California lawmakers want to shine light on the secret “Stingray” cellphone-tower imitators long used by government investigators and law enforcement, says Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
Shahid Buttar explained at the Electronic Frontier Foundation a California bill, SB 1186, would “vastly strengthen oversight relative to the indefensible and completely opaque status quo.”
EFF supports the bill because it would expand transparency and community control over the acquisition of surveillance technology.
“We encourage members of the state legislature to enact it – without further amendments – for the governor to sign into law, and also encourage Californians to raise our voices in support of the measure,” Buttar said.
For nearly a decade, the company Harris Corp. sold sophisticated military surveillance equipment to police departments across the U.S. “without any elected policymakers knowing that their tools even existed.”
The company builds cell-site simulators, sometimes described as a “Stingray,” after the trade name of an early version.
“They monitor cell phone networks by mimicking a cell tower and gaining transmissions from cell phones near it, thereby exposing the phones’ locations and unique identifiers (such as an IMSI number), and enabling capture of metadata and unencrypted voice and text content,” said Buttar.
Among other concerns, the devices capture all cell phone signals and information, not just those from a suspect in an investigation.