Operation Stingray Cell-Site Simulator - Luxury Coach Lifestyles
Journey with Confidence RV GPS App RV Trip Planner RV LIFE Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Take a Speed Test Free 7 Day Trial ×
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 04-28-2013, 06:51 PM   #1
Senior Member
NewellCrazy's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Sugarland, TX or Salida,CO
Posts: 1,867
Default Operation Stingray Cell-Site Simulator

[h=2]FBI Documents Shine Light on Clandestine Cellphone Tracking Tool[/h]

The FBI calls it a “sensitive investigative technique” that it wants to keep secret. But newly released documents that shed light on the bureau’s use of a controversial cellphone tracking technology called the “Stingray” have prompted fresh questions over the legality of the spy tool.

Functioning as a so-called “cell-site simulator,” the Stingray is a sophisticated portable surveillance device. The equipment is designed to send out a powerful signal that covertly dupes phones within a specific area into hopping onto a fake network. The feds say they use them to target specific groups or individuals and help track the movements of suspects in real time, not to intercept communications. But by design Stingrays, sometimes called “IMSI catchers,” collaterally gather data from innocent bystanders’ phones and can interrupt phone users’ service—which critics say violates a federal communications law.

The FBI has maintained that its legal footing here is firm. Now, though, internal documents obtained by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a civil liberties group, reveal the bureau appears well aware its use of the snooping gear is in dubious territory. Two heavily redacted sets of files released last month show internal Justice Department guidance that relates to the use of the cell tracking equipment, with repeated references to a crucial section of the Communications Act which outlines how “interference” with communication signals is prohibited.

It’s a small but significant detail. Why? Because it demonstrates that “there are clearly concerns, even within the agency, that the use of Stingray technology might be inconsistent with current regulations,” says EPIC attorney Alan Butler. “I don't know how the DOJ justifies the use of Stingrays given the limitations of the Communications Act prohibition.”

The FBI declined a request to comment on specific questions related to the legality of Stingrays, as it says the matter remains in litigation. Spokesman Christopher Allen told me by email that “in general the FBI cautions against drawing conclusions from redacted FOIA documents.”

A potential legal conflict, however, is not all the documents draw attention to. They disclose that the feds have procedures in place for loaning electronic surveillance devices (like the Stingray) to state police. This suggests the technology may have been used in cases across the United States, in line with a stellar investigation by LA Weekly last year, which reported that state cops in California, Florida, Texas, and Arizona had obtained Stingrays. More still, the trove offers a rare hint at the circumstances in which Stingrays are deployed. “Violent Gang Safe Street Task Forces Legal Issues" is the title of one newly released set of FBI presentation slides related to tracking tactics.

It’s likely that in the months ahead, a few more interesting nuggets of information will emerge. The FBI has told EPIC that it holds a mammoth 25,000 pages of documents that relate to Stingray tools, about 6,000 of which are classified. The Feds have been drip-releasing the documents month by month, and so far there have been four batches containing between 27 and 184 pages each. Though most of the contents—even paragraphs showing how the FBI is interpreting the law—have been heavy-handedly redacted, several eyebrow-raising details have made it through the cut. As I reported back in October, a previous release revealed the Feds have an internal manual called “GSM cellphone tracking for dummies.”

The release of the documents was first prompted last year after EPIC launched a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act. The suit was triggered after it emerged during a court case in 2011 that the feds had used a cell-site simulator in order to track down a suspect, with one agent admitting in an affidavit that the tool collaterally swept up data on “innocent, non-target devices” (U.S. v. Rigmaiden). The government has previously argued that tools like the Stingray are permissible without a search warrant—outside the search and seizure protections offered by the Fourth Amendment—because they use them to gather location data, not the content of communications. The Justice Department says cellphone users have no reasonable expectation of privacy over their location data—a claim that has incensed privacy and civil liberties groups.


If Ain't a Newell, It Ain't Wurt Oonin!
NewellCrazy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-28-2013, 09:58 PM   #2
Senior Member
Neweller's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Heartland
Posts: 3,563

We have been had quite a long time ago. More of the masses are just starting to wake up.
Previous Owner of 3 Newell's
Wanted: Newell Coach Needing Engine Replacement!
If you want to sell, PM or Private Message me. Thanks!

"I know I’m not perfect, and I don't live to be. But before you start pointing fingers, make sure your hands are clean."
-Bob Marley
Neweller is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
re-paint a coach or wrap a coach? Nara Queen Exterior Works 13 04-13-2013 01:33 AM
My Kind of Luxury Toad! A Beautiful Bentley Continental GT - Can You Relate? Neweller Toads and Towing Concerns 5 02-07-2013 08:24 PM
Transfer Switch Will Not Transfer power troubleshooting help ?? David Carrol Charging Systems, Electrical & Solar 4 09-15-2012 01:00 AM
Goodyear or Continental? folivier Running Gear, Brakes, Tires, Chassis and Pneumatic Systems 24 02-26-2012 07:30 PM
wood floor Mike Interior Works 1 09-08-2003 06:52 PM

» Recent Threads
» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Newell Coach Corporation or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.

All times are GMT. The time now is 11:26 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.