Home
Subscribe (free)
About NaturalNews
Contact Us
Write for NaturalNews
Media Info
Advertising Info

Stingray tech used by law enforcement to spy on your cell phone location WITHOUT a court order


Stingray tech
Most Viewed Articles
Popular on Facebook
http://www.naturalnews.com/051427_stingray_tech_privacy_spying.html
Delicious
diaspora
Print
Email
Share
(NaturalNews) Federal intelligence agencies aren't the only ones secretly collecting sensitive private information about American citizens these days; it's happening on the local level as well.

The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) has released information it obtained in a lawsuit regarding the use of "Stingray" technology by the Erie County Sheriff's Office to track the location of citizens through their cellphones.

Stingrays are devices that act as cell tower simulators, allowing a user to pinpoint the physical location of a person via their cellphone. The technology is also capable of collecting the phone numbers that a person has dialed or texted. In certain circumstances, it can even spy on the contents of communications.

The NYCLU is concerned over the use of this technology due to its intrusive nature and the fact it can be used to collect private information about innocent people.

There are also deeper concerns. In order to obtain the $350,000, taxpayer-funded surveillance system, the Erie County Sheriff's Office was required to sign a confidentiality agreement with the FBI. This agreement includes stipulations that require the sheriff's office to operate the equipment in almost complete secrecy. There is even a clause allowing the FBI to request that the sheriff's office dismiss any criminal cases that might compromise the secrecy regarding how the Stingray is used.

NYCLU Staff Attorney Mariko Hirose said:

These records confirm some of the very worst fears about local law enforcement's use of this expensive and intrusive surveillance equipment. Not only did the Sheriff's Office promise the FBI breathtaking secrecy to keep information about stingrays as hidden as possible, it implemented almost no privacy protections for the Erie County residents it is sworn to protect and serve.

Records released by the sheriff's office show that in the period between May 1, 2010, and October 3, 2014, the Stingray was used at least 47 times. In some of these instances, the technology was used to help other nearby law enforcement agencies.

However, permission was granted to use the Stingray through a court order in only one case. This runs contrary to statements made by the sheriff claiming that "judicial review" was implemented each time the device was used.

As Hirose noted:

These records confirm some of the very worst fears about local law enforcement's use of this expensive and intrusive surveillance equipment. Not only did the Sheriff's Office promise the FBI breathtaking secrecy to keep information about stingrays as hidden as possible, it implemented almost no privacy protections for the Erie County residents it is sworn to protect and serve.

The NYCLU claims that at least one criminal case has been dismissed over use of the Stingray, although the sheriff's office denies it.

One of the questions raised by the NYCLU addresses the usefulness of this "expensive and intrusive" technology if cases are likely to be dismissed. As NYCLU Western Region Director John Curr III put it:

If the FBI can command the Sheriff's Office to dismiss criminal cases to protect its secret stingrays, it is not clear how the $350,000 we are spending on stingray equipment is keeping the people of Buffalo safer.

In a report on the use of Stingrays and the potential threat to privacy, the NYCLU observed that this technology can be used to "pinpoint a person's location in the home, a place of worship or a doctor's office, or conduct mass surveillance on people gathered in an area, whether for a protest, lecture or a party."

Even when used to collect information on a single suspect, the Stingray might also inadvertently gather information on innocent people in the vicinity.

It appears that once again, our liberties and rights to privacy are being eroded incrementally in the name of law and order by those who consider themselves above the rule of law.

Sources:
http://www.wkbw.com
http://www.nyclu.org
http://www.nyclu.org/stingrays
Join the Health Ranger's FREE email newsletter
Get breaking news alerts on GMOs, fluoride, superfoods, natural cures and more...
Your privacy is protected. Unsubscribe at any time. | Learn more...
comments powered by Disqus