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Comment Re:Model Airplanes/Rockets (Score 1) 533

It was almost exclusively media hysteria.

The majority of incidents in my area that involved a Drone interfering with something turned out to be either a news drone, or drones being tested by the military.

But holy shitballs the media sure drove everyone into a frenzy about them! (When they were responsible for a bit of it.)

Comment A lot of comments about bashing the lock... (Score 4, Informative) 222

... it's quite evident that not many posters actually watched the video.

The lock isn't being smashed, bashed, smacked or slammed. It's being gently tapped with a brass hammer.

So mentioning bolt cutters, sledge hammers and acetylene torches is about as pertinent as launching into a diatribe about how Mandarin is a hard language to learn, with all of it's tonal inflections, when the discussion topic is about programming languages...

Comment Police and the low hanging fruit... (Score 1) 244

Is it better to assign much more police effort to white collar crime or to arrest 1,000 people trying to buy crack or carrying an illegal weapon?

The police and the DA will always go after low hanging fruit as this makes them look good when they tout statistics on how "tough on crime" they are.

Comment Re:Hovered over property for only 22 seconds .. (Score 1) 664

So what, nobody should have the right to fly a spying machine over your house.

I suggest reading up on Privacy Laws and Property Laws (specifically on who owns the airspace over your property). Your assumption, that nobody should have the right to fly a "spying machine" over your house, is incorrect and not supported in our current laws.

Comment Re:F.U.D. until credible evidence is presented... (Score 1) 268

What's the more likely conclusion?

That a hobbyist intentionally decided to fly his long range drone into a mountainous area that is ON FIRE where he could lose his signal (due to the intervening terrain) and have the drone crash losing several thousand dollars...


an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle that was operating out of a testing facility located nearby accidentally wandered into the area of operations for an active fire fighting aircraft and got a little too close.

I'll take incompetence over malice as the most likely scenario. As to the "government conspiracy to discredit hobbyist?" You mean the "Media Conspiracy" to create alarm, concern and fear where this is none to drive up ratings? Yeah, doesn't sound far fetched at all. It happens all the time.

Comment F.U.D. until credible evidence is presented... (Score 2) 268

I came across this blogger posted in a subreddit about multicopters: Cal Fire Aircraft Forced Down by Military Drone.

And the blogger raises several points:

1.) The alleged drone had a four foot wide wingspan fixed-wing aircraft with bright orange wings.
Most hobbyist don't operate unmanned aerial vehicles. They operate what is called First Person View (FPV) aircraft that have limitations due to maintaining a video signal link as well as a flight control link. To operate such a FPV drone at extended distances through a mountainous/hilly terrain, such as where this fire is, is rolling the dice as to whether you will ever see your drone back again. And given the costs of a setup capable of maintaining a video/control link at the ranges alleged means such a FPV operator has some serious money invested in their equipment. The blogger mentions that such capable equipment capable of this is not available off-the-shelf.

2.) The fire department claimed the incident occurred at 11,000 feet.
Is this 11,000 feet "AGL" (Above Ground Level?) or above sea level? Because if it is AGL, again this makes it less and less likely this was a hobbyist operated drone due to the extreme distances/elevation (effectively 2 miles up).

3.) The blogger mentions:

The color orange or red is frequently used by the U.S. Navy as well as other agencies to increase visibility of the unmanned aircraft, and is typically not a concern for hobbyists.

One user in the subreddit post pointed out that the El Mirage dry lake bed is approximately 10 miles from the fire area where allegedly

"there is a UAV/Predator testing site/company there".

While this is by no means conclusive, I'm inclined to call "Bullshit" given the scarcity of information. The lack of an arrested individual to publicly shame/ridicule (it's easy to follow a 4 foot wingspan bright orange drone back to it's controller...), ambiguous "facts" (actual elevation?, distance of separation?) and the proximity to a military unmanned drone testing site within 10 miles leads me to believe this was a military drone.

Leaving all of these media articles cropping up about this incident nothing more than F.U.D. designed to whip up hysteria about a topic that is somewhat controversial.

Comment Re:TIL about wiretapping without wires (Score 4, Insightful) 104

In addition to everything you've said, they are also require an Unauthorized Access to a Computer Device which is a federal crime (Computer Fraud and Abuse Act), as pushing data and handshaking with the mobile device is part of the pairing process between a mobile device and a cell tower.

Comment Re:Hmmm ... (Score 5, Insightful) 312

A person has rights to privacy, disclosing said person's personal information, particularly with regard to a controversial topic is at the very least negligent and at worst directly contributing to any potential harm that may befall them.

There is quite a bit difference from public access to 3D printer files and public access to personal information of a specific person.

Comment Re:Default Government Stance (Score 3, Insightful) 194

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act makes it a federal crime to unlawfully access any computer device that is used by an financial institution, government institution or a private computer that is used for interstate commerce or communication.

This already covers cell phones as they are 1.) Computers, 2.) Used for interstate communication and 3.) Used for interstate commerce.

Given that the Stingray Devices operate by performing a "Man in the Middle" style attack by masquerading as a legitimate cell tower and thereby intercepting cellular data from all users in the vicinity of the Stingray Device (regardless of whether they are the target or not), and part of the cellular data transfer requires (non-secure) authentication (identifying carrier, ID, etc), I fail to see how use of a Stingray Device is legal even via a warrant.

First, the basic nature of the Stingray Device requires a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to operate (connect to the cell phone and send/receive data). Combine this with how the Stingray Device cannot operate in such a fashion that it targets a single individual; it intercepts ALL communications in it's area. This device is the epitome of unconstitutional. It cannot even be operated legally with a warrant because it can't narrow it's target to a single individual and thus runs afoul of the 4th Amendment (in addition to 18 U.S. Code 1030).

Comment Re:Someone please aware me: (Score 1) 303

Because when you are in a public place you have no right to the expectation of privacy. If you are walking and talking down the sidewalk in town other people are able to hear your side of the conversation. Depending on if your state and the state the other party is in are two or one party states it is a moot point.

This is true, in a public place you have no expectation of privacy... But this fact is completely irrelevant because the methods the stingray devices use to gain the data are deceptive. And more importantly, have absolutely nothing to do with whether you are in a public place or not.

You could be inside your own home, a location afforded and protected by the highest level of what is deemed to be "private", and a stingray device could still gain access to your private data. Again: being in public, or not, has absolutely NOTHING to do with how and why a stingray device operates.

The stingray devices deceives your wireless device into believing they are connected to a legitimate cell tower when it is, in fact, not connected to a legitimate cell tower. Then your phone, believing it is connected to a legitimate cellular tower, pushes it's data like it would to the carrier's cell tower.

The issue then, is not one of a location based privacy nature (re: public/private), but one of whether or not such actions by police are considered fraudulent. Clearly, in order for the stingray device to work, some form of deceptive action must be taken by the device at the behest of the police. The question then becomes: is such using deception to trick a person into believing they are dealing with a legitimate cell tower service that they are paying for a criminal act?

The answer is yes. Deceiving someone and intercepting their communications without their explicit knowledge is in fact a federal criminal act. Specifically, it is the criminal act known as "Interception and disclosure of wire, oral, or electronic communications" colloquially referred to as wiretapping and defined in the following United States Federal Statute:

18 U.S. Code 2511 (link:

(1) Except as otherwise specifically provided in this chapter any person who—

(a) intentionally intercepts, endeavors to intercept, or procures any other person to intercept or endeavor to intercept, any wire, oral, or electronic communication;
(b) intentionally uses, endeavors to use, or procures any other person to use or endeavor to use any electronic, mechanical, or other device to intercept any oral communication when—
(i) such device is affixed to, or otherwise transmits a signal through, a wire, cable, or other like connection used in wire communication; or
(ii) such device transmits communications by radio, or interferes with the transmission of such communication; or
(iii) such person knows, or has reason to know, that such device or any component thereof has been sent through the mail or transported in interstate or foreign commerce; or
(iv) such use or endeavor to use (A) takes place on the premises of any business or other commercial establishment the operations of which affect interstate or foreign commerce; or (B) obtains or is for the purpose of obtaining information relating to the operations of any business or other commercial establishment the operations of which affect interstate or foreign commerce; or
(v) such person acts in the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any territory or possession of the United States;
(c) intentionally discloses, or endeavors to disclose, to any other person the contents of any wire, oral, or electronic communication, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through the interception of a wire, oral, or electronic communication in violation of this subsection;
(d) intentionally uses, or endeavors to use, the contents of any wire, oral, or electronic communication, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through the interception of a wire, oral, or electronic communication in violation of this subsection; or
(i) intentionally discloses, or endeavors to disclose, to any other person the contents of any wire, oral, or electronic communication, intercepted by means authorized by sections 2511 (2)(a)(ii), 2511 (2)(b)–(c), 2511(2)(e), 2516, and 2518 of this chapter,
(ii) knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through the interception of such a communication in connection with a criminal investigation,
(iii) having obtained or received the information in connection with a criminal investigation, and
(iv) with intent to improperly obstruct, impede, or interfere with a duly authorized criminal investigation,

shall be punished as provided in subsection (4) or shall be subject to suit as provided in subsection (5).

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