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News & Current Events Discuss IRS possessed Stingray cellphone surveillance gear, documents reveal at the General Forum; The Internal Revenue Service is the latest in a growing list of US federal agencies known to have possessed the ...

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Old 11-09-2015, 04:47 PM
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Post IRS possessed Stingray cellphone surveillance gear, documents reveal

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The Internal Revenue Service is the latest in a growing list of US federal agencies known to have possessed the sophisticated cellphone dragnet equipment known as Stingray, according to documents obtained by the Guardian.

Invoices obtained following a request under the Freedom of Information Act show purchases made in 2009 and 2012 by the federal tax agency with Harris Corporation, one of a number of companies that manufacture the devices. Privacy advocates said the revelation “shows the wide proliferation of this very invasive surveillance technology”.

The 2009 IRS/Harris Corp invoice is mostly redacted under section B(4) of the Freedom of Information Act, which is intended to protect trade secrets and privileged information. However, an invoice from 2012, which is also partially redacted, reports that the agency spent $65,652 on upgrading a Stingray II to a HailStorm, a more powerful version of the same device, as well as $6,000 on training from Harris Corporation.

Stingrays are the best-known example of a type of device called an IMSI-catcher, also known as “cell-site simulators”. About the size of a briefcase, they work by pretending to be cellphone towers in order to strip metadata and in some cases even content from phones which connect to them.

Despite their extensive capabilities, they require only a low-level court order called a PEN register, also known as a “trap and trace”, to grant permission for their use.

Immense secrecy has so far surrounded these devices, but a picture is slowly emerging which shows widespread use. Various revelations by the American Civil Liberties Union and news outlets including the Guardian had shown that at least 12 federal agencies are already known to have these devices, including the National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The IRS makes 13.

In November 2014, the Wall Street Journal uncovered an operation run by the US Marshals Service using a Boeing-made IMSI-catcher known as “dirtbox”. This is the first time that the IRS has been found to own the device.

The devices are also used by local and in some cases state police departments, across at least 20 states, though a culture of secrecy which surrounds Stingray devices has meant that the full scale of their use remains unknown.

Stingray spying: FBI's secret deal with police hides phone dragnet from courts
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A Guardian report in April revealed a non-disclosure agreement that local police and prosecutors were forced to sign with the FBI before using Stingrays, which mandated them to withdraw or even drop cases rather than risk revealing their use, and in September it emerged that this withholding of “discovery” evidence by police in Baltimore could lead to as many as 2,000 cases being overturned.

It remains unclear how the IRS used the Stingray devices. A spokesman for the agency did not respond to a request for comment.
IRS possessed Stingray cellphone surveillance gear, documents reveal | US news | The Guardian

So not only do local law enforcement have and use these devices, now we've got the IRS that has them as well.


And how many of our presidential forums are going to include questions on whether the Republican and/or Democrat candidate supports / tolerates use of these items without a specific warrant?
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Old 10-19-2017, 11:25 PM
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Default Re: IRS possessed Stingray cellphone surveillance gear, documents reveal

Who wants to carry a NSA tracking device around?
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