Latest in Culture

Image credit:

Here are the devices law enforcement use to spy on you

Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not watching you.
12 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Sponsored Links

The Intercept obtained the catalog of devices used by federal and local law enforcement to collect and monitor cell phone data. The tracking hardware -- including the infamous Stingray -- in the catalog is accompanied by its capabilities including, limitations, "planning factors," price and manufacturer. From handheld pieces of electronics that can track a few phones to boxes that can target as many as 10,000 unique cellphones the list is chilling reminder that even if you're not under investigation, you're being tracked if you're in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The publication obtained the list from a source within the intelligence world and it unearths dozens of devices that most were unaware of before today. Judges and privacy advocates have long asked for information about how many of these items work but have been thwarted by claims of national security. Plus, law enforcement agencies sign NDAs before purchasing a tracker. Many local law enforcement agencies purchase these items with Department of Homeland Security grants then use them for crimes that have nothing to do with stopping terrorism.

The technology found in the catalog is used to spoof cell networks like AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and others. In other words, a machine creates a fake cell tower that phones connect too and the device tracks the data that is sent between the phone and device. The information can be used to locate an individual, eavesdrop on calls and text messages, and even extract media from the phone.

In addition to being used for tasks that have nothing to do with the reason for which they were purchased, the dragnet solution that many of these devices offer violates fourth amendment search and seizure rights. Because judges are unable to determine the scope of capabilities of the technology, many believe search warrants issued that use this type of technology can be overly broad. At least now these judges can see just how powerful these pieces of hardware are before unleashing them upon the public.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
12 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Popular on Engadget

The best consoles, games and accessories for students

The best consoles, games and accessories for students

View
The 'Breaking Bad' movie comes to Netflix on October 11th

The 'Breaking Bad' movie comes to Netflix on October 11th

View
For Disney, it's all about 'quality over quantity' with Disney+

For Disney, it's all about 'quality over quantity' with Disney+

View
Papercraft-inspired math turns any sheet into any shape

Papercraft-inspired math turns any sheet into any shape

View
DICE cancels 'Battlefield V' close combat mode to help its focus

DICE cancels 'Battlefield V' close combat mode to help its focus

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr