Feds' New Cell Phone Spying Device Raising Privacy Concerns [FEATURE]

special to Drug War Chronicle by independent investigative journalist Clarence Walker, [email protected]

Blocked by a Supreme Court decision from using GPS tracking devices without a warrant, federal investigators and other law enforcement agencies are turning to a new, more powerful and more threatening technology in their bid to spy more freely on those they suspect of drug crimes. That's leading civil libertarians, electronic privacy advocates, and even some federal judges to raise the alarm about a new surveillance technology whose use has yet to be taken up definitively by the federal courts.

StingRay cell phone spying device (US Patent photo)
The new surveillance technology is the StingRay (also marketed as Triggerfish, IMSI Catcher, Cell-site Simulator or Digital Analyzer), a sophisticated, portable spy device able to track cell phone signals inside vehicles, homes and insulated buildings. StingRay trackers act as fake cell towers, allowing police investigators to pinpoint location of a targeted wireless mobile by sucking up phone data such as text messages, emails and cell-site information.

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.

[While the US courts are only beginning to grapple with StingRay, the high tech cat-and-mouse game between cops and criminals continues afoot. Foreign hackers reportedly sell an underground IMSI tracker to counter the Stingray to anyone who asks for $1000. And in December 2011, noted German security expert Karsten Nohl released "Catcher Catcher," powerful software that monitors a network's traffic to seek out the StingRay in use.]

Originally intended for terrorism investigations, the feds and local law enforcement agencies are now using the James Bond-type surveillance to track cell phones in drug war cases across the nation without a warrant. Federal officials say that is fine -- responding to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) and the First Amendment Coalition, the Justice Department argued that no warrant was needed to use StingRay technology.

"If a device is not capturing the contents of a particular dialogue call, the device does not require a warrant, but only a court order under the Pen Register Statute showing the material obtained is relevant to an ongoing investigation," the department wrote.

The FBI claims that it is adhering to lawful standards in using StingRay. "The bureau advises field officers to work closely with the US Attorney's Office in their districts to comply with legal requirements," FBI spokesman Chris Allen told the Washington Post last week, but the agency has refused to fully disclose whether or not its agents obtain probable cause warrants to track phones using the controversial device.

And the federal government's response to the EFF's FOIA about Stingray wasn't exactly responsive. While the FOIA request generated over 20,000 records related to StingRay, the Justice Department released only a pair of court orders and a handful of heavily redacted documents that didn't explain when and how the technology was used.

The LA Weekly reported in January that the StingRay "intended to fight terrorism was used in far more routine Los Angeles Police criminal investigations," apparently without the courts' knowledge that it probes the lives of non-suspects living in the same neighborhood with a suspect.

Critics say the technology wrongfully invades technology and that its uncontrolled use by law enforcement raised constitutional questions. "It is the biggest threat to cell phone privacy you don't know about," EFF said in a statement.

ACLU privacy researcher Christopher Soghoian told a Yale Law School Location Tracking and Biometrics Conference panel last month that "the government uses the device either when a target is routinely and quickly changing phones to thwart a wiretap or when police don't have sufficient cause for a warrant."

"The government is hiding information about new surveillance technology not only from the public, but even from the courts," ACLU staff attorney Linda Lye wrote in a legal brief in the first pending federal StingRay case (see below). "By keeping courts in the dark about new technologies, the government is essentially seeking to write its own search warrants, and that's not how the Constitution works."

Lye further expressed concern over the StingRay's ability to interfere with cell phone signals in violation of Federal Communication Act. "We haven't seen documents suggesting the LAPD or any other agency have sought or obtained FCC authorization," she wrote.

StingRay pricing chart (publicintelligence.net)
"If the government shows up in your neighborhood, essentially every phone is going to check in with the government," said the ACLU's Soghoian. "The government is sending signals through people's walls and clothes and capturing information about innocent people. That's not much different than using invasive technology to search every house on a block," Soghoian said during interviews with reporters covering the StingRay story.

