FBI News: Heard of the StingRay?
In the spirit of transparency, we find out yet another clandestine data-grabbing project that the Leftist bureaucrats don’t want discussed. It’s called Operation StingRay, and it’s allows the FBI to use fake communications towers to gather your cell phone data. Apparently the NSA will not share, so the FBI had to come up with its own methods of violating your right to privacy.
According to SC Magazine,
Under a non-disclosure agreement with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C., will keep its StingRay surveillance use private.
The D.C. police also promised to notify the FBI if technical details about the surveillance device were in danger of being exposed as a result of a court proceeding so the agency could take action to have the case dismissed, according to VICE News.
Last month, the Justice Department announced new guidelines that would prohibit agents from using StingRays – which act as fake wireless cell towers to allow law enforcement to intercept mobile calls, text messages and emails – to collect the information without first obtaining a search warrant.
The FBI’s non-disclosure agreement with the Metropolitan Police Department is the latest of several similar NDAs that the agency has signed with local and state police in Florida, New York and Maryland.
As it was later reported,
Update: An FBI representative told SCMagazine.com its NDAs do not prohibit local police departments from disclosing use of the StingRay device, but only prohibit disclosing technical details related to the device. The Metropolitan Police Department confirmed via email that the department has signed a non-disclosure agreement with the FBI and declined further comment. SCMagazine.com obtained via email from the Justice Department comments from Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates. She said the Justice Department’s new guidelines do not address the FBI’s NDAs but “consistent with the spirit of this policy, we expect the FBI to be revising those agreements with the state and locals.”
I’m all for the FBI having the necessary tools and procedures for getting the bad guys, as long as it doesn’t infringe on my rights. These clandestine attempts to gather data are exactly the type of thing that has bred the distrust of government.