from the but-we-have-to-be-able-track-everyone dept.
"Columbia Tribune / AP reports of Police agencies' reluctance to divulge details about the Stingray cell-phone interception device, whose use has increased since a Supreme Court decision to prevent the use of GPS tracking devices without a warrant. The Stingray is reported to be a suitcase-sized device that pretends to be a mobile phone tower, tricking a cell phone to connect to it instead of the cellphone company's tower, but details on how this works are not revealed.
In one of the rare court cases involving the device, the FBI acknowledged in 2011 that so-called cell site simulator technology affects innocent users in the area where it's operated, not just a suspect police are seeking.
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.
However, a report by GlobalResearch.ca gives much greater detail, including photographs of the device:
When a suspect makes a phone call, the StingRay tricks the cell into sending its signal back to the police, thus preventing the signal from traveling back to the suspect's wireless carrier. But not only does StingRay track the targeted cell phone, it also extracts data off potentially thousands of other cell phone users in the area.
Although manufactured by a Germany and Britain-based firm, the StingRay devices are sold in the US by the Harris Corporation, an international telecommunications equipment company. It gets between $60,000 and $175,000 for each Stingray it sells to US law enforcement agencies."
MuckRock launches its first law suit. The target none other than CIA.
No, they aren't seeking to uncover who murdered JFK or compensations for subjects of CIA special rendition, but the action is important for a transparent civil society: specifically, they seek information about the processes used by CIA to handle FOIA requests.
For those not knowing who/what Muckrock is, they are the guys that will assists anyone in filing governmental FOIA requests then publish the obtained information for the public. Notably:
- they partnered with EFF in getting info on how the various governance and law enforcement bodies plan to use drones on US territory
- they caused the Boston police to suspend the use of hightech licence plate scanners
- and, in partnershsip with beacon reader, they plan to uncover the extent of law enforcement access to mobile communication data, including the level in which stingray devices are employed
To my mind, chipping in $5 or using their services to lodge your own FOIA requests may have more beneficial effect on the USA society than venting our spleen on SN (which, while good for us, I don't have any illusions it would make too much of a difference on society)
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is warning of a new surveillance technology to look out for alongside drones, automatic license plate readers, facial recognition, IMSI catchers (like Stingray), and Rapid DNA analyzers. It's Xerox's new and improved system for Automated Vehicle Occupancy Detection, also known as Automated Vehicle Passenger Detection or Automated Vehicle Occupancy Verification:
For years, government agencies have chased technologies that would make it easier to ensure that vehicles in carpool lanes are actually carrying multiple passengers. Perhaps the only reason these systems haven't garnered much attention is that they haven't been particularly effective or accurate, as UC Berkeley researchers noted in a 2011 report.
Now, an agency in San Diego, Calif. believes it may have found the answer: the Automated Vehicle Passenger Detection system developed by Xerox.
The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), a government umbrella group that develops transportation and public safety initiatives across the San Diego County region, estimates that 15% of drivers in High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes aren't supposed to be there. After coming up short with earlier experimental projects, the agency is now testing a brand new technology to crack down on carpool-lane scofflaws on the I-15 freeway.
Documents obtained by CBS 8 reporter David Gotfredson show that Xerox's system uses two cameras to capture the front and side views of a car's interior. Then "video analytics" and "geometric algorithms" are used to detect whether the seats are occupied.
When the detection system's computer determines a driver is improperly traveling in the carpool lane, the cameras instantly send photos of the car's interior and its license plate to the California Highway Patrol.
In short: the technology is looking at your image, the image of the people you're with, your location, and your license plate. (SANDAG told CBS the systems will not be storing license plate data during the trial phase and the system will, at least for now, automatically redact images of drivers and passengers. Xerox's software, however, allows police the option of using a weaker form of redaction that can be reversed on request.)
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is acknowledging for the first time that foreign actors or criminals are using eavesdropping devices to track cellphone activity in Washington, D.C., according to a letter obtained by The Hill.
DHS in a letter to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) last Monday said they came across unauthorized cell-site simulators in the Washington, D.C., area last year. Such devices, also known as "stingrays," can track a user's location data through their mobile phones and can intercept cellphone calls and messages.
[...] DHS official Christopher Krebs, the top official leading the NPPD, added in a separate letter accompanying his response that such use "of IMSI catchers by malicious actors to track and monitor cellular users is unlawful and threatens the security of communications, resulting in safety, economic and privacy risks."
DHS said they have not determined the users behind such eavesdropping devices, nor the type of devices being used. The agency also did not elaborate on how many devices it unearthed, nor where authorities located them.
Related: Police: Stingray Device Intercepts Mobile Phones
ACLU Reveals Greater Extent of FBI and Law Enforcement "Stingray" Use
US IRS Bought Stingray, Stingray II, and Hailstorm IMSI-Catchers
EFF Launches the Cell-Site Simulator Section of Street Level Surveillance
NYPD Making Heavy Use of Stingrays
New York Lawmakers Want Local Cops to Get Warrant Before Using Stingray
New Jersey State Police Spent $850,000 on Harris Corp. Stingray Devices