A bipartisan group of lawmakers is calling on the federal government to release details related to covert cell phone surveillance taking place in the #WashingtonDC area.
In early April the U.S. government acknowledged the existence of “rogue” cell phone surveillance devices in the Washington D.C. area which are potentially being operated by foreign #spies or common #criminals. A group of lawmakers is now demanding the federal government release more details on the devices and whoever may be using them. The Associated Press first reported on the discovery of the devices in D.C. after obtaining a copy of a letter sent by the Department of #HomelandSecurity to Senator Ron Wyden. The AP reported:
In a March 26 letter to #Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, the Department of Homeland Security acknowledged that last year it identified suspected unauthorized cell-site simulators in the nation’s capital. The agency said it had not determined the type of devices in use or who might have been operating them. Nor did it say how many it detected or where.
AP goes on to note that the Federal Communications Commission initially formed a task force on the topic, but failed to produce a report and no longer meets.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation describes these cell site simulators, sometimes known as stingrays, as “a brand name of an IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity) Catcher targeted and sold to #lawenforcement. A #Stingray works by masquerading as a cell phone tower – to which your mobile phone sends signals to every 7 to 15 seconds whether you are on a call or not – and tricks your phone into connecting to it.” This allows the officer who is in possession of the Stingray to know when, and to whom you are calling, the precise location of every device within the range, and with the latest models, capture the content of your conversations. Despite the growing use of Stingrays over the last decade, the public has largely remained in the dark as investigative journalists work to expose the technology. @king_dawayne4515