By on May 6, 2021

A recent report from The Intercept has confirmed some of our biggest fears about connected vehicles. Apparently, U.S. Customs And Border Protection (CBP) has struck a deal with Swedish mobile forensics and data extraction firm MSAB for hardware that allows the government to not only siphon up vehicle data but also use it as a backdoor to access the information on your phone.

While this shouldn’t be all that surprising in an America that’s seen the Patriot Act pave the way for all sorts of government spying, the arrangement represents another item in a toolbox that’s frequently used against regular citizens. CBP is alleged to have spent $456,073 on a series of vehicle forensic kits manufactured inside the United States by Berla. Internal documents suggest that the system was unique and of great interest to the U.S. government, with a multitude of potential applications pertaining to automotive data. But what surprised us was just how much information carmakers thought their products needed to keep tabs on and how that plays into this. 

From The Intercept:

According to statements by Berla’s own founder, part of the draw of vacuuming data out of cars is that so many drivers are oblivious to the fact that their cars are generating so much data in the first place, often including extremely sensitive information inadvertently synced from smartphones.

Indeed, MSAB marketing materials promise cops access to a vast array of sensitive personal information quietly stored in the infotainment consoles and various other computers used by modern vehicles — a tapestry of personal details akin to what CBP might get when cracking into one’s personal phone. MSAB claims that this data can include “Recent destinations, favorite locations, call logs, contact lists, SMS messages, emails, pictures, videos, social media feeds, and the navigation history of everywhere the vehicle has been.” MSAB even touts the ability to retrieve deleted data, divine “future plan[s],” and “Identify known associates and establish communication patterns between them.”

As if that’s not enough, the system is also said to be capable of pulling really detailed items, like when and where you turned on your headlamps or opened/closed a door. There are also data logs for vehicle speed, gear selection, steering inputs, ignition cycles, and more — all linked to your positional data and the time. Manufacturers have been cagey about just how much information modern vehicles take in and share but the answer appears to be “literally as much as we can engineer into them.”

And now it’s available to anyone who can afford one of these kits, including government agencies, despite being an absolutely massive volition of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

MSAB’s contract with CBP was active from June of last year until the end of February and reportedly worked Customs And Border Protection’s Laboratories and Scientific Services on training. The Swedish firm stated that it has no customer policy or governance on how its products/services are used. Considering that MSAB was previously helping teach people how to crack smartphones, that’s hardly a surprise.

The company has only recently branched out into automotive espionage and previously found itself extremely popular with law enforcement agencies around the world that wanted easy access to the private data contained within mobile devices. But with the automobile gradually metamorphizing into a motorized computer that beams data back to the manufacturer, the new businesses was shaping up to be a lot like the old one — only with fewer privacy protections in place, brand new data points to swipe, and a backdoor into networked devices (e.g. phones, tablets).

“The scale at which CBP can leverage a contract like this one is staggering,” explained Mohammad Tajsar, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California.”

The Intercept report goes on to reference an NBC article that gives numerous examples of police and government agencies leveraging vehicle data for investigations, often without warrants. That piece also quoted Berla founder Ben LeMere as he outlined the insidiousness of how the data is harvested in the first place on The Forensic Lunch podcast.

“People rent cars and go do things with them and don’t even think about the places they are going and what the car records,” he explained. Your phone died, you’re gonna get in the car, plug it in, and there’s going to be this nice convenient USB port for you. “When you plug it into this USB port, it’s going to charge your phone, absolutely. And as soon as it powers up, it’s going to start sucking all your data down into the car.”

“What they’re really saying is ‘We can exploit people because they’re dumb … We can leverage consumers’ lack of understanding in order to exploit them in ways that they might object to if it was done in the analog world,'” suggested Mr. Tajsar.

Automakers are complicit in this because there’s absolutely no way they were unaware of the type of information that’s being gathered. While many will urge them to deploy better security measures, your author has been averse to data harvesting since day one. It’s predatory and leads to egregious privacy violations like the one you’re reading about now. We’ve covered quite a bit on the topic ourselves, but those interested in learning more will also find a wealth of information in The Intercept’s full report.