Advocates also raised alarms over another troubling issue: Using the StingRay allows investigators to bypass the routine process of obtaining fee-based location data from cell service providers like Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Comcast. Unlike buying location data fro service providers, using StingRay leaves no paper trail for defense attorneys.

Crack defense attorney Stephen Leckar who scored a victory in a landmark Supreme Court decision over the feds' warrantless use of a GPS tracker in US v. Jones, a cocaine trafficking case where the government tracked Jones' vehicle for weeks without a warrant, also has concerns.

"Anytime the government refuses to disclose the ambit of its investigatory device, one has to wonder, what's really happening," he told the Chronicle. "If without a warrant the feds use this sophisticated device for entry into people's homes, accessing private information, they may run afoul of a concurring opinion by Justice Alito, who ruled in US v Jones whether people would view unwarranted monitoring of their home or property as Constitutionally repugnant."

Leckar cited Supreme Court precedent in Katz v. US (privacy) and US v. Kyllo (thermal imaging), where the Supreme Court prohibited searches conducted by police from outside the home to obtain information behind closed doors. Similar legal thinking marked February's Supreme Court decision in a case where it prohibited the warrantless use of drug dogs to sniff a residence, Florida v. Jardines.

The EFF FOIA lawsuit shed light on how the US government sold StingRay devices to state and local law enforcement agencies for use specifically in drug cases. The Los Angeles and Fort Worth police departments have publicly acknowledged buying the devices, and records show that they are using them for drug investigations.

"Out of 155 cell phone investigations conducted by LAPD between June and September 2012, none of these cases involved terrorism, but primarily involved drugs and other felonies," said Peter Scheer, director of the First Amendment Center.

The StingRay technology is so new and so powerful that it not only raises Fourth Amendment concerns, it also raises questions about whether police and federal agents are withholding information about it from judges to win approval to monitor suspects without meeting the probable cause standard required by the Fourth. At least one federal judge thinks they are. Magistrate Judge Brian Owsley of the Southern District of Texas in Corpus Christi told the Yale conference federal prosecutors are using clever techniques to fool judges into allowing use of StingRay. They will draft surveillance requests to appear as Pen Register applications, which don't need to meet the probable cause standards.

"After receiving a second StingRay request," Owsley told the panel, "I emailed every magistrate judge in the country telling them about the device. And hardly anyone understood them."

In a earlier decision related to a Cell-site Simulator, Judge Owsley denied a DEA request to obtain data information to identify where the cell phone belonging to a drug trafficker was located. DEA wanted to use the suspect's E911 emergency tracking system that is operated by the wireless carrier. E911 trackers reads signals sent to satellites from a cell phone's GPS chip or by triangulation of radio transmitted signal. Owsley told the panel that federal agents and US attorneys often apply for a court order to show that any information obtained with a StingRay falls under the Stored Communication Act and the Pen Register statute.

DEA later petitioned Judge Owsley to issue an order allowing the agent to track a known drug dealer with the StingRay. DEA emphasized to Owsley how urgently they needed approval because the dealer had repeatedly changed cell phones while they spied on him. Owsley flatly denied the request, indicating the StingRay was not covered under federal statute and that DEA and prosecutors had failed to disclose what they expected to obtain through the use of the stored data inside the drug dealer's phone, protected by the Fourth Amendment.

"There was no affidavit attached to demonstrate probable cause as required by law under rule 41 of federal criminal procedures," Owsley pointed out. The swiping of data off wireless phones is "cell tower dumps on steroids," Owsley concluded.

But judges in other districts have ruled favorably for the government. A federal magistrate judge in Houston approved DEA request for cell tower data without probable cause. More recently, New York Southern District Federal Magistrate Judge Gabriel Gorenstein approved warrantless cell-site data.

"The government did not install the tracking device -- and the cell user chose to carry the phone that permitted transmission of its information to a carrier," Gorenstein held in that opinion. "Therefore no warrant is needed."

In a related case, US District Court Judge Liam O'Grady of the Northern District of Virginia ruled that the government could obtain data from Twitter accounts of three Wikileakers without a warrant. Because they had turned over their IP addresses when they opened their Twitter accounts, they had no expectation of privacy, he ruled.

