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Expectations of privacy (Was Re: Security Consult. Needed)
| I heard a talk this past week [...]
| Basically, every phone in the government buildings is subject to being
| listened in on. Everyone there knows this and knows beforehand that
| their calls are most likly being taped. There is no privacy in calls
| from these buildings and since one party knows this (ie the gov. individual)
| it is leagal to tape and and listen in. Of course the other person
| is not necisarily aware of this but that's his/her- problem (according to law).
| Now when governement individuals start carrying cell phones, I suspect
| that the sames rules will apply. (?)
| I also heard (I may be wrong) that there is a law that says people should
| expect that their cell phones will be overheard but that any information
| obtained from such a converstation can not be used in court.
The government (as do most businesses) asserts it's ownership of its
property. Among this property are the phones && phone systems that it
has purchased. Since our government is concerned about how our tax
dollars are spent, it has regulations forbidding personal use of its
property by it's employees. Since this is the government, these
regulations take the form of law - both civil and criminal.
Since they have outlawed personal use, it follows that the only
legitimate use will be that dealing with government business. And
there is nothing wrong with a business being concerned with how its
operations are being conducted. Consider taping of E911 calls,
listening in on IRS help lines to ensure no useful information is
divulged, compiling statistics on just how long people will wait on
hold for someone in the DMV, and the like ... :-)
(As an aside, government people who deal in security usually answer
their phones with "Hello, Mr/s Smith speaking, this channel is not
secure" to alert the caller that the connection may be monitored)
Contrary to Lile's fears, while the government reserves the right to
listen to its employees' phone calls, it most certainly does not
routinely tape all such calls. (hmmm, several hundred thousand
employees times ?? hours phone use per day == how many tons of audio
The laws of this land (USoA) also state that it is illegal to record
phone conversations unless at least one of the parties is aware of the
action (or there is a court warrent authorizing a wiretap). Since all
gov't phones are subject to monitoring, all gov't employees are told
this, and thus the law is adhered to. Still no reason for paranoia.
With today's cell phones there is *no* security - anyone with a scanner
can listen to (at least one half of) your phone calls. Phone
Encryption Devices (like the device that used to be called Clipper
before Intergraph objected) will at least get rid of these casual
eavesdroppers - never mind the other problems it has.
The FCC has laws that regulate what you can do with information
gathered from "private" radio transmissions - any conversations that
are not directed at *you*, but that you happen to overhear. One of
these regulations states that while it is not illegal to receive these
transmissions, but it is illegal to _divulge_ information about it.
It is still somewhat of an open question as to whether a cellphone user
has an expectation of privacy, or whether the phone's transmissions are
somehow "public". If the later, then no warrent would be needed...
This issue happens to be the "enhanced security" being proposed in the
FBI's Digital Telephony Bill - in an effort to cover up the gaping
erosion of privacy mandated by this proposed bill, it offers to make
divulging a cordless phone's calls illegal. Thanks, but no thanks.