Your Cell Phone Can Mark You as a Criminal, Ukraine Protest Division

Alarming news from the Ukraine protest scene, via the New York Times:

The Ukrainian government used telephone technology to pinpoint the locations of cellphones in use near clashes between riot police officers and protesters early on Tuesday....

Ed Yourdon / Foter.com / CC BY-SAEd Yourdon / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

People near the fighting between riot police and protesters received a text message shortly after midnight saying “Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”

The phrasing echoed language in a new law making participation in a protest deemed violent a crime punishable by imprisonment. The law took effect on Tuesday.

This law and a package of other legislation passed by pro-government political parties in Parliament appeared modeled on rules in neighboring Russia, which has pioneered the coordination of legislation tightening rules on free speech and public assembly with technological capabilities....

Prepare for an American future of texts like "you are entering a known prostitution/drug dealing zone"? "You appear to be gathered together with other readers of this terrorist-supporting web site"? "You appear to be gathered together with other raw milk enthusiasts/tax protesters"? Remember "metadata"? It's useful stuff! (That is, content of communications is not needed for government to try awful things with their surveillance.)

Ronald Bailey wrote a January 2013 feature for Reason that you must read on "Your Cell Phone is Spying on You."

Hat tip: David Krueger

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • JW||

    "But, I was in my apartment watching TV! The riot was in the street outside my building."

    "That's what they all say." BONK.

  • ruby0015||

    my roomate's aunt got paid $18116 last month. she is making income on the laptop and bought a $333100 condo. All she did was get blessed and put in action the information made clear on this site

    ---------- J­U­M­P­2­­6.­­ℭ­­Oℳ

  • Snark Plissken||

    Prepare for an American future of texts like "you are entering a known prostitution/drug dealing zone"? "You appear to be gathered together with other readers of this terrorist-supporting web site"? "You appear to be gathered together with other raw milk enthusiasts/tax protesters"?

    The Land of the Free taking a page out of a corrupt Ukraine's playbook? Never would happen, ha ha, ha ha, ha...oh shit.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Has anyone heard from Groovus Maximus lately?

  • ||

    Nope. Not a peep.

  • Snark Plissken||

    Honestly a bit worrying, you'd think he'd check once in a while.

  • db||

    Perhaps he was a plant. Like Epi. Oh, wait, that's a "fruit."

  • Snark Plissken||

    The fruit of Epi must must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of nerds and aging prostitutes.

  • ||

    Aging?!?

  • Dweebston||

    You'd prefer "decrepit"?

  • ||

    "Senescent"

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Check with sloopy the next time you see him on. I know they were corresponding about baby Reason. I asked Sloop if he'd been in touch (that was about 2 months after he disappeared here) and Sloop said he was busy getting set up and spending time with the lady doctor.

    But, again, that was months ago.

  • Rotbard||

    I heard he was dead but maybe that's just a Ukrainian legend.

  • ||

    'Smith!' screamed the shrewish voice from the telescreen. '6079 Smith W.! Yes, you! Bend lower, please! You can do better than that. You're not trying. Lower, please! That's better, comrade. Now stand at ease, the whole squad, and watch me.'

  • Dave Krueger||

    The U.S. is much more sophisticated. You will get a notification that includes an address to mail your check to pay the prescribed fine or, in more serious cases, a court date. Hell, maybe just a summons telling you to report to the jail for immediate incarceration.

  • ||

    Incarceration is so 20th century. Disintegration chambers will be much more efficient.

  • Hugh Akston||

    REMAIN IN PLACE UNTIL POLICE DEATH SQUAD ARRIVES

  • Daily Beatings||

    "Dizz Jeeter! You are harboring a fugitive by the name of Not Sure! Please pullover and wait for the police to incarcerate your passenger! Thank you for your help!"

  • db||

    Future cell phones will have audio frequency paralysis rays. Or maybe they'll just be bluetoothed to the explosive surgically implanted in your cervical spine at birth.

    Or maybe they'll remotely operate a valve in your aorta. A..."heart plug," if you will.

  • JW||

    It will bring new meaning to getting poked on Facebook.

  • JW||

    Actually, I picture it more like this.