"Petitioners knew or should have known that their IP information was subject to examination by Twitter, so they had a lessened expectation of privacy in that information, particularly in light of their apparent consent to the Twitter terms of service and privacy policy," Judge O'Grady wrote.

A federal judge in Arizona is now set to render a decision in the nation's first StingRay case. After a hearing last week, the court in US v. Rigmaiden is expected to issue a ruling that could set privacy limits on how law enforcement uses the new technology. Just as the issue of GPS tracking technology eventually ended up before the Supreme Court, this latest iteration of the ongoing balancing act between enabling law enforcement to do its job and protecting the privacy and Fourth Amendment rights of citizens could well be headed there, too.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!

Prohibition a Tool for Ending Privacy and Freedom

If a writer were to do a sci-fi themed script focused on ending anonymity and privacy in some civilization of the present, what better way than that of creating a specious social crisis that inherently requires the end of privacy and freedom to achieve an illusion of victory over a non-existent problem? 

sting llike a bee

   We all knew years ago off the likelihood for this to happen...1984 was already real....yet it was denied or  irrelevant to daily life....besides   what were we  to do...??

I believe the 99% will prevail  but we must muster the ethics and morality, courage and determination to succeed     thanks for this great article...stay strong   peace

cricut.com/setup

Cricut.com/setup allows you to set up your new Cricut machine. Your Cricut machine lets you cut and craft multiple designs. One can easily print many types of materials by using creativity options. Setting up Cricut Setup is easy, and once it’s set up, you can start crafting. Cricut machines are available in different types, including Cricut Joy, Cricut Maker 3, Cricut Maker, Cricut Explore 3, and Cricut Explore Air 2, and could be set up through design cricut.com setup.

ilearn

온카지노

I always think about what  is. It seems to be a perfect article that seems to blow away such worries. 온카지노 seems to be the best way to show something. When you have time, please write an article about what  means!!

Dragon Hatch is a 5 by 5

Dragon Hatch is a 5 by 5 arrangement of symbols video slot featuring various features that help in cascading more wins. Collect winning symbols to trigger the Earth Dragon Feature, Water Dragon Feature, Fire Dragon Feature and Mother Dragon Feature. Each Dragon Feature will bring different surprises to the players!
Can you bring the legendary creatures to life?  <a href="https://pg.city/pg-slot/">pg slot</a>

Survey

Big Lots Survey

If you want to be lucky and win a $1000 big lots gift card, then you must attend the big lots customer survey at Biglots survey official website at www.biglotssurvey.com to claim your biglots.com/rewards. Big lots survey is conducted by the Big Lots retail company to find exactly what the customers are positive and satisfied about and what they have complaints about.

바카라사이트

Hello. I'm subscribed to your posts. You inspire me a lot. 바카라사이트 I am so grateful.

Johnny Lawrence Cobra Kai Jacket

Thanks for the nice blog. It was very useful for me. I'm happy I found this blog.Johnny Lawrence Cobra Kai Jacket

If you're looking for a

If you're looking for a reliable, easy-to-use login solution for your business, look no further than Orbilogin.com. We offer a variety of login options to fit your unique business needs, and our customer service is second to none.

With Orbilogin.com, you'll have peace of mind knowing that your login process is secure and efficient. We offer a variety of features that will make logging in to your business easier than ever, and our team is always available to answer any questions you may have.

seoozonepk

<a href="https://www.webpakistani.com/toyota-yaris-price-in-pakistan-key-features-interior-specs/">toyota yaris price in pakistan</a>.

<a href="https://www.webpakistani.com/pakistani-actress-meera-biography/">Pakistani actress meera</a>.

<a href="https://www.webpakistani.com/history-of-african-swords/">African Swords</a>.

Routerlogin.net provides

Routerlogin.net provides top-of-the-line protection for your home network and family. Our powerful firewall and virus scanner keep you safe online, while our Parental Controls help you protect your kids from inappropriate content. With Routerlogin.net, you can have peace of mind knowing that your home is safe and secure.

