Tag Archives: U.S. Government

Justice Department Will Require Warrants For Some Cellphone Tracking Technology

The U.S. Department of Justice announced on Thursday that it will now require U.S. prosecutors and some federal law enforcement agencies to obtain a search warrant in order to use cellphone tracking technology.

In a statement, the DoJ said that the new policy “goes into effect immediately” and will “provide department components with standard guidance for the use of cell-site simulators in the department’s domestic criminal investigations,” and “establish new management controls for the use of the technology.”

Before the change in policy, U.S. government agencies were permitted to use cell-site simulators or “stingray” devices to replicate phone towers in order to track a phone’s location without applying for a warrant or giving probable cause.

[RELATED: A Guide To Stingray Cellphone Surveillance Technology]

Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates claimed that the stingray devices have been “instrumental in aiding law enforcement in a broad array of investigations, including kidnappings, fugitive investigations and complicated narcotics cases.”  

“This new policy ensures our protocols for this technology are consistent, well-managed and respectful of individuals’ privacy and civil liberties,” Yates said.

[RELATED: Newly Released ‘Stingray’ Manual Shows Company Asked FCC For Secrecy]

The DoJ stated that the new policy will establish a set of required practices for dealing with the data collected by the cell-site simulators, which includes deleting all data from a device “as soon as that device is located, and no less than once daily.”

The policy also lays out guidelines for the type of content that may be collected, and it prohibits the collection “contents of any communication in the course of criminal investigations,” such as emails, texts, contact information and pictures.

[RELATED: Chicago, L.A. Police Using ‘Stingray’ Surveillance Capable Of Breaking Encryption]

Cell-site simulator devices have been criticized by privacy advocates such as the American Civil Liberties Union for the frequency in which they are used by law enforcement, the amount of data they pick up on innocent bystanders, and the secrecy surrounding their use.

Reuters noted that the new policy does not apply to agencies outside of the DoJ, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency.

Did The U.S. Government Order Amazon To Stop Selling Confederate Flag Merchandise?

After the recent shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, in which nine people were killed, pictures surfaced online of the suspect, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, waving the Confederate Flag, and several major retailers reacted by pulling all Confederate flag merchandise from their shelves, deeming it “offensive” and a “symbol of racism and slavery.”

Amazon was one of major retailers that removed all Confederate flag merchandise, and on Thursday, InfoWars reported that the company “was ordered by the federal government not to sell items featuring the Confederate flag in the aftermath of the Charleston shooting.”

Citing a chat message between a customer and one of Amazon’s service reps, InfoWars  claimed that when asked about why there are “no Confederate flags for sale on Amazon,” Daniel V. from Amazon said that “due to national controversy regarding the Confederate flag due to recent issues on national news, by federal law retailers have been instructed to remove the Confederate flag from sale.”


Daniel V. goes on to say that retailers such as Walmart were also “instructed to remove all Confederate flags from sale,” and goes as far as to give a link to a story from CNN about how several major retailers “announced in quick succession that they would stop selling Confederate flag merchandise.”

Truth In Media contacted the office of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos for a statement about whether the company was instructed to remove all Confederate flag merchandise by federal law. A representative from the company told Truth In Media, “We can confirm that Amazon acted independently to remove confederate flag merchandise.”

All Amazon customers have access to an “online chat” with the company’s customer service representatives, such as the one reported by InfoWars. If customers are looking to access this feature, they can sign into their Amazon accounts, select “Help,” click on “Contact Us,” and then select their type of problem and choose Chat as the method of contact.

We went through the channels and were connected with a customer service rep. from Amazon named “Rachel.”


Amazon-Chat-2When asked about why the Confederate flag is no longer available on Amazon.com, Rachel from Amazon said, “Amazon acted independently to remove Confederate flag merchandise on our website and we truly apologize for the inconvenience.”

Rachel from Amazon also said that she does not have “an exact reason why the item was removed from the website.” 

All of the answers we received from Amazon’s service rep. on their “online chat” were very textbook and in addition to not mentioning anything about federal law, they also did not include any links from mainstream media sources such as CNN in their replies.

Amazon has not responded to Truth In Media’s request for comment on the guidelines Amazon customer services representatives are required to follow when responding to questions on their website’s “online chat” feature.

Doctor: Feds Pressuring Physicians To Ask About Guns

A recent article from Dr. Mark Kestner, a columnist for the Murfreesboro Post, shed light on a new strategy that is being used by the United States government to keep tabs on whether Americans keep loaded firearms in their homes.

If you have not been asked by your primary care doctor about whether you keep guns in your home, you soon will be,” Kestner wrote.

Kestner noted that the common question patients will be presented with is, “Do you keep loaded firearms in your home?” The answers patients give will be recorded in their health records at their doctor’s office, as part of the “Electronic Health Records initiative,” led by the federal government.

In addition to questions about loaded firearms, Kestner said that patients would also be asked questions related to domestic abuse, such as, “Do you have reason to be afraid that your spouse may physically harm you?

Kestner explained that these questions are part of the provisions for the Affordable Care Act, and that while they are mandated by the federal government, patients “are not compelled by law to respond.”

“While it may appear that your doctor has suddenly taken a special interest in many more aspects of your life than they did previously,” wrote Kestner. “The truth is that the federal government is mandating that your doctor retrieve the information from their patients.”

Kestner reported that the shift doctors are required to make in the way they record patients’ health records leads to the records being formatted electronically “in a certain way to make the information universally accessible” to government entities.

Kestner claimed that while Florida has fought back by enacting a law that “forbids a doctor from talking to their patients about guns,” states like North Carolina require individuals seeking concealed carry permits to obtain certification from a physician stating that they are mentally and physically health enough to safely operate a handgun. According to Kestner, a recent survey found that “two thirds of doctors agreed that they are not adequately equipped by their training to determine how well a person is qualified to obtain a permit allowing concealed carry.”

The federal Medicare program is structured in such a way that physicians had little choice but to comply with the program,” wrote Kestner, who explained that if physicians complied with the program, they were “rewarded with a financial incentive of several thousand dollars,” and if they failed to present the data, they would be “penalized by a certain percentage of Medicare payments going forward.”

In essence, the feds are using their control of Medicare reimbursement to manipulate how your physician handles your personal health information,” wrote Kestner. “Some people see this as a responsible effort on the part of the federal government to reduce the number of accidental and intentional tragedies that involve guns. Others see it as an overreach into the privacy of patients in an attempt to find a way to work around rights afforded by the 2nd amendment.