Smart Start Vehicle Transfer – According to a federal contract reviewed by The Intercept, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has purchased technology to wipe large amounts of personal data stored in cars, highlighting the serious risks of connecting smartphones inside cars.
A contract provided to The Intercept by Latin American advocacy group Mijente shows that CBP paid $456,073 for the equipment package, which included five iVe “computer forensics kits” made by US company Berla to Swedish data collection company MSAB. The document states that CBP considers the device “vital to CBP investigations” because it not only provides evidence related to the use of the vehicle, but also information obtained through mobile devices compatible with the information system. The document also states that iVe is the only tool that allows the use of such click-to-buy systems.
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According to the Berla founder, part of vacuuming data from cars is that many drivers don’t forget that their cars generate a lot of data in the first place, often including highly sensitive information synced from smartphones. .
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Indeed, MSAB’s marketing materials promise that police can access sensitive personal information stored discreetly in data recorders and various other computers used in modern vehicles – similar to what you might find when personal information records are accessed by private cell phones CBP telephone numbers. MSAB says the data includes “recent destinations, favorite places, call logs, contact lists, text messages, emails, photos, videos, social media and vehicle location navigation history.” MSAB even limits the ability to collect remote data, predict “future planning,” and “identify known partners and establish communication patterns between them.”
The kit can detect “when and where in the vehicle the headlights are turned on, as well as which doors open and close in certain locations.”
MSAB says the kit is also capable of detecting special events that many car owners are unaware of, even recording “when and where in the car the headlights were turned on, as well as which doors were opened and closed in certain locations.” “Alternate shifting, odometer readings, ignition cycle, speed log, etc.” In other words, vehicle-based surveillance takes place several miles away from the vehicle itself.
According to MSAB, iVe is compatible with more than two machines and is rapidly expanding its acquisition and decoding capabilities.
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Civil liberties advocates said the CBP deal raised concerns that such tools could be used more widely to avoid warrantless searches, which are protected by the Constitution. “The extent to which CBP can exploit such a contract is astonishing,” said Muhammad Tajsar, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California.
MSAB spokeswoman Carolyn Yetander declined to comment on the privacy and civil liberties risks posed by iVe. When asked if the company follows any guidelines for the use of its technology, the company said it “does not set policies or regulate customers’ use of it.”
MSAB’s contract with CBP, which ran from last June through Feb. 28, 2021, was for the agency’s “judicial and scientific division,” the agency’s laboratory and scientific services. This includes training on how to use the MSAB device.
The interest of the agency, the largest law enforcement agency in the United States, may have been prompted by police frustration with the fight against smartphone hacking.
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Attacks on such devices were a key focus of MSAB before the advent of machine intelligence. The ubiquity of smartphones has provided police forces around the world with an unprecedented gift: much of a person’s personal life can be conveniently stored in an item we carry with us at all times. But as our phones become more sophisticated and sophisticated, they become more secure, and phone makers like Apple and phone hacking companies like MSAB and Cellebrite are constantly racing back and forth to gain the technological edge . Another.
“We have a Ford Explorer… we took the system apart and restored 70 phones connected to it. “All their phone records, contacts and text messages.”
So data-hungry government agencies are taking advantage of the rise of smart cars, with tablet PCs, Bluetooth capabilities and USB ports becoming as standard as cup holders with the advent of smartphones. Smart car systems are typically designed to pair with your phone, allowing you to make calls, send text messages, get directions, or “read” email while behind the wheel. Those driving their new car and connecting their phone – whether for hands-free calls, listening to Spotify or getting directions – may be asked to share their entire contact list, a step that has been introduced as a required step. . Call the phone, but without any warning there is no password that will store a complete list of people they know in the car’s memory.
The people behind CBP’s new tool are well aware that they are profiting from consumer ignorance. In an interview first published by NBC News last summer, Berla founder Ben Lemaire said, “People rent cars and do things with them without even thinking about where they’re going or what their performance is.” In a 2015 appearance on the Justice Lunch podcast, Lemaire told the show’s hosts how the company uses this random transmission scenario during training: “Your phone doesn’t work, you get in the car, you plug it in, and there’s a USB port that convenient for you. Plug it into this USB port and it will charge your phone. “Once it charges, it starts downloading all your data into the car.”
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In the same podcast, Lemaire also said the company extracted data from a rental car at BWI Marshall Airport near Washington.
“We have a Ford Explorer… we took the system apart and restored 70 phones connected to it. All of their phone records, contacts and text message history, as well as their music preferences, songs on their devices and some content on Facebook and Twitter. … and it’s fun to sit back and read text messages.”
“What they’re really saying is, ‘We’re old enough to take advantage of people,’” explained the ACLU’s Tysar. “If we’re in an analog world, we can take advantage of consumers’ lack of understanding to take advantage of them in ways they might resist.”
Using cars to enhance the capabilities of our phones (often without meaningful data protection) makes them an extremely attractive target for police agencies lavishly investing in an insatiable appetite for surveillance data. Part of the appeal is that in-vehicle information systems are what Tysar calls “the boundaries of the Fourth Amendment.” Although courts have recognized your phone’s privacy as a direct extension of your privacy, the issue of decrypting information systems and downloading their contents remains unresolved, and CBP “may take advantage of the lack of legal protection to gain access to information protected by others.” . Guarantees,” he said.
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MSAB technology is doubly alarming for CBP, an agency with strong Fourth Amendment exemptions and a historical tendency toward aggressive surveillance and suppression tactics. The agency has recently used drones to monitor protests over the police killing of George Floyd and frequently conducts enforcement searches of electronic devices at or near the border.
“Theoretically, this technology could be used to search anyone CBP wants without a warrant.”
“This technology could be used to conduct warrantless telephone searches of anyone CBP wants,” said Jacinta Gonzalez of Mygente. without any reasonable justification. Based on this possibility, CBP appears to be conducting searches based on information such as family/social ties that is not racially motivated.”
“Once we have deeply invasive surveillance techniques, we’re going to have problems,” he said. “When it is in the hands of an agency that has consistently abandoned any attempt at primary accountability, reform or oversight, it is Defcon 1.”
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Part of the problem, Tysar said, is that CBP’s parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security, is designed to distribute intelligence and surveillance technology “to major law enforcement agencies across the country.” “CBP’s presence reduces what local police actually get on the street. “This is not a theoretical problem.”
An ignition connection device is a tool that helps those convicted of drunk driving get back on the road safely. For example, you must turn off your car before starting it.
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