Welcome to Routerlogin.net,

Welcome to Routerlogin.net, the home of routers! Our easy-to-use platform offers a wealth of features to help you get the most out of your router. From parental controls to managing passwords and security, we've got you covered. Plus, if you need help on the go, our online support team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Thank you for choosing Routerlogin.net.

Welcome to Routerlogin.net,

Welcome to Routerlogin.net, the home of your routers! Our easy-to-use platform provides a wealth of features and functions that make it simple for you to get the most out of your router. From setting parental controls to managing passwords and security, we've got you covered. Plus, our online support team is available 24/7 should you need help with anything along the way. Thanks for choosing Routerlogin.net!

Welcome to Routerlogin.net,

Welcome to Routerlogin.net, the home of your Nighthawk Router! Here you can find everything you need to get the most out of your router, including support and how-to guides. Need help logging in? Our easy-to-use login page makes it simple. If you're looking for a faster, more secure network, look no further than our Nighthawk routers. Thanks for choosing Routerlogin.net!

Welcome to Routerlogin.net,

Welcome to Routerlogin.net, the home of your Nighthawk Router! Here you can find everything you need to get the most out of your router, including support and how-to guides. Need help logging in? Our easy-to-use login page makes it simple. If you're looking for a faster, more secure network, look no further than our Nighthawk routers. Thanks for choosing Routerlogin.net!

mywifiext.net is a website

mywifiext.net is a website that helps users extend the range of their home WiFi network. The site offers helpful tips and tricks, as well as easy-to-follow instructions, on how to get the most out of your home WiFi network. Whether you're looking to boost your signal or want to set up a guest network, mywifiext.net has you covered. Plus, if you ever run into any issues with your home WiFi system, the site's team of experts are available 24/7 to help solve them. So what are you waiting for? Check out mywifiext.net today!

Get online with

Get online with Routerlogin.net | www.routerlogin.net | your Nighthawk router! Our easy-to-use website will help you get connected in no time. Plus, our secure login ensures that your data is safe when you're online. So don't wait - get online with Routerlogin.net today!

If you're looking for a

If you're looking for a router that's both fast and reliable, then you need the Routerlogin.net routerlogin.net. This powerful router is perfect for homes and businesses

that need to stay connected at all times. With speeds of up to 3 Gbps, you'll be able to stream HD video, play online games, and surf the web without any lag or buffering. And thanks to the advanced security features, you can rest assured that your data is safe and secure.

 

Looking for a reliable,

Looking for a reliable, high-performance router? Look no further than Routerlogin.net. With its powerful processor and networking capabilities, Routerlogin.net is perfect for busy homes and offices.Routerlogin.net's user-friendly interface makes it easy to set up and manage your network. And with its advanced security features, you can be sure your network is safe from online threats

 Welcome to Routerlogin.net!

 

Welcome to Routerlogin.net! Here you'll find everything you need to set up and manage your home network. We make it easy for you to access your files, share photos and videos with friends, and keep your family safe online. Our intuitive interface makes it easy for anyone to get started - even if you've never used a router before. So don't wait any longer - sign up today and see the difference Routerlogin.net can make!

Looking for a hassle-free way

Looking for a hassle-free way to login to your Orbilogin account? Look no further than www.orbilogin.com! With our simple and easy-to-use login portal, you can quickly and easily access your account without any problems. Plus, our secure login system ensures that your account remains safe and secure at all times. So why wait? Login to your Orbilogin account now with www.orbilogin.com!

Orbilogin.com/ is a website

Orbilogin.com/ is a website that provides users with the ability to manage their home WiFi network from one central location. The site also offers an array of helpful tools and resources for troubleshooting any WiFi connection issues that users may experience.

If you are looking for the

If you are looking for the best laptop under 70000, you have come to the right place. Our team has put together a selection of the best laptops money can buy, so you can be sure that you are getting your money's worth. Whether you are a student or a business professional, we have just what you need. We have a variety of brands and models to choose from, so you can find the perfect one for your needs. With such amazing deals available, there is no reason to wait any longer!

