the Beatles or maybe... More »

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