Skip to comments.Privacy Fears Linger Over LAPD Use Of Cellphone Tracking Device
Posted on 01/25/2013 12:37:28 PM PST by BenLurkin
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) Privacy advocates are questioning the legality of the use of a controversial cellphone tracking technology by the Los Angeles Police Department.
KNX 1070′s Claudia Peschiutta reports while police have lauded the effectiveness of the portable StingRay device in tracking down a suspect, critics are worried that other citizens data could be compromised in the process
Peter Scheer, executive director of the First Amendment Coalition, said his organization obtained documents that show the LAPD used the portable StingRay device 21 times out of of a total of 155 cell phone searches over a four-month period in 2012.
One of the concerns about it is that, although the police may be looking for a particular cell phone, they also are able to get the same information from other cell phones, said Scheer. It would appear that there has been some mission creep.
The StingRay is one brand of a technology known as an International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) locator, which allows any law enforcement or government agency to search large swaths of electronic data for a specific cell phone signal.
The device works by masquerading as a cell phone tower and connecting to any cell phone signal within range, which in turn provides data on dates, times and phone numbers of outgoing calls, as well as a phones GPS location.
Scheer said it remains unclear whether the LAPD has used the StingRay to bypass the process of getting a court order to obtain data from cell phone service providers.
Ann Linda Lye of the American Civil Liberties Union said because StingRays and other IMSI devices can interfere with cell phone signals, their use can violate the Federal Communications Act.
The Federal Communications Commission needs to grant authorization to local law enforcement agencies in order to operate StingRay devices, said Lye. We havent seen any documents that suggest that the LAPD has sought or obtained this kind of authorization from the FCC.
The LAPD declined an interview request by Peschiutta.
Scheer said the First Amendment Coalition will submit additional requests for information from the Department.
The public needs to know more, he said.
“Nobody needs an untraceable ,secretive , private cell phone. If you have nothing criminal to hide, there’s no need to be so secretive. The 4th Amendment is not a suicide pact.”
my best Di-Fi impersonation
Nifty gadget....wonder how many Chinese agents operate around the US presently...a hundred?
There’s probably half that many in Silicon Valley alone.
Nothing to worry about. You can trust your government. The city state and town officials will never order the police to do something that violates your rights. They are only looking for criminals. If you don’t commit a crime you have nothing to worry about.
< in case you didn’t get it, sarcasm>