[Image: Virrage Images/Shutterstock]

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99 Comments on “Report: The Government Is Already Using Connected Cars to Spy on You...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    May the chip shortage continue.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      May China take over Taiwan already!!

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        The Taliban, or similar, look set to take over both. Along with the rest of Degeneratopia. Thank goodness, the way things are going.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        Taiwan has a simple, but effective way to make the Emperor, er, president with no term limits. think twice about invading. As long as Taiwan has advanced missiles it can say,

        “Nice Three Gorges Dam you got there. It would be a shame if something were to happen to it.”

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          Lorenzo,

          China has some very advanced missile systems that will take out Taiwanese defenses before they even get to work.
          Scenario 2. A number game. China sends enough drones or cruise missiles into the Taiwan to make them spend all the missiles. And even if they don’t spend all, they will have to reload. In this 15 minute window, nice airplanes will come and finish the job.

          Everyone is talking about Taiwan as of some united nation that wants to be independent from China but reality is that up to 40% of Taiwanese want to unite with China. And what if one such soldier or officer will refuse to push some button at some critical time?

          In fact, they have a political party there that has a goal to unite with China, although under conditions of China democratization. But what “democratization” means in Asia, is totally different from the West. See Japan.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        I must’ve missed the Chinese military demonstrating all of their expeditionary capability over the last 50 years. It would be a foolish thing to invade China. China invading somewhere else without a shared border and on hostile turf facing an adversary that has been training for that exact scenario for decades? Jury is out on that one. It’s hard to fight on someone else’s turf. Figured with all your experience you’d get that.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        You going to go fight and eat soup with the PLA this time Slavuta?

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          Art,

          it is funny even. I’ve said for decades, China does what China normally do. This is US gov. and corporations who did this. Decades ago I said, these policies will hurt back. But Corporate government short term hedonism was more important than long term domestic stability. And now we have fruits.

          I know Chinese as shrewd mo-fos. You will never win with them. Once they have a leverage on you, you’re done. So, shoot first, ask questions later. You should remember how soviets divorced with them. If this is of any lesson for America.

          I am speaking here in practical terms. Chinese take over of Taiwan is only matter of “when”. We can yell all day long but their official status is still “part of China”. Or disputed territory, if you like this better. We better get this technology going in the US. Otherwise, why do we even need a silicon valley?

      • 0 avatar
        Old_WRX

        slavuta,

        “May China take over Taiwan already!!”

        That might have to wait some. China is busy taking over the US and Canada right now.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          Old_WRX

          the only reason I said that is because until that happens (and China will never let Taiwan) slip away without regret, until that happens we will never create another reliable hub, or better – hubs, where we can dig our chips. Preferably, in the USA. And we constantly will be shaking, what if China…

    • 0 avatar
      dantes_inferno

      >May the chip shortage continue.

      No worries in the case of my vehicles.. ;)

      Went the restomod route on my older, non-connected vehicles. Best decision I made.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Spying on citizens enjoys impressive bipartisan support among our politicians.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Wow, just wow.

    I’m not up on communication habits of terrorists but I’m going to guess they use burners probably without bluetooth, so the chances of catching Osama 2.0 with this are short to nil. So instead, everyone from alphabet agencies to the punk next door can pulls logs of my car’s ignition cycles and how often I open or close a door? Are you f***ing serious?

    So in order to be impacted by this, one needs to plug in their smart tracking device, sync it with bluetooth, or both?

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    What a coincidence. The CBP just happens to be our most corrupt agency, federal, state or local. They’re just looking to secure their agent’s incriminating data floating around before anyone else does.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Agreed, and they operate outside the Fourth Amendment.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        True but it goes much deeper. Isn’t it curious the CBP is diving into data mining, head first, long before the CIA, FBI, and other Feds even thought of it? The criminals the CPB specialize in, throw away their Walmart flip-phones every 10 minutes. They’re not driving around playing with their phones, even if they’re not outside the US.

        There’s massive corruption in the CPB all the way up the ranks. It’s not that they’re bought by the drug cartels necessarily, though its not hard to do. The drug cartels are within the CPB, born in the US, raised on both sides of the border.

      • 0 avatar
        Carrera

        Yes, it is called border search authority. Nothing neferious about it.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          As long as you buy the idea that the Fourth Amendment is a nice-to-have, not a need-to-have, you’re correct – nothing nefarious going on.

          The problem isn’t the surveillance – it’s the lack of oversight and regulation of the people doing the surveillance. History shows the government will abuse the power to do surveillance if the abuse is allowed.

          • 0 avatar
            Carrera

            Fourth Amendment is wonderful to have, I agree, everyone wants to be safe and secure from the government in their house, car, etc but at the border, things are a bit different.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            This goes way beyond the border. So when you get there, would you unlock and hand them your phone for inspection? Oops you already did that and they know more about you than god.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    No surprise here. I’m sure the infotainment setups in our cars are designed purposely to grab as much information about how and what we do in our cars as possible. While I doubt that Uncle Sam really cars about *most* citizens – though corporate America sure does – the fact that such surveillance can occur without the user’s knowledge is very troubling. Don’t expect any change and frankly, we are also part of the reason why. This story might get 30 comments or so. Contrast that to stories here that focus on Trump, climate change, or EVs where a hundred or more comments are the norm. That means most don’t care. None of the Millennials that I know of care about such data mining. They are looking at the convenience of what their tattletale devices provide – usually for “free”…and we all know there is no free lunch. Manufacturers and governments alike see that most of the population just doesn’t care. At least some of the more draconian parts of the “patriot” act had sunset clauses. This situation will only get worse.

    I read a story about a software application that could tell by analyzing 26 “likes” on Facebook what the gender, sexual orientation, political position, and a few other things are about that person. Just look how Google has changed over the years. They are now one of the worst snitch and steal companies out there. Do yourself a favor – use DuckDuckGo as a search engine. While not quite as good as Google, for the vast majority of your search needs it finds what you are looking for. And they don’t track you.

    • 0 avatar
      conundrum

      Been using DuckDuckGo for three years now, and it’s now essentially as good as Google when I try to bore in on a technical subject to get more detail. If you want to see album covers for an artist for the last 50 years, well, not so much.

      I bought a new Mazda almost two years ago without Navigation and I haven’t used Android Auto yet. The system goes bananas when I charge my phone, clattering away with pleas to download it on the phone. Screw it. I know my way around this minor corner of earth.

      I know GPS is preloaded into the car, because I have a steep driveway, and it happily tells me the elevation change on one screen, the compass works like a treat on another, and the electric clock is as inaccurate as hell until you GPS synchronize it. Location is turned off on my phone at all times. My life is my own to the extent I can make it so.

      Screw the government and corporate nosey parkers with nothing better to do than work out how many times I p!ss a day and figure out my life story and political orientation from that. Never signed up for Facebook or Twitter either — the sociopaths can mine their data on others as they simultaneously cause people to hate each other, while lauding the trivially trite. People like to show off the most boring things and seem proud of it. Are we better off than China in the eavesdropping stakes? We tell each other we are, but the likelihood is that we’re not. Just data points to be gathered for seamless integration into the system of control, which to my way of thinking is not due to political parties, but bureaucrats with career prospects, the faceless folk who earn a living from spying on everyone and simultaneously dream up breathless PR on why it’s good for us. As if.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Thankfully most democratic governments are too incompetent and/or bureaucratic to review, check or make use of much of the data that they could access.

        However global corporations are much more efficient at ‘mining’ data. And many of these global corporations are dependent upon non-democratic nations for production and/or supplies.

