Government Is Spending Money On 3.
Jeremy ScahillMargot Williams December 175: Some are designed to be used at static locations, while others can be discreetly carried by an individual.
The Intercept obtained the catalogue from a source within the intelligence community concerned about the militarization of domestic law enforcement. The original is here.
Most can be used to geolocate people, but the documents indicate that some have more advanced capabilities, like eavesdropping on calls and spying on SMS messages. Two systems, apparently designed for use on captured phones, are touted as having the ability to extract media files, address books, and notes, and one can retrieve deleted text messages.
There are also indications that cell-site simulators may be able to monitor calls and text messages.
But domestically the devices have been used in a way that violates the constitutional rights of citizens, including the Fourth Amendment prohibition on illegal search and seizure, critics like Lynch say. They have regularly been used without warrants, or with warrants that critics call overly broad.
Judges and civil liberties groups alike have complained that the devices are used without full disclosure of how they work, even within court proceedings.
The controversy around cellphone surveillance illustrates the friction that comes with redeploying military combat gear into civilian life.
The archetypical cell-site simulator, the Stingray, was trademarked by Harris Corp. The devices can reportedly track more than phones over a wider range than the Stingray. Amid the war on terror, companies selling cell-site simulators to the federal government thrived.
But the CIA helped use the technology at home, too. For more than a decade, the agency worked with the U. Marshals Service to deploy planes with dirt boxes attached to track mobile phones across the U.
After being used by federal agencies for years, cellular surveillance devices began to make their way into the arsenals of a small number of local police agencies.
ByHarris sought a license from the Federal Communications Commission to widely sell its devices to local law enforcement, and police flooded the FCC with letters of support. The lobbying campaign was a success. Today nearly 60 law enforcement agencies in 23 states are known to possess a Stingray or some form of cell-site simulator, though experts believe that number likely underrepresents the real total.
In some jurisdictions, police use cell-site simulators regularly. The Baltimore Police Department, for example, has used Stingrays more than 4, times since Police often cite the war on terror in acquiring such systems.
In Tacoma, Washington, police claimed Stingrays could prevent attacks using improvised explosive devices — the roadside bombs that plagued soldiers in Iraq. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment for this article.
The capabilities of the devices are kept under lock and key — a secrecy that hearkens back to their military origins.
Indeed, while several of the devices in the military catalogue obtained by The Intercept are actively deployed by federal and local law enforcement agencies, according to public records, judges have struggled to obtain details of how they work.
Other products in the secret catalogue have never been publicly acknowledged and any use by state, local, and federal agencies inside the U. Illinois, Michigan, and Maryland police forces have all used asset forfeiture funds to pay for Stingray-type equipment. Ina U. Law enforcement has responded with some limited forms of transparency.
In September, the Justice Department issued new guidelines for the use of Stingrays and similar devices, including that federal law enforcement agencies using them must obtain a warrant based on probable cause and must delete any data intercepted from individuals not under investigation.
Meanwhile, parallel guidelines issued by the Department of Homeland Security in October do not require warrants for operations on the U. In his memo, Judge Iain Johnston sharply criticized the secrecy surrounding Stingrays and other surveillance devices, suggesting that it made weighing the constitutional implications of their use extremely difficult.Internet censorship isn't just a parental or governmental tool.
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The U.S. government has been using cell-site simulators for at least 20 years, but their use by local law enforcement is a more recent development. The archetypical cell-site simulator, the.