Civilian law enforcement agencies across the United States are using covert spy technology known as “Stingray“ tracking devices. This spy technology was originally developed and implemented by the FBI (United States Federal Bureau of Investigation) and has since spread to over a dozen U.S. federal agencies. These agencies have forced civilian law enforcement agencies to sign non-disclosure agreements about the technology and its use. Because of this, courts across the U.S. have been forced to throw out legitimate criminal cases because the authorities have been unable (and unwilling) to discuss the methods which they used to obtain evidence in the cases.
Stingrays, also known as “cell site simulators” or “IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity) catchers“ are invasive surveillance devices that mimic cell phone towers. They send out signals which 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.
The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) has identified 48 civilian law enforcement agencies in 20 U.S. states (and the District of Columbia) that currently use Stingrays, though many agencies continue to hide such purchases and use them in secret. Due to the ACLU raising awareness on the issue, many U.S. judges and prosecutors have forced police to receive special permission before using Stingrays.
~ MERIT FREEMAN
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