        In effect globalization/free market capitalism rather than increasing our freedom/privacy is actually helping to curtail it.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    “When I purchase a new phone, I open it up from the back and I cut electrical connection to the microphone. And if I need to speak, I use an external microphone, which I can disconnect when I am finished”

    — Edward Snowden

  • avatar
    slavuta

    We’re dumb either way. They take our money, and instead of building hospitals or whatever, they use it against us. I need to think, how can I stop paying federal tax.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      I’m willing to bet at your income bracket you ain’t paying squat. Trolling for the Kremlin isn’t that lucrative.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        you’re naive. Artem Sheinin, who works on government TV, makes over $1,250,000. Many other people there make half of that.
        Kremlin trolls are paid well.
        What do you think, my bracket is?

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          High enough to drive a decade old economy box Mazda I suppose.

          Now maybe if you combine all of the trolls posting under your username we’d get somewhere.

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            But Art, I had never made a car payment in my life. In 2019 I just went and bought 2019 highlander… How many trolls?

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Yes, may the ship shortage continue.

  • avatar
    2manycars

    I don’t have a connected car or a smartphone, so as far as I’m concerned there is nothing to see here. One has to to opt into being spied on this way.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      The car is likely recording you and its OBD information, the only silver lining there is on all but the latest cars getting that information out is difficult. Remember when the Model S (or maybe 3) was bricking because they were logging so much it shorted out the NAND hard drive? They may be logging everything for later analysis but I’d imagine somehow they have a way to upload it. Whether its from the car real time or not I cannot say.

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    I’m an automotive Luddite and proud of it. OnStar is physically disconnected in the V and the trucks and boat have zero connectivity. My phones do but if BB wants to watch me get a coffee on the way to work, fly at it. Cheaper than a $150,000 cop car following me around.

  • avatar

    I don’t know why ACLU is so worried about it. This feature will be used to collect data about terrorist, external and internal alike, white supremacists and Trump supporters. I do not think it will affect ordinary law abiding citizens and minorities. More important issue is the systemic racism and lack of gender diversity in CIA and FBI. We are getting dangerously behind of China in all aspects of national security.

    • 0 avatar
      teddyc73

      Did that make you feel better lumping Trump supporters in with “terrorists, external and internal alike, and white supremacists”? I’m a Trump supporter along with 75+ million others and the vast majority, so many one could almost say all, are none of those things. YOu leftists are such sick reprehensible people. That is the only way to describe you. I’m sure the people burning cities and looting, most of which are probably leftists, you’re just fine with. But hey, you got your dementia patient in the White House. GOod luck with that.

    • 0 avatar
      teddyc73

      Your proof of “systemic racism” in the CIA and FBI. How does “diversity” make anything better? Experience and qualifications are what make things better. FYI, Trump supporters are law abiding citizens and there minorities who are Trump supports. Typical leftists, perfectly ok with Big Daddy Government spying on you.

    • 0 avatar
      wolfwagen

      Inside
      What if the feature is used to collect data about ANTIFA (Which are using fascist tactics to get their way) or the Burn Loot and Murder group and Socialist scum bags? if it works for one group it can work for all. All it takes is a regime change. If you think it will not affect law-abiding citizens you are dumber than a box of rocks.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      C is like dinosaur. C++, OOP, Java, C#. Although, I prefer Jawa <– with a w

  • avatar
    FalconRTV

    It was creepily remarkable to read the log from the Chinese Tesla involved in the recent purported brake failure incident. Governments and spy agencies will be frothing with excitement about the amount of data being collected by modern vehicles. Especially tech-laden EVs

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Anyone who downloads information about me whether I am in my home or vehicle will be extremely bored. Don’t drive fast and my day to day activities are nothing out of the ordinary.

    • 0 avatar
      Dynasty

      I suppose you would be totally fine also with the state coming into your home and looking through all your files, drawers, and cupboards too?

      • 0 avatar
        285exp

        Jeff is unconcerned about the potential for civil liberties being violated because he’s a Good Person, and they would never do something evil to Good People. Nope.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.

          youtube.com/watch?v=d-7o9xYp7eE

          • 0 avatar
            Steve Biro

            Exactly, 28 Cars. I have too many friends and relatives who believe that. We are already losing this war. Soon, you won’t be able disconnect your vehicle’s internet connection without bricking the vehicle or turning off some critical function.

  • avatar
    brn

    The story isn’t so much that the government is spying on you. The story is that the private sector has made it so anyone can spy on you.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Information is the new currency

    • 0 avatar
      ras815

      Exactly – the government has always been able to get the information they wanted on their targets, and despite what conspiracy nuts might think, they don’t really care all that much about what the vast majority of citizens are up to.

      Private companies, though? It’s literally their business model to know as much as possible about every current and potential customer. And when the motive is profit, there are practically no ethical boundaries. So they learn everything about you, and then treat that information as a commodity. That’s the scary part.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        The free market is starting to sort this out though. Apple.is using it as a.selling point now.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          What’s the selling point?

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            The latest iOS has some abilities to block a lot of the tracking that Facebook and other third party apps use. They are positioning as the “we make our money off hardware, not your data” company.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I have it on good authority they have made a lot of their past money selling user data to dot gov, I have no doubt that will continue regardless if they block a rival. Speaking of which, how long until rivals like Facebook find a way around this block?

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            It prevents apps from getting data from other apps. That is core to the current business model of Facebook, Google and the usual suspects. It basically changes the collection those companies do to an “opt in” model. It isn’t perfect (Apple still has their own targeted ads but I’ve seen first hand what they collect vs. Android…it isn’t on the same planet).

            I know people in the business that you are referring to. The government isn’t really in the “paying for data” business. They have other means.

            I’m not a die hard Apple fanboy unless we are talking click wheel iPods, but they do seem to be more interested in selling hardware than data versus those building Android handsets.

            A company like Apple is big enough to move the needle on data privacy and you can bet they wouldn’t do it if their market research didn’t say it was important to people.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      But it is government who have created, and is enforcing, an environment where people can’t simply route around the tech used to spy on them.

      In a free world, where anyone can drive, and sell, anything to anyone without a constraint in the world; any carmaker bundling mandatory spykit with their vehicles, would simply sell zero vehicles to anyone who don’t specifically get a kick out of being spied on, harassed and oppressed by Massa.

      But instead, in Dystopia: In order to ensure utterly useless ambulance chasing leeches get to live high off of loot stolen from their betters, and totalitarian dregs get to totalitariate (among other things) ………….

  • avatar
    Ol Shel

    My Datsun has eavesdropping-blocking features built in.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Would you be fine with the state coming to your home and looking thru your drawers and files? I don’t think anyone would be ok with that but at least under current law that requires a court order. The state doesn’t need to come to your house they can track your activities thru your electronic transactions. I don’t stay up nights worrying about what the Government or a business is going to find out about me once they monitor my activities. Every time I go in a public place or take public transmit I am being monitored by a camera. Every time I buy something I am sharing my information especially when I use a credit card whether it be on line or in person. I don’t like it but I do not have anything to hide and I do not know how to prevent this.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      I listened to one person who worked in gov. spying program. He said that the cameras identifying you are not very good at it. This is your phone that gives you away. So, your phone+camera – they have you. Only camera – not so much

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Well, this all should make you feel right at home in old country

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Your friend is wrong. If the database is good, the cameras are quite good. I’ve not seen them in spy applications, but in security applications they can ID you behind a windshield at like 20 mph if the data on the backend is good.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          “Your friend is wrong.”

          “my friend” is the CIA dude who worked on such programs. Actually we saw how it works when FBI went to completely wrong people because camera “identified” a woman

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            Your friend is full of it or the CIA isn’t as smart as the other alphabet agencies I’ve seen deploy it effectively for security purposes.

            Or you are full of it.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          I have no doubt that CIA is full of it. With the education level in AMerica, you shouldn’t expect any science skillful people to exist at all. After all, teacher unions are about teacher unions, not children. Why learn science if we have racial theories to learn. Current incompetency across the board in america is the result of the shortage good education. and even then, best of the rest are going into private industry. some losers go to work for CIA. And it is already reached critical point. A will only get worse now. This is why you see America acting more and more like an elephant in the china store. There are no good diplomats or secret services. So, their only way of work is to force every citizen – here, drive this car and use this phone so we can spy on you. How advanced!!

