|Skynet, by Andres Rojas|
The NYPD confirmed to the Civil Liberties Union that it indeed owns and operates Stingrays— military-grade surveillance devices that spy on nearby cell phones and that can be used to track location.
In response to an NYCLU FOIL request, the NYPD disclosed it used Stingrays nearly 1,016 times between 2008 and May of 2015.
“If carrying a cell phone means being exposed to military grade surveillance equipment, then the privacy of nearly all New Yorkers is at risk,” Donna Lieberman, executive director of the NYCLU, said in a statement. “Considering the NYPD’s troubling history of surveilling innocent people, it must at the very least establish strict privacy policies and obtain warrants prior to using intrusive equipment like Stingrays that can track people’s cell phones.”
Stingrays allow authorities to spy on cell phones in the area by mimicking a cell tower, and allow the police to pinpoint a person’s location and, in some configurations, collect the phone numbers that a person has been texting and calling and intercept the contents of communications. Stingrays also sweep up information from nearby bystander cell phones even when used to target specific phones.
More at NCLU.
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