How to Avoid Cell Phone Surveillance at Political Events

Mapping social networks of suspects

Mapping social networks of undesirables

Cell phones are a great boon to intelligence agencies. Totalitarian regimes used to have to torture dissidents to make them reveal their associates and do a lot of tedious footwork to map out their social networks. Databases of undesirables were kept in typed or hand-written card files.

Now political activists reveal themselves and their associates automatically via their cell phones and massive amounts of data can be collected almost effortlessly. The data goes into a computer database, where sophisticated software can be used to map out the social network of the persons of interest.

Such computer databases of social networks have long been used to assist in neutralizing and often exterminating entire networks of terrorists, drug dealers and political dissidents. Now, as everyone knows, these automated data collection methods are being used on ordinary American citizens. For what future purpose, who can say?

When there is an event, like at Bundy Ranch or Murrieta, in an isolated area, police agencies can snoop the cell phones and get a good list of people present, even without a warrant. In an urban area, it would not be very easy to decide who the activists are and who are just residents or unrelated casual visitors. In a rural area it is easy to sort out the people of interest.

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Once they have the data on the people present they can begin mapping out their social networks and identifying other, like-minded suspects that the group members associate with. In this way, entire classes of of undesirables can be identified nationwide for potential future “action.” You are not just exposing yourself to future investigation, but everyone, whom you associate with.

To avoid this or at least make it harder for the intelligence agents to map social networks, those who attend such events should either leave their cell phone at home or put it in a metal case long before they enter the area of the event. Turning your phone off, is not good enough, because the phone still attempts to register with the nearest cell tower and thus your data can be snooped, even if you do not make or receive calls. Putting it in airplane mode is better, which turns off the microwave link. Flexible cases are sold by retailers that are advertised to reduce the radiation for those with neurotic concerns about such things, but it is not clear that those will stop the phone from registering with a cell tower.

To be sure, a enclosed case of metal, with walls on the order of 1-2 millimeters thick, should work well. Put it in airplane mode and put in a case. If you bring you phones in active mode to an event that the Feds are interested in, it is better for them than having a sign-in sheet.

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