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Stingrays are designed to locate a mobile phone even when it's not being used to make a call. The Federal Bureau of Investigation considers the devices to be so critical that it has a policy of deleting the data gathered in their use, mainly to keep suspects in the dark about their capabilities, an FBI official told The Wall Street Journal in response to inquiries.
The feds use them hoping to have the phones of people they're tracking connect to the device (instead of a real mobile phone tower), and then using signal strength to figure out how far away they are. Do that a few times and you can triangulate someone's location, even if they're not making a call, and without having to ask the telcos for any location info (which, so far, they've been more than happy to turn over anyway).
Armed with new technologies, including mobile devices that tap into cellphone data in real time, dozens of local and state police agencies are capturing information about thousands of cellphone users at a time, whether they are targets of an investigation or not, according to public records obtained by USA TODAY and Gannett newspapers and TV stations.
The court also didn't seem to much care about the DOJ hiding its use of the stingray from judges:
The judge also ruled that the government was not in the wrong for failing to disclose to a magistrate judge that it planned to use a stingray to track the defendant, or to explain to the judge how the tracking device it intended to use worked. He characterized this information as a “detail of execution which need not be specified.”
The prosecutor, Frederick A. Battista, said the government obtained a "court order that satisfied [the] language" in the federal law on warrants. The judge then asked how an order or warrant could have been obtained without telling the judge what technology was being used. Mr. Battista said: "It was a standard practice, your honor."
Last week, the feds argued that they should not have to explain how they tracked Rigmaiden, because it would reveal too much information "since its public release could harm law enforcement efforts by compromising future use of the equipment."
WOW. So we may have just violated the crap out of the 4th, but we shouldn't have to tell you if we did or not because terrorists. I kinda see their point, but I also think it's a crappy one. These 'towers' are the kind of thing I only want to see used in the gravest of circumstances. Imminent terrorist attack (and I mean legit).
what if what they do, is only this.
what if they never cared about any of the "terrorists"
the movie sneakers said it best. No More Secrets
reply to post by boncho
Boncho, I want you comments and thoughts about the other things in the OP. We can argue terrorism later. I know you like poking buttons, but I really would rather hear what you think about everything else. Pretend I misspoke about terrorism. Ignore that part. I think you're a smart chap and want your opinions on the false cell phone towers first.
I'm having trouble figuring out who to accuse you of shilling for, but stop it. You stop it.