  • AustinRoth||

    But wait. We can TRUST our government to never do such things. We have the Constitution, and King Obama and his Royal Court looking out for us.

    I feel so safe.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Certainly I can see warrants being emailed (if they aren't already).

  • ||

    Prepare for an American future of texts like "you are entering a known prostitution/drug dealing zone"? "You appear to be gathered together with other readers of this terrorist-supporting web site"? "You appear to be gathered together with other raw milk enthusiasts/tax protesters"?

    Time for burner phones, I guess. The more of us they force into a grey area just because we don't want to be endlessly spied on, the better.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Episiarch is going to have his colon wrapped in a flexible copper mesh so that he will have a perfect Faraday cage for his cell phone.

  • db||

    I'm sure there is an ambulance chaser out there waiting for this...

  • ||

    Going to?!? There are many advantages to a copper-wrapped colon, Hugh. You should try it. It's exhilarating.

  • db||

  • db||

    That work unless your job requires you to carry a company provided cell phone. Yes, I know...you're always "free" to choose a job that doesn't require it...like fry cook at McDonald's.

  • ||

    Turn of the work phone and turn on the burner if you're going anywhere sketchy.

  • db||

    Well, if you're goijg anywhere sketchy, it is advisable to not even bring your work phone. The issue is strange gaps in the tracking of your work phone can indicate suspicious behavior in themselves.

  • Brett L||

    So I should tie it to my cat and let him roam the house?

  • db||

    Never trust your private data to wandering pussy.

  • Snark Plissken||

    Threadwinner.

  • Brett L||

    Thanks Charlie Chan.

  • Loki||

    Well, if you're goijg anywhere sketchy, it is advisable to not even bring your work phone.

    Yep, just leave it at home turned on. If anyone asks about your wearabouts, just say "I was at home, you can check the location data on my work cell phone. I always have that on me and never go anywhere without it."

  • db||

    "Well, we remotely activated your phone's microphone and all we could hear was a rerun of "Girls."

  • Loki||

    "Then we remotely activated the camera on your Xbox One's Kinect and saw that no one was in the room."

    Shit...

  • ||

    LOL, turn off the work phone? HAHAHA

  • ||

    Look, nicole, I'm not responsible for the fact that your job on the sex hotline requires you to have your phone on you at all times. Maybe you should become a drug dealer instea...oh wait.

  • db||

    Nikki, we have been trying to reach you all evening! Please make sure.you stop in at HR when you come in tomorrow.

  • BakedPenguin||

    "I was just interviewing those hookers for a job satisfaction survey, officer."

  • waffles||

    this terrorist-supporting web site

    I was told this was a support group for liberty-minded individuals!

  • db||

    Some people are so afraid of the freedom.and responsibility to make one's own decisions in life that liberty==terror.

  • Loki||

    Liberty-minded individuals are terrorists as far as DHS is concerned.

  • Ted S.||

    this terrorist-supporting web site

    Peter King's congressional site?

  • Killaz||

    Not one hundred percent convinced that this actually happened, but the assholish attitude about people who use Google glass in the comments is not a positive sign for the public tolerance of technical advancement.

    http://betabeat.com/2014/01/fe.....e-theater/

    From the comments:

    Steve Warren · Top Commenter · Works at Comedian
    Anybody who would wear Google Glass in public should be mistreated deliberately and often. If they are wearing a baseball cap backwards AND Google Glass they should be summarily executed.
    Reply · 44 ·
    · 2 hours ago

    Donald Maginnis · Top Commenter · The University of Alabama
    Having a big problem with who I dislike more. Overreaching government officials or dooshes walking around with Google Glass. Is there any way we can have them both die in this scenario? Or at least have them both in a lot of pain?

  • Snark Plissken||

    That stuff wears off pretty quick, I think. I remember when people were embarrassed to get a call on public transport and would get dirty looks, and now it's just ubiquitous.

  • Killaz||

    What I'm really concerned about is inequity mongering. It's no fair some guy has a device that allows him an advantage that I don't have. This isn't a big deal yet in technology, but the more augmentation allows an advantage, say longevity, super intelligence, your own cloned organ harvests, etc., the more likely there will be demands to regulate those technologies out of existence.

