The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has released a map of states that are known to use military grade spying technology, known as “stingray.” They have pinpointed 50 agencies across 21 states that use the intrusive devise.
According to the ACLU, stingray devices are also known as “cell site simulators” or “IMSI catchers,” are invasive cell phone surveillance devices that mimic cell phone towers and send out signals to trick cell phones in the area into transmitting their locations and identifying information. When used to track a suspect’s cell phone, they also gather information about the phones of countless bystanders who happen to be nearby.”
The device has potential to be abused by a corrupt individual to spy on former lovers, spouses and gain private information on anyone occupying the surrounding area.
Baltimore police have used stingray technology over 4,300 times under federal secrecy, according to the international business times.
This is one of many examples of the FBI working with a county sheriff’s office to squelch any possible leak regarding the Stingray’s illegal use on American soil.
Local police would rather let individuals go for their crime than give up their stingray secrets, according to CNN.
Judge Patrick H. NeMoyer in Buffalo, New York, described a 2012 deal between the FBI and the Erie County Sheriff’s Office in his court order Tuesday. The judge, who reviewed the deal, said the FBI instructed the police to drop criminal charges instead of revealing “any information concerning the cell site simulator or its use.”
Erie police have tried hard to keep that contract secret, but the judge rejected that idea and ordered that details of the Stingrays be made public.
“If that is not an instruction that affects the public, nothing is,” NeMoyer wrote.
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