Stingray: Local Law Enforcement Listening To Your Cell Phone Calls

Stingray: Local Law Enforcement Listening To Your Cell Phone Calls

A new intrusion on your privacy is coming to light, it’s called Stingray, which enables local law enforcement to listen to your cell phone calls.

Police will admit that Stingray, a small suitcase-size device that pretends it’s a cell tower, exists, but refuse to admit any details about the device or the program.

Earlier this month in a suit against the Tucson Police Department, journalist Beau Hodai and the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona alleged that police didn’t comply with the state’s public-records law because they did not fully disclose Stingray-related information.

In a December 2013 investigation conducted by USA Today, slightly less than 1 in 4 law enforcement agencies owned a Stingray.

We’ll let you know more details as we discover them.

Police across the country may be intercepting phone calls or text messages to find suspects using a technology tool known as Stingray. But they’re refusing to turn over details about its use or heavily censoring files when they do.

Police say Stingray, a suitcase-size device that pretends it’s a cell tower, is useful for catching criminals, but that’s about all they’ll say.

For example, they won’t disclose details about contracts with the device’s manufacturer, Harris Corp., insisting they are protecting both police tactics and commercial secrets. The secrecy — at times imposed by nondisclosure agreements signed by police — is pitting obligations under private contracts against government transparency laws.

Even in states with strong open records laws, including Florida and Arizona, little is known about police use of Stingray and any rules governing it.

Check this out:

Earlier this month, journalist Beau Hodai and the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona sued the Tucson Police Department, alleging in court documents that police didn’t comply with the state’s public-records law because they did not fully disclose Stingray-related records and allowed Harris Corp. to dictate what information could be made public….

A December 2013 investigation by USA Today found roughly 1 in 4 law enforcement agencies it surveyed had performed tower dumps, and slightly fewer owned a Stingray. But the report also said 36 additional agencies refused to provide details on their use, with most denying the newspaper’s public-records requests.

Source: reason.com
Photo: Idaho National Laboratory


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