  • ||

    Oh yes, the "it's not fair" crowd will go apeshit on any transhumanism modifications that people get. They never, ever stop. They're going to drag everyone down to the same shitty level if it takes them forever.

  • Pope Jimbo||

    Harrison Bergeron has your back.

  • JW||

    I remember when people were embarrassed to get a call on public transport and would get dirty looks, and now it's just ubiquitous.

    Never saw this in DC. From day one it was "HAHA! Look at me, you prole bitches!"

    I can recall when the new Startac came out. A guy double parked his Jag in front of the Verizon Wireless store and went in. 1994, I think. The clerk told him it would be $750. "I'll give my old phone to my CFO."

  • ||

    The commenters then texted from their phones while driving.

  • Killaz||

    Lets hope Don Cheadle got them all on the same route to crash in to one another.

  • Zeb||

    There are always people like that. I've heard far worse directed at people who wear Crocs in public.

    Hell, I have that kind of disdain for people who walk around in public with Bluetooth earpieces attached to their heads.

  • Brett L||

    Obamacare is going to save idiots from jail and prison. As soon as they start making better decisions.

    A 29-year-old inmate in Chino, California, waits in a cage for medical treatment or psychological counseling. (Reuters)

    Ron Sanders may hold the record for the fastest round trip from and back into jail. Released after a year in a San Francisco county lockup—just one in a series of drug-related sentences he’d served over the years—he headed right back to the streets he knew best. “Four hours after I got out, I got me a 40 [ounce bottle of malt liquor] and a rock of crack,” says Sanders, a wiry African American man with a scar on his forehead and a pair of spotless Nikes on his feet. “Then I turned around, and there was a cop right behind me.” He was back behind bars before the day was over.

    Even the author trips over it: Making services available is one thing. Getting people whose judgment isn’t that great in the first place to actually use them is another.

  • SugarFree||

    "Now I have a catapult trebuchet HO HO HO"

    Ukrainian protesters get medieval on riot cops.

  • Brett L||

    Goddamn.

  • ||

    YIPPIE KAI YAY, MOTHER FUCKER

  • db||

    Fuckin'A.

    I helped some LARPers make a trebuchet at a party once. They wouldn't listen to my considered engineering opinion on the strength of a 1" metal pipe vs. a 4" piec3 of.wood as the pivot and so it launched a pumpkin strqight up about 30 feet before bending.in half and collapsing in on itself.

  • Brett L||

    Yeah. I had to build one for a physics project. You could tell whose parents were engineers. And involved. Pretty sure the other two guys in my group were engineers. But we made a hybrid using a water balloon launcher tensioned by a falling weight. Decent range, not at all accurate (or precise).

  • Zeb||

    This guy: http://www.yankeesiege.com/ is pretty close to where I live. Pretty cool to watch that thing go.

  • Dweebston||

    Never bring rubber bullets to a trebuchet fight.

  • db||

    Although that video doesn't appear to shiw.it in use.

  • SugarFree||

  • db||

    Kewl.

  • SugarFree||

    They seem to be using two designs, one a classic trebuchet with a swinging sandbag as the counterwieght and catapult that uses what looks like bungee cords as the tension.

  • db||

    If I were setting one up it would have a clutch flywheel spun up by a lawnmower engine with wire rope and pulley on a lightweight aluminum truss lever.

  • waffles||

    You just made me slightly aroused.

  • db||

    Your summer project ideas, right here!

  • db||

    To elaborate, one could cast a brake drum from a.pickup truck.into a solid concrete flywheel. Then use the hub and axle to.drive a drum that takes up the wire rope to drive the short arm of the lever. It could be controlled with an Arduino that drives a hydraulic cylinder to apply power through the brake shoes from the flywheel to the axle, giving precise.power control based on brwke ("clutch") engagement depth and duration.

  • Loki||

    *Adds Punkin Chunkin contestants to list of potential terrorists* /NSA

  • Tim||

    The government loves us.

  • Killaz||

    NAACP, doing a jig on Massa DNCs porch steps, yet again:

    http://www.nationalreview.com/.....ew-johnson

    A prominent NAACP official recognized Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by labeling black senator Tim Scott a puppet for the Republican party. “A ventriloquist can always find a good dummy,” said Reverend William Barber II, the president of North Carolina’s NAACP chapter.

