Thanks to the ACLU, independent privacy researchers, and journalists, the iron wall of state secrecy surrounding local police deployments of stingray cell phone surveillance is slowly melting away. Here are five things you need to know about stingray spying.
1. Police obtain stingrays for “terrorism” purposes but use them overwhelmingly in routine criminal investigations, which usually means drug war related missions. Most police departments have refused to release any information about how often stingrays are used, or in what kinds of investiations, but rare records from the Tacoma PD show that stingray surveillance tracks like all other state spying: it’s primarily drug war related.
2. Police have been using stingrays for nearly a decade in complete secrecy, thanks in part to the FBI. In Baltimore, police used stingrays over 4,300 times since 2007, meaning officers used the device on average more than once per day. The Baltimore police kept secret their use of stingrays in all of these cases, not simply from surveillance targets but also from prosecutors (fellow law enforcement officials) and judges.
3. The FBI has forced police departments to sign non-disclosure agreements in order to obtain stingray technology, forbidding cops from talking about the technology. As part of these non-disclosure agreements, police are required to drop criminal prosecutions if there is any danger information about stingray surveillance might be disclosed in court. The FBI director has said it needs to keep secret the existence of stingray spying from “bad people” in order to preserve the utility of the tool. But the real reason for FBI secrecy about cell phone spying is obvious: If evidence from stingrays never winds up in court, no one ever has standing to challenge the legality of the surveillance. The FBI would rather police officers and prosecutors let “criminals” go than face a possible scenario where a defendant brings a Fourth Amendment challenge to warrantless stingray spying. It’s called an IMSI catcher or stingray – a fake cell phone tower that sends your cell phone signal to it rather than a real cell phone tower. The suitcase-sized devices, which operate by mimicking a cell tower, force nearby mobile phones into sharing specific data including location and identifying information.
The bi-partisan bill, HB 1440, passed both the House and Senate last month without a single no vote.
HB 1440’s primary sponsor, Republican Rep. David Taylor, spoke exclusively with Infowars on the significance of the bill’s passage. “Private investigators also routinely and illegally try to get access to calls by a variety of means, for purposes of industrial espionage, business intelligence and economic warfare between competing companies.
Former DARPA director Regina Dugan to discuss artificial intelligence with global power brokers. Highly decorated NSA veterans-turned-whistleblowers Kirk Wiebe and William Binney break down the NSA’s bulk data collection. book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, this fourth branch came into being without any electoral mandate or constitutional referendum, and yet it possesses superpowers, above and beyond those of any other government agency save the military. It is all-knowing, all-seeing and all-powerful.
the military drills, the surveillance, the militarized police, the strip searches, the random pat downs, the stop-and-frisks, even the police-worn body cameras—is about fighting terrorism. It’s about controlling the populace. dictator “to impose total tyranny” upon an utterly defenseless American public.