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The Surveillance State is Already Here: Are Cops Using Cell Simulators to Track Your Every Move?

Ever heard of a Stingray or Hailstorm device? No? Do you own a cell phone — or any device that connects wirelessly to the internet? Do you care about your privacty rights? Then buckle up. It’s going to be a bumpy, scary ride.

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StingRay? Hailstorm? HUH?

Simply put, these are spy devices used by various federal, state, and local agencies that turn your cell phone into a homing beacon, letting them listen to your incoming and outgoing phone calls and read your emails and texts. And it os so precise that it can track you down to the very room you are in if you’re carrying your cell phone. But the various agencies don’t like to talk about them. Hmm. Why? What could possibly go wrong?

The StingRay is an IMSI catcher with both passive (digital analyzer) and active (cell-site simulator) capabilities. When operating in active mode, the device mimics a wireless carrier cell tower to force all nearby mobile phones and other cellular data devices to connect to it. The newer “Hailstorm” device works similarly but can also eavesdrop on 4-G phones and devices.

A StingRay can be used to identify and track a phone or other compatible cellular data device even while the device is not engaged in a call or accessing data services!

What’s even scarier is that and cellphone use in the area of a StingRay device, is sucked up as well as the “target”. According to DOJ POLICY (not a law) any data obtained on innocent bystanders must be deleted in 60 days. SERIOUSLY? Once they get hands on your data they have it forever. If their claims were true, then how can the intelligence agencies be able to comb through millions of people’s data YEARS after it was intercepted? Oops!

SIDEBAR:

Despite claims that your vote is anonymous — at least for in-person ballots — the fact is each ballot has a unique id number  (several in fact). And when you vote in person, your ballot’s serial number is recorded in the election official log book next to your name. Guess what, they can then go back and see who you voted for, all without you knowing. Whether it is actually being used this way is moot. The plain fact is that it CAN be used this way. Bring back the mechanical machines that only total votes. — TPR

Disrupting service AKA DENIAL OF SERVICE (isn’t that a crime?)

The FBI has claimed that when used to identify, locate, or track a cellular device, the StingRay does not collect communications content or forward it to the service provider. Instead, the device causes a disruption in service. Under this scenario, any attempt by the cellular device user to place a call or access data services will fail while the StingRay is conducting its surveillance. On August 21, 2018, Senator Ron Wyden noted that Harris Corporation confirmed that Stingrays disrupt the targeted phone’s communications. Additionally, he noted that “while the company claims its cell-site simulators include a feature that detects and permits the delivery of emergency calls to 9-1-1, its officials admitted to my office that this feature has not been independently tested as part of the Federal Communications Commission’s certification process, nor were they able to confirm this feature is capable of detecting and passing-through 9-1-1 emergency communications made by people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech disabled using Real-Time Text technology.”

In fact, it has already been used during mass demonstrations, so the protestors could not talk to each other. I leave the legality and constitutionality of such uses as an exercise for the student.

 

The FBI has claimed that when used to identify, locate, or track a cellular device, the StingRay does not collect communications content or forward it to the service provider.

Yeah, right!

There are no laws currently on the books at any level of government (*except UTAH) regulating the use of this equipment. Several court cases have determined that use of these machines constitutes Warrantless searches and as such their use violates the 4th amendment, but no case has made it to the SCOTUS yet..

 

Federal Agencies Known to Use Cell Site Simulators:

Still think you’re safe from unconstitutional searches and seizures?

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