    The State reports that Barber’s remarks came in a speech in Scott’s home state of South Carolina. “The extreme right wing down here,” he said, “finds a black guy to be senator and claims he’s the first black senator since Reconstruction and then he goes to Washington, D.C., and articulates the agenda of the Tea Party.”

    Last year, Barber gained national attention leading the “Moral Monday” protests in opposition to North Carolina Republican governor Pat McCrory.

  • wareagle||

    seriously, when do we start treating the NAACP with all the respect afforded the jezebel crowd. Both strike the same notes, rely on the same themes, and reach for the same goal. Because South Carolina's Jim Clyburn is no puppet for the Dems, not at all.

  • Dweebston||

    People outside the executive branch still accord the NAACP more respect than the jezebellies? The latter at least have the good sense to cloak their asinine political messages in obscurantist language and indignant I JUST CAN'T articles.The NAACP has been towing the same cliched lines with little innovation for decades, fighting loser battles with poor saps like Zimmerman.

  • Dweebston||

    Oops

    towing the same cliched lions

    FTFM

  • wareagle||

    yes, they do. Presidential nominees are practically required to pay homage to the group.

  • Loki||

    “A ventriloquist can always find a good dummy,” said Reverend William Barber II, the president of North Carolina’s NAACP chapter.

    Why yes, the DNC can always count on some NAACP asshat to their dummy.

  • Zeb||

    Any black person who strays from the Democratic party is a puppet or Uncle Tom. Yet the fact that the vast majority of blacks vote consistently Democratic doesn't suggest at all that they are being manipulated.

  • Killaz||

    You see what they are doing here?

    They like to claim the Tea Party consists of only racist, underclass whites. Then when black people* show interest in the movement, they are labeled Uncle Toms. Their social pressure against any black person who isn't a member of the Democratic Party, not the Tea Party excluding anyone, is why the diversity of the TP is not as across the board as it could be.

    * This also true of whites who learn to fear being labeled a redneck can be damaging to their social advancement if they don't jump through the right hoops.

  • ||

    and claims he’s the first black senator since Reconstruction

    So...is he not the first black senator since Reconstruction?

  • Zeb||

    He is not. Interestingly, all the other ones I can think of are from Illinois (Braun, Obama, Burris).

  • Killaz||

    The context here is the first one since Reconstruction to represent South Carolina.

  • db||

    Ah. Wow, so the NAACP guy here is the one wilfully distorting the truth to slag his opponent. How many will uncritically repeat this lie?

    Or did some idiots pick up on the first Black SC sen since Reconstruction and idiotically r3move the SC part and then the NAACP rep picked up on that as his fodder. Either way.it.is hard to see the actual Senator making such a dishonest and esily debunked claim.

  • Killaz||

    My play on the obnoxious 1980s phrase below is meant in jest, btw, I just realized it could come across more bitchy than intended. The NAACP guy was correct in usage, but confused on his logic, the first black senator since Reconstruction'. Reconstruction was a regional matter. By using the word, he is already delineating the context to be considered as not involving the whole of the United States. But then he drops in the word 'claim' which I can only interpret to be a dig on the Senator's status as a black man, given that he recognized the delimiter here, he would not mean the three former senators from Illinois.

  • Zeb||

    Then they should have said that. In the passage quoted above that is not at all clear.

    It is pretty reasonable to interpret "since reconstruction" to mean since the time in which reconstruction happened. As far as I can figure out there was never another black senator from South Carolina. So that leads me to believe that it is intended to refer to the whole country.

  • Killaz||

    Okay, this needs to be pointed out, underlined, taken to the bank, and kept safe, because no one outside of the South ever gets this right. If you are not a native of this region, Reconstruction is not a part of your history. It is our thing. That we share a national identity obfuscates this for you and you trip up on it every time, but it doesn't here.

  • Killaz||

    I use to blame Reconstruction for many of our more pronounced character flaws, but then I learned about the tradition of eye poking duels that predates the Reconstruction where men would gash each other in the eye with sticks if they were too cowardly for a proper duel, so I stopped doing that.

