LONG-SECRET STINGRAY MANUALS DETAIL HOW POLICE CAN SPY ON PHONES
*Harris Corp.’s Stingray* surveillance device has been one of the most
closely guarded secrets in law enforcement for more than 15 years. The
company and its police clients across the United States have fought to
keep information about the mobile phone-monitoring boxes from the public
against which they are used. The Intercept has obtained several Harris
instruction manuals spanning roughly 200 pages and meticulously detailing
how to create a cellular surveillance dragnet.
Harris has fought to keep its surveillance equipment, which carries price
tags in the low six figures, hidden from both privacy activists and the
general public, arguing that information about the gear could help
criminals. Accordingly, an older Stingray manual released under the Freedom
of Information Act to news website TheBlot.com
year was almost completely redacted. So too have law enforcement agencies
at every level, across the country, evaded almost all attempts to learn how
and why these extremely powerful tools are being used — though court
battles have made it clear Stingrays are often deployed without any
warrant. The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department alone has snooped via
Stingray, sans warrant, over 300 times
Richard Tynan, a technologist with Privacy International, told The
Intercept that the “manuals released today offer the most up-to-date view
on the operation of” Stingrays and similar cellular surveillance devices,
with powerful capabilities that threaten civil liberties, communications
infrastructure, and potentially national security. He noted that the
documents show the “Stingray II” device can impersonate four cellular
communications towers at once, monitoring up to four cellular provider
networks simultaneously, and with an add-on can operate on so-called 2G,
3G, and 4G networks simultaneously.
*“There really isn’t any place for innocent people to hide from a device
such as this,” Tynan wrote in an email.*
“As more of our infrastructure, homes, environment, and transportation are
connected wirelessly to the internet, such technologies really do pose a
massive risk to public safety and security.”
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