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privacy Archives

Everyday Technology That Spies on You – Available to Law Enforcement and Countless Unauthorized Users

By Robert G. Stahl Esq., NJ & NY Criminal Defense Lawyer posted in GPS, Warrant, Search and Seizure, Privacy, Spying on Thursday, January 10, 2019

Recent cases continue to reveal the advancements in technology and how they are used, both properly and improperly, to track our movements, actions and private lives.

First, new cars have increasingly sophisticated technology. Roadside assistance features and other devices track our vehicles’ locations, speed and other relevant activities. Most vehicles are now equipped with Event Data Recorders, also known as a vehicle black box. Local police departments are now equipped to retrieve and analyze the black box data and use it against you in court. As of May 2018, almost all U.S. vehicles come standard with a black box installed.

Tags: GPS, Warrant, Search and Seizure, Privacy, Spying

Rapidly Expanding Use of Smart Devices to Solve Crimes

By Robert G. Stahl Esq., NJ & NY Criminal Defense Lawyer posted in Criminal Defense, Criminal Investigation, Fourth Amendment, Search and Seizure, Privacy, Spying on Thursday, October 4, 2018

Over the past several months I have written about the increasing use of every day technology that automatically tracks our movements and records our conversations. Cellphones ping off cell towers that give the government access to our daily movements through information stored by carriers like Verizon, AT&T and Sprint. Alexa and other smart home devices can record our conversations and keep track of our search histories. Smart phone apps and Fitbits that track movement, heart rates and other physical activity can be used to track locations, times and other physical attributes that law enforcement can access to investigate a variety of crimes.

Tags: Criminal Defense, Criminal Investigation, Fourth Amendment, Search and Seizure, Privacy, Spying

Warrant to Search Places or To Electronically Intercept Communications - What's Required?

By Robert G. Stahl Esq., NJ & NY Criminal Defense Lawyer posted in Wiretap, Search and Seizure, FISA Warrant, Warrant, Federal Investigation, Federal Law Enforcement, Criminal Investigation, Spying, Privacy on Monday, February 5, 2018

Much has been written and tweeted about this past week concerning this topic. Politics aside for the moment, what does the government need to demonstrate to a court that a place should be searched, or a person’s phone calls should be intercepted?

Tags: Wiretap, Search and Seizure, FISA Warrant, Warrant, Federal Investigation, Federal Law Enforcement, Criminal Investigation, Spying, Privacy

Alexa, Siri, Cortana – Are you Recording Me?

By Robert G. Stahl Esq., NJ & NY Criminal Defense Lawyer posted in Recording, Criminal Defense, Cell tower, cellphone, Search and Seizure, Fourth Amendment, Privacy, Spying on Wednesday, October 18, 2017

With the advent of “smart homes and devices,” we are now in a world once only imagined in science fiction. Our phones now track our every move, contain our internet search histories and record vast portions of our lives through photos, texts, and encrypted messages.  Home security devices and cameras record not only strangers coming to your home, but also you and your invited guests.  Baby monitors, smart kitchen devices like refrigerators, and home devices like Amazon’s Echo, are always on and potentially recording or transmitting.  And therein lies the problem. 

Anything attached to the internet – the Internet of Things – can be hacked, intercepted or legitimately recorded.  Since these devices are in the privacy of our own homes or businesses, they have the ability to capture our most intimate and private conversations and actions.

Tags: Recording, Criminal Defense, Cell tower, cellphone, Search and Seizure, Fourth Amendment, Privacy, Spying

Airport and Border Searches – Know Your Rights

By Robert G. Stahl Esq., NJ & NY Criminal Defense Lawyer posted in Privacy on Wednesday, April 12, 2017

You’ve just enjoyed a great vacation in Europe and are now on your way home. After suffering the hassles of long lines and security at the airport and a cramped flight in coach, you arrive back at Newark Airport. You patiently wait in line for the Customs and Border Entry check and sail through after casually chatting about your trip with the officer who stamps your United States passport and welcomes you back home. While waiting at the luggage carousel and hoping that your luggage hasn’t been lost, you’re approached by a Customs and Border Protection officer (“CBP”) and asked to come with him to another room. In that room, CBP officers ask you about your travels - why you were there, how long you were gone, who did you meet and what did you do. You explain that it was a simple, straightforward holiday trip that you had saved up for over the past year. The officers then ask for your cellphone, iPad and computer. You ask why and they say that it is routine. They examine the devices and find that they are all password protected. They ask you to unlock your devices so that they can examine the contents. You are shocked, you are a U.S. citizen with constitutional rights to privacy. Doesn’t the Fourth Amendment protect you from unreasonable searches and seizures, and require the officers to have a warrant supported by probable cause? Usually it does, but not at the border. When you re-enter the United States, you enjoy significantly fewer protections against searches and seizures.

Tags: Privacy

Are Your Electronic Devices Spying on You?

By Robert G. Stahl Esq., NJ & NY Criminal Defense Lawyer posted in Spying, Criminal Investigation, Investigation, Intelligence, Hacking, Evidence, Privacy on Thursday, March 9, 2017

Between the President’s accusation that the prior President tapped his phones, and WikiLeaks recent exposure of alleged CIA hacking tools and techniques, much has been reported in recent days about the government’s ability to intercept and listen to our conversations over our cellphones; computers; smart home devices such as televisions and baby monitors; products such as Alexa and Amazon Echo; encrypted messaging apps such as Signal, WhatsApp and Telegram; and home security cameras and systems. All of these devices provide potential ways for the government and hackers to enter our seemingly private worlds and eavesdrop. The difference between the government and a hacker, however, is that the government must obtain a court authorized warrant to do so.

Tags: Spying, Criminal Investigation, Investigation, Intelligence, Hacking, Evidence, Privacy

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