  • Killaz||

    Reconstruction didn't occur in Illinois -- hint, hint.

  • db||

    Does he actually claim to be? Because that would be pretty stupid.

  • Killaz||

    See my post above. Reconstruction should have been the tip off here. It's a Southern thing, you wouldn't understand.

  • db||

    So, to Southerners, "Reconstruction" means only in the South? Nothing can be said to have happened in the North during Reconstruction? If that's the common.hnderstanding of.it South of Mason-Dixon, fine, but it.would help understqnding.if that were cleqrly stated.

  • Killaz||

    The Reconstruction is not a period of time in the nation's history. That is a misuse of the word even when historians do this too as a matter of custom and convenience (history is what happens to people and what effects their descendents, profession be damned), what it is it is an event. It would be like referring to Hiroshima as period of time in the history of the World while taking it out of the context of the actual event that happened in the city in Japan.

  • Zeb||

    It would be weird to say, but it makes perfect sense to refer to someone as the first black senator to be elected since the nuking of Hiroshima.

    Since there were black people elected to congress during reconstruction, in the states in which reconstruction happened (happy now?), then there was a fairly long period in which no black people were elected to congress, it does make sense to talk about "since reconstruction" applied to the whole country even though reconstruction only happened in the former confederate states.

    I may be missing some context, but based only on what you quoted above, I'd say that's quite a reasonable interpretation.

  • Killaz||

    Say, for instance, if we refer to the 1880s as the Industrial Period. It would make since to do so for New York, but for North Carolina, much less so, because, if anything the state was reverting back to an agricultural based economy.

  • Killaz||

    since sense

  • Mainer2||

    I think I just lost a few IQ points seeing the names of those three intellectual heavyweights at the same time

  • Zeb||

    He's not even the first black Republican senator since reconstruction: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E.....rooke,_III

  • Killaz||

    Reconstruction did not occur in Massachusetts either.

  • Zeb||

    No, but reconstruction did happen at a certain time. And that time was the same time everywhere. "Since Reconstruction" refers to a time period, not a place.

    I don't know shit about the south. I've never even been further south than northern VA. But I'm still pretty sure that reconstruction happened in the same space-time as the rest of US history, so "since reconstruction" does meaningfully refer to a particular time period even outside of the south. As there was never previously a black senator from South Carolina, it would be weird to call him the first black senator from SC since reconstruction.

  • Killaz||

    What they are referring to here in relation to modern racial politics when talking about the Reconstruction is a two part sequence of events. The first is the time of occupation, when the federal government installed its own preferred office holders, and to be fair, even in elections where no appointees were made, blacks who were then allowed to vote made damn sure those associated with abolition, Republicans, got elected. This also included many black office holders. The second phase occurred when the traditional Democratic power structure got its act together and reversed the gains made under the occupation, by limiting voter rights, and gerrymandering to ensure those with civil rights oriented sympathies did not hold office. When referring to 'since Reconstruction' in reference to a black politician in the South, this history is definitely what is pointed towards because its in the context of blacks not being allowed to hold offices until once again in the modern era, not to any event, hell, lets be frank, injustice perpetuated elsewhere. Do you really want to share in that history, I'll bow to your argument if you like and give you a piece of that pie. personally, I don't think that would be fair to you, but if you want it, you can have it.

    * I did mistake Franklin Moses for a black man. A residence hall I often visited in SC in my youth was named after him. He was in fact a Jew.

  • Zeb||

    I don't claim any history that I haven't experienced. Whatever my ancestors did or did not do has nothing to do with me.

    But you are right, I don't have any personal connection at all to the South or its particular history. I am sure that Reconstruction has a lot more significance to many from the south. But what a lot of people from the south seem not to realize is that most Northerners don't care and don't spend a lot of time thinking about the aftermath of the Civil War.
    The reason I read it they way I did was that Reconstruction in the south was the only time and place anywhere in the US before the mid 20th century that blacks were elected to national office.

  • rts||

  • Paul.||

    Students discover technology can be used against them! No fairz!

    Vote Smart, vote S-Mart!

  • ibcbet||

    You will get a notification that includes an address to mail your check to pay the prescribed fine or, in more serious cases, a court date.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement