After initially attempting to hide their use of the cell site simulator devices, commonly referred to as a Stingray, the U. S. Department of Justice has announced a number of critical policy revisions regarding the device.
The new guidelines, implemented September 3, require all federal law enforcement agencies, as well as all state and local agencies working in concert with a federal investigation, to obtain a search warrant from a judge before being allowed to deploy the device.
These much-needed policy changes came after journalists and activists worked tirelessly to investigate and expose the use of these devices, often without a warrant, by federal and state law enforcement agencies.
The Stingray device works by mimicking a legitimate cell phone tower, thus fooling cell phones in the area into connecting to the police controlled device. This enables law enforcement to access the unique identifying number for every phone in the proximity of the instrument, and then track a phone’s location in real-time. Additionally, the devices have the capability to route the traffic of all phones in the vicinity through the Stingray. This allows agents the option of recording entire calls, intercepting texts, or even selectively denying service to particular phones.
Investigations across the nation have revealed the extensive use of the technology by federal, state and local law enforcement. It was subsequently revealed that state and local law enforcement agencies were allowed to procure this technology from the FBI and Harris Corporation, makers of the Stingray and related devices. However, they were bound by strict non-disclosure agreements, which prevented any modicum of transparency or accountability.
Think about that for a second.
The FBI and Harris Corporation gave the police a device that can intercept and record people’s phone calls, text messages and data, but only allowed them the technology if they signed an agreement that didn’t allow them to tell anyone that they were using the device, including judges.
Does this sound like a justice system??
This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on September 5th, 2015.