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    The main problem here isn’t that “your car can spy on you” – the same is true of your phone (landline included), bank account, Internet records, and on and on. But none of that is anything new – ask Al Capone, who got taken down not for being a Mafioso, but for being a tax cheat, as proven by his bank records and “books” – and if the government wants to use those records against you, it’s going to need a warrant, court order, or probably cause.

    The bigger problem is with the agency described in this story – the CBP. These folks operate in a HUGE Fourth Amendment gray area because the people they chase are generally non-citizens. Therefore, the issue is really an agency that operates basically above the law; seems to me that this, not whether it’s using your car to spy on you, is the real point.

    Unfortunately, people are all too ready to trade away privacy for “safety.” This is the kind of thing that needs to be addressed by legislators and the courts.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Didn’t the American government address it by creating a fear of ‘external terrorism’ and use that to abrogate many civil rights for both American citizens and non-citizens? And how justified was/is the fear of external terrorism in the USA. Particularly when compared to crime and domestic terrorism?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Correct.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        “January 6 is the worst attack on democracy since Civil War” – your president said.

        So, Pearl Harbor, 911, Oklahoma, where people were actually killed en-mass. Boston marathon bombing.
        But none of these were attacks on democracy. How can you attack something that don’t exist?

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        @Arthur:
        “Didn’t the American government address it by creating a fear of ‘external terrorism’ and use that to abrogate many civil rights for both American citizens and non-citizens?”
        Yes, and that’s complicated by the fact that the threat was real.

        “And how justified was/is the fear of external terrorism in the USA. Particularly when compared to crime and domestic terrorism?”
        Given what happened on 9/11, yes, the threat of external terrorism was quite real. Is it still real? Good question. Unfortunately, it’s hard to know if you’re not directly involved in homeland security.

        Ultimately, one’s response to the question “how much intrusion is justified” is based on one’s political worldview. People who trust the government would find it justified; people who don’t would find it unjustified. I fall into the “trust but verify” category – the problem is that “verify” means “oversight,” and that’s not easy to pull off these days. This issue doesn’t lend itself to easy, quick answers.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @Arthur Dailey – the US has always used major negative events or perceived external threats to benefit corporate or political interests. Post WW2, the “red menace”, socialism/communism et al gave the US the excuse to build military bases all over the world and to overtly,covertly and/or in a clandestine way, interfere in other country’s affairs. Muslim extremism became the next convenient ploy. They also used this perceived threats to justify internal intrusions into privacy and freedom.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          People forget 9-11 was 20 years ago. The world looks different than it did in 2001. Maybe it is like Y2K. It was nothing because people spent a decade making sure that was the case.

          Perhaps the world with respect to the sort of terrorism Lou speaks of looks like it does today because people have spent 2 decades working towards that outcome.

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            And of course, they don’t remember 1994 World Center bombing, also by muslim terrorists

    • 0 avatar
      Carrera

      Freed Mike, the border search authority only applies at..you guess it..at the border. Even Border Patrol only has very limited powers and only when there’s nexus to the border. CBP even less power and ONLY at the border during a crossing of international boundaries

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        @Lou:

        “Muslim extremism” and the threat posed by the USSR were actually quite real, even if the response you’re talking about was debatable.

        Worth noting: they were threats to Canada as well.

        @Carrera:
        1) CBP doesn’t just operate at “the border” – it operates anywhere stuff or people come into the United States. That means airports and seaports. Do you have an international airport in your area? Then CBP is there, even if you don’t live “on the border.”
        2) CBP is a part of the Department of Homeland Security, and the problem extends to them.
        https://www.wired.com/story/can-government-buy-way-around-fourth-amendment/

        • 0 avatar
          Carrera

          Freed Mike, so what do you think in international airport or seaport is? That’s the defacto border. I didn’t say CBP operates at land border…but at the border. And don’t worry, CBP doesn’t suck the information out of your car when you fly from Cancun into Boston or LA or whatever.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            So, they’re operating everywhere.

            If you don’t worry about a federal agency operating without any kind of Constitutional restraint, I suppose that’s your call. I’m going to worry.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @FreedMike – the threats where real but they were exaggerated. The USSR spent most of it’s time and efforts in keeping the soviet union together. One has to remember that Australia’s GDP rivals Russia.
          Islamic extremism was a mess enhanced by the USA. It was used as a tool against the USSR. US also made the Middle East worse by overthrowing Iran’s democratic government and placing “The Shah” in power. Nothing fuels extremism like oppression. You fire off a cruise missile to get a terrorist and kill innocent people, that fuels extremism. The US presence in Saudi Arabia was one of the triggers for 9-11. Most of the attackers were Saudi nationals. They wanted the “infidels” to leave sacred Saudi soil.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            @Lou:

            All true, but:
            1) The Soviets were quite expansionist, and that expansion threatened America (and Canada) in many, many ways, including economically. What if the USSR had been able to basically annex the Middle East? It could have happened. And that threat was backed up by 10,000 or so nukes pointed at us (and, again, Canada). That’s not a real threat? I’d definitely say it is. In any case, the “go it alone and let the bad guy do whatever he want” approach was tried with Nazi Germany. Enough said there.

            2) American troops were in Saudi Arabia because Iraq invaded Kuwait, and it was apparent that Saudi Arabia was next. In fact, Iraqi troops DID invade Saudi Arabia; American troops expelled them. Granted, Saudi Arabia is a garbage regime, and yes, Al-Qaida was blowback for our being there, but would the world have been a better place if Saddam Hussein controlled the bulk of the Middle East’s oil? I am a LONG way from being convinced about that.

            These problems don’t lend themselves to easy, quick answers.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          ” The Soviets were quite expansionist”

          nope. For Leninism/Socialism – yes. Territorially – no. Bulgaria asked to join the union at least twice and was declined. Mongolia was denied. Finland was let independence.
          Lenin from the start pointed – International bigger than a country. They expanded using ideology not territorial holdings.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    It seems about time that motor vehicle manufacturers be required to disclose all of their vehicles’s data collection/transmission activity and capability. Of course, from that it will follow that people will demand the ability to opt out of these capabilities.

    Or, you could patronize someone like Florida mechanic Pierre Hedary, who specializes in “sorting” (his word) Mercedes diesels from the 1980s. The last “analog” cars. The installed Becker AM/FM radio is probably harmless enough.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    You trade away your privacy every time you use a a rewards card or a credit card that uses a rewards program. For a discount or a reward you trade information about yourself and your buying habits. If you really are concerned about being tracked then don’t use a credit card and live off of the grid–better yet become Amish. Not saying this doesn’t matter or not to be concerned but in today’s World it is next to impossible not to be monitored or to have information that is shared with others about yourself.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      “You trade away your privacy every time you use a a rewards card or a credit card that uses a rewards program. ”

      But you only use those, because you have no other means of buying things, than to allow worthless FIRE racket trash to insert themselves into transactions noone other than you and the seller has any business having even the faintest idea about whether took place or not.

      The reason people are being spied on, is not because they somehow want to.

      No doubt idiots dumb enough to fall for the trivially idiotic drivel that central banks and financialization is anything, whatsoever, other than pure theft by a totalitarian junta from the people they prey on, can also be relied on to be dumb enough to believe people somehow still wouldn’t mind being spied on if realistic alternatives existed. But that only demonstrates that dumb people are dumb people. And idiots are idiots. It says nothing, at all, about whether people mind being sped on or not.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    OK, we have no privacy. Whatever but why should gov, police, etc, get to enjoy secrecy that denies the rest of access to their crimes, rights violations, corruption, etc.

    That’s what this is all about. It was an huge oops moment when the CBP realized they’re exposed just like anyone else.

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