FBI Files Reveal New Info on Clandestine Phone Surveillance Unit

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on October 10, 2013

, via Slate’s Future Tense blog: “As part of an ongoing Freedom of Information Act suit launched by civil liberties group the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the FBI is turning over information on its use of cellphone surveillance technology variously known as “Stingrays,” “Cell Site Simulators,” “IMSI Catchers,” or “Digital Analyzers.” These devices function as portable surveillance transceivers that are designed to trick phones over a targeted area into hopping onto a fake network. The FBI says it uses the tools to track the locations of individual suspects. But the technology is controversial because, by design, it collects data on innocent bystanders’ phones, and it also interferes with cellphone signals in a way that may be prohibited under a section of the federal Communications Act. Over the past year, the