SDPD sued over cell phone tracking program

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SAN DIEGO – A national advocacy group is suing the San Diego Police Department claiming they use a controversial surveillance tool that allows them to track cell phones.

The StingRay, an International Mobile Subscriber Identity catcher, is the latest tool being used by law enforcement across the country, including SDPD. It allows the user to eavesdrop on mobile phone activity while at the same time track down to the exact location of the phone user.

The Stingray acts as a cell phone tower, effectively hijacking the data transmitted by the cell phone or other cellular devices.

“It allows the user to scan, analyze, intercept, monitor, record and track GSM mobiles, regardless if they are encrypted,” according to the Stingray developers.

The lawsuit against the SDPD intends to force the department to reveal its planned use of the technology.

“We want to request info about what [law enforcement] has, how many they use and what type of cases. Do they obtain a warrant?” said attorney Kelly Aviles.

The lawsuit claims the technology has no regulations or oversight.

“To what extent is it Big Brother? When we have police refusing to give any information about it,” Aviles said.

13 comments

    • Freddy

      What’s the matter Bob? Afraid they might catch you in your mommy’s den looking at child porn? Grow up. If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to worry about. Oh and by the way…..it appears your king leader owebama has been doing this for years. Ask the German Chancellor Merkel

      • refusetosee

        Are you kidding? That is the worst argument to use in this case. Do you think the majority of Americans are the creepy, kiddie porn-watching, arsenal-building, isolated weirdos that need to be secretly monitored? Let’s say the figure is even, generously, 3-5% of the total population; do you honestly believe that because of the minority, the other 95-97% of us need to have our rights taken and our panties examined? Fnck the creeps. You find them, you turn them in. Gov’t does what they do to get a warrant and on with life.

        Everyone, please take a moment to think about the rights that you are so quick to give up. People fought hard and died to give us the rights that we’re so quick to give up because it will make the jobs of some people a bit easier, put an end to the latest scare tactic, and put our mind at ease so we can watch our evening programs in peace.

        Would you be so quick to make every bit of your life an open book?
        Health history? Salary? Tax returns? IQ? How much could they pull from you, the one with nothing to hide, before you say enough is enough?

        They pretty much have us all by the jingle bells anyway. They just have to say one of two key things and they can do whatever they wish: “Terrorist!” or “Patriot Act..”

        • Dennis Gibbons

          You are spot on. Some many people are quick to give up their freedoms. Its BS and I for one have absolutely nothing to hide, and I am not willing to give up the rights my friends have given their lives to protect.

        • Henery

          Seriously? Think of it like this if big brothers watching at least your personal information would be secure. What will they do send you shame inducing emails for the site you visit? Now ask…you think how long it will be before hackers get better then they are…and watching what you do instead? Oh,and they have a nasty habit of identity theft,extortion,humiation all for a laugh…try not sounding like a over righteous hipster. give one good reason anyone in the world please. What’s so bad about thar? It’s the lesser of both evils

      • H H

        Typical “Don’t Get It” response. The police have no reason to search people like this. You shouldn’t be asking “why do you mind, if you aren’t doing anything wrong?” You should be asking, “why do they think they need to search everyone at random, and eavesdrop on their business?”

        • Warrior

          Who says they are searching everyone at random? Most likely they only conduct searches when there is cause. I’m okay with that. I will grant that they should get a warrant first, that would ensure they are doing their due diligence in putting a case together. Where there are extenuating circumstances, i.e. a kidnap victim, I’d be okay with them bypassing the warrant process. Generally, a warrant should be obtained prior to tracking or eavesdropping.

          • Shini Taigen

            That is why warrants are in place, to make sure that the police aren’t just doing things arbitrarily. Giving them permission to bypass a warrant makes way for them to do whatever they want on a whim. That is why, every other time cops do anything that invades privacy, they have to get a warrant.

      • Fred Payne

        Everyone has something to hide, or at least would not want publicly known. Even you Freddy. The issue is not whether people have or have not “done anything wrong”. The issue is what is being done is unconstitutional and an erosion of our rights under that constitution. Cops want to eavesdrop on phone calls but refuse to allow citizens out in public to video them. Sounds like the system is a little biased doesn’t it.

      • Curtis

        Freddy, it has nothing to do with being caught in criminal activity. If you have nothing to hide then do you mind if I strap a couple of cameras in your home so I can watch what you and your family are up to each day? I mean you are not doing anything illegal, right?

      • Shini Taigen

        Then do the US gov a favor… well a few. Install cameras through out your entire house (with a microphone that even pick up on whispers) so we may see what you are doing every second (and we will need two p.o.v.s when you are using the bathroom, one inside the toilet). Give detail about the makes and models of every piece of equipment you have in your house, so we can monitor your water, electricity, and everything else use. We also need you to send them a copy of every single email that you send out. Install a program on your computer that will record everything that you do on it, with a camera dedicated to watching the screen (dark rooms work best for this) and send a copy of what you do on a daily basis. Also, go ahead and tap your phones so that everything you do is also sent out, when you see your emails, look something up, make a call, every time, all the time.

        After all, you have nothing to hide. So share it. Your “private” life is everyone’s business if THEY feel it necessary, after all, it is for your own protection.

        One more thing, if you have to go to a hotel, bring a camera along that will send everything up to the cloud.

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