Database Assignment Help for students

Our assignment help service ensures that the substance given to you is totally unique and counterfeiting free. We’re available online 24x7 and we help you with the cheapest Database Assignment Help for students.

Pleated Filter Bag Requirement?

Amrit Filtration equipments are the best dust collector filter bag manufacturers in india. We strive to maintain the highest client satisfaction levels by presenting a broad gamut of quality approved products, which includes Filter Bags, Sequential Timers and Dust Collector Filter Bag.

finger mehndi design

 If you apply a simple finger mehndi design to your hands, it will dry up fast, and no one will be able to tell that you don't have mehndi on your hands.

ij Cannon Printer

Hi! this is nice article you shared with great information. Thanks for giving such a wonderful informative information. I hope you will publish again such type of post. Also, please check out about:
ij.start.cannon
ij.start.cannon
PayPal Login
PayPal Login
PayPal Login
quickbooks online login
xfinity login

Amped Wireless Setup

The default web URL Setup.ampedwireless.com can help access the network and device settings page. Here, you can assign in the details such as the SSID and the network password about the amped wireless network. If you are looking for help on the amped wireless setup process, you can always reach out to the team at our end. Or, get help from the blog section on our website, now!

Amped Extender Firmware Update

Amped Wireless Setup

How to do Netgear Router Login Easily

If you wish to configure your Netgear router, you can use the default gateway routerlogin.net. The default IP address can also be used here as an alternative. In case you fail to access the login page, ensure that the internet connection is smooth. Still, if any of the troubleshooting tips fails, you can reset the device at any time to factory defaults. Call our experts on the toll-free number to have insights on the login process.

How to do tplinklogin setup easiy

 

 The tplinklogin process helps in configuring the advanced wireless settings of the device. It is important to access the web management page of the device if you wish to customize changes. In case you have any queries or want more help on the login process, just call our technicians in the end. They will provide you with a bit of expert advice.

Persuasive Essay Writing Help

If you are looking for essay writing services? We are offering all kinds of writing services like Analysis essay writing, Persuasive & Professional essay writing services for students 24/7.

Matrix Trench Coat

Very nice article, I enjoyed reading your post, very nice share, I want to twit this to my followers. Thanks!.Matrix Trench Coat

เครดิต ฟรี

เครดิต ฟรีOnline slots no minimum deposit-withdrawal with automation As fast as 8 seconds

สล็อตออนไลน์

สล็อตออนไลน์Online slots no minimum deposit-withdrawal with automation As fast as 8 seconds

SLOT ONLINE

SLOT ONLINEOnline slots from the leading slots web camps that are popular and is accepted from all over the world

สล็อต

สล็อตWe are a direct web slots provider, not through an agent. Received international standards to be the most popular online slot website of the year 2022

slotxo

slotxoSlotxo, an online slots game with more than 500 games to choose from, SLOT XO is available for betting today around the world on casinos.

Betflix

Betflixonline gambling website No. 1 in Thailand that includes betflix websites | betflik casino slots

PG SLOT AUTO

PG SLOT AUTOplay PG camp slots Through the auto system, pgslot auto access is open for all members 24 hours a day.

เล่น สล็อต

เล่น สล็อตTry to play slots, free slots games, the best of the year 2022, direct website, try to play that we have selected to play slots for free.

Neo Matrix Trench Coat

Very nice article, I enjoyed reading your post, very nice share, I want to twit this to my followers. Thanks!.Neo Matrix Trench Coat

Tallin

Interesting post, thanks. I think that every person should think about their own security and privacy. My friend from chatroulette thought about this before the renovation and thought of a hidden safe for documents and other valuables. And after the repair is completed, he uses it and everything is fine. Of course, you can’t put a safe on the phone, but you can come up with something to protect yourself.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <i> <blockquote> <p> <address> <pre> <h1> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6> <br> <b>

More information about formatting options

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, 2015 Drug War Killings, 2016 Drug War Killings, 2017 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, Vaping, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Pill Testing, Safer Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Kratom, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psilocybin / Magic Mushrooms, Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School