#Chicago Police Department Has Spent Millions On High-Tech Spying Equipment

Posted: June 10, 2015 in Tech


A Chicago police officer, however, couldn’t figure out the route. He took to his radio and called in a request to the local “fusion center,” the Chicago Police Department (CPD) intelligence hub. “One of the girls, she’s kind of an organizer here, she’s been on her phone a lot. You guys picking up any information, uh, where they’re going, possibly?” the officer asked.

“Yeah, we’re keeping an eye on it.”

The conversation was quick, but when the audio from the call leaked online, activists saw proof of something they’d long suspected: Chicago police were tracking their cell phones, using a controversial new technology.

The StingRay—both a brand name and a generic term—is a suitcase-sized device that acts as a wiretap for the wireless age. But while a wiretap monitors a single line, a stingray acts like a roving cell phone tower, vacuuming in data from all nearby phones, tablets and other wireless devices. This includes call history and current and previous locations. Enhanced stingrays can also record and eavesdrop on phone calls.

An assortment of add-ons are now available: The FishHawk listens in on calls; the Harpoon broadens the StingRay’s range; the AmberJack antenna helps pinpoint individual phones; the KingFish analyzes call patterns, doing in one stroke what might have taken Detective Lester Freamon an entire season of The Wire to accomplish.

U.S. military and intelligence agencies developed stingray technology in the 1990s, and police departments began using it as early as 2003. Before receiving StingRays, police departments must sign non-disclosure agreements. It wasn’t until 2011, when the FBI presented information gathered from a stingray in court, that domestic use of the devices came to public attention. Civil liberties groups immediately sounded the alarm.

Full Story @ [IN THESE TIMES]


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