03:34 GMT +321 September 2019
Listen Live
    Cell phone with no service

    Court Grants US Request to Keep Plan to Disable Cell Phones Secret

    © Flickr / David Becher
    US
    Get short URL
    0 45
    Subscribe

    Standard Operating Procedure 303 is designed to be used to cut cell service during emergencies. However, some electronic freedom organizations are demanding the details of the program be revealed.

    US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia won't require the US to disclose its surreptitious policy regarding a cell service disabling plan.

    The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), filed suit after being refused a FOIA request. A federal court has denied their request but EPIC appealed. The court of appeals declined, issuing a one-sentence decision.

    “Upon consideration of appellee's petition for rehearing en banc, the response thereto, and the absence of a request by any member of the court for a vote, it is ORDERED that the petition be denied,” they wrote.

    The government had argued that the Department of Homeland Security is authorized to withhold documents from a FOIA if their exposure could "endanger" public safety.

    EPIC had demanded documents related to 303 in 2011 following the blockign of cell service in the San Francisco Bay Area subway system during a protest. The DHS refused.

    The court determined that the act was a "unified voluntary process for the orderly shut-down and restoration of wireless services during critical emergencies such as the threat of radio-activated improvised explosive devices."

    That was when EPIC sued, winning the case in a lower court but DHS appealed.

    In asking for an “en banc” rehearing — in which the entire panel of judges are empaneled for a case rather than just three —  EPIC argued that the first decision "created a catch-all provision that would allow federal agencies to routinely withhold records subject to disclosure where the agency merely asserts a speculative security risk.”


    Related:

    Now We Know Why Secret Police Spying Cell Phone Towers Are Called StingRays
    US Justice Dep't Must Explain Cell Phone Tracking Technology Use - Senators
    Chicago Police Fighting to Keep 'Stingray' Cell Phone Trackers Secret
    NSA Collects 5Bln Cell Phone Records Daily – Report
    New Law Would Force Cell Phone Retailers to Post Radiation Warnings
    Tags:
    cell phones, digital privacy, privacy, Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, Washington, DC
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik