It's infuriating the lengths that the government is going to in order to hide their spying. Now, they're blocking an investigation.
The American Civil Liberties union put in a routine request for public records about the use of surveillance in Florida. Before the police could respond, the U.S. Marshals Service jumped in and confiscated the documents.
ACLU staff attorney Nathan Freed Wessler called the move “truly extraordinary and beyond the worst transparency violations” the group has seen regarding documents detailing police use of the technology.
“This is consistent with what we’ve seen around the country with federal agencies trying to meddle with public requests for StingRay information,” Wessler said, noting that federal authorities have in other cases invoked the Homeland Security Act to prevent the release of such records. “The feds are working very hard to block any release of this information to the public.”
The request was to find out more about "StingRays," which are structures that simulate a cellphone tower and trick nearby mobile devices to connect to them, giving up the phone's location.
A StingRay can see and record a device’s unique ID number and traffic data, as well as information that points to its location. By moving a StingRay around, authorities can triangulate a device’s location with greater precision than is possible using data obtained from a carrier’s fixed tower location.
The ACLU wanted to see the records because they've learned that a Florida police detective got permission to use a StingRay by filing a request with the court instead of getting a probable-cause warrant.
Recently, the Tallahassee police department revealed it had used StingRays at least 200 times since 2010 without telling any judge because the device’s manufacturer made the police department sign a non-disclosure agreement that police claim prevented them from disclosing use of the device to the courts.
This should make you want to protect your phone right now. Go here to stop the NSA and others from spying on you.