LAPD Makes Routine Use of Indiscriminate ‘Anti-Terrorism’ Surveillance

e589stingray 600x400 LAPD Makes Routine Use of Indiscriminate Anti Terrorism Surveillance

The other day
wrote of the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s efforts to make
sure that a Massachusetts resident “accidentally” tracked when he
was a passenger in a car to which a GPS device had been attached
would be recognized as having legal standing to challenge the
police surveillance. The EFF warns that such collateral subjects of
official scrutiny are likely to become more common as far-ranging
snooping tools are put to greater use. Now, Reason 24/7

tells us that the Los Angeles Police Department makes routine
use of a technology that lets it determine the position of every
cell phone within its wide reach.From the
L.A. Weekly:
A secretive cellphone spy device known as StingRay, intended to
fight terrorism, was used in far more routine LAPD criminal
investigations 21 times in a four-month period during 2012,
apparently without the courts’ knowledge that the technology probes
the lives of non-suspects who happen to be in the same neighborhood
as suspected terrorists.
According to records released to the First Amendment Coalition
under the California Public Records Act, StingRay, which allows
police to track mobile phones in real time, was tapped for more
than 13 percent of the 155 “cellular phone investigation cases”
that Los Angeles police conducted between June and September last
“Stingray” is actually a brand name that has stuck as a generic
monicker for International Mobile Subscriber Identity locators.
These devices masquerade as cell towers to ping all of the mobile
devices on a given network within their range, so long as they’re
turned on, and so reveal their location.The LAPD is being vague about the legal guidelines under which
it uses stingrays. That’s no surprise, since the Wall Street
reported in 2011 that the FBI and Department of Justice insist
the devices don’t require search warrants. Los Angeles police
officials probably want to keep the technology subject to as loose
a standard as possible. To do that, the LAPD is apparently
presenting stingrays to judges as old-fashioned “pen register/trap
and trace” long used to identify individual callers on landlines.
The occasional jurist might raise an eyebrow (we can hope) upon
discovering that stingrays are a tad more powerful.Powerful, indiscriminate surveillance technology is coming soon
to a law-enforcement agency near you! Or it’s already there.

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LAPD Makes Routine Use of Indiscriminate ‘Anti-Terrorism’ Surveillance

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