I didn't see this diaried, so here goes.
I ran across this article in Wired. In the fashion of others, here are some pertinent paragraphs:
The ACLU had an appointment last Tuesday to review documents pertaining to a case investigated by a Sarasota police detective. But marshals swooped in at the last minute to grab the records, claiming they belong to the U.S. Marshals Service and barring the police from releasing them.Well, this must be an isolated case, involving cross-hatching investigations, redundancy...
“This is consistent with what we’ve seen around the country with federal agencies trying to meddle with public requests for stingray information,” Wessler said, noting that federal authorities have in other cases invoked the Homeland Security Act to prevent the release of such records. “The feds are working very hard to block any release of this information to the public.”
The records sought by the ACLU are important because the organization has learned that a Florida police detective obtained permission to use a stingray simply by filing an application with the court under Florida’s “trap and trace” statute instead of obtaining a probable-cause warrant. Trap and trace orders generally are used to collect information from phone companies about telephone numbers received and called by a specific account. A stingray, however, can track the location of cell phones, including inside private spaces.
The government has long asserted it doesn’t need a probable-cause warrant to use stingrays because the device doesn’t collect the content of phone calls and text messages, but instead operates like pen-registers and trap-and-traces, collecting the equivalent of header information. The ACLU and others argue that the devices are more invasive than a trap-and-trace.A bit more below the Fleur-de-Kos.
Even more outrageous:
Recently, the Tallahassee police department revealed it had used stingrays at least 200 times since 2010 without telling any judge because the device’s manufacturer made the police department sign a non-disclosure agreement that police claim prevented them from disclosing use of the device to the courts.From ACLU:
Court rules — and the First Amendment — require judges to retain copies of judicial records and to make them available to the public, but the court (and the detective) completely flouted those requirements here.Hmmm... I wonder why? Could it have anything to do with the fact that they have been lying about the capabilities of Stingray?
So why would the Feds have their panties in bunch over some (relatively) pretty simple technology? All you need is exquisitely discreet radio receiver and a computer program. Not exactly outside the capabilities of the Government. I mean, the NSA can track all... uh... Hmmmm.
When the government obtains court authorization to use invasive surveillance equipment, the public should not be kept in the dark. We have open records laws for a reason, but they mean nothing if the government can violate their clear commands at its whim.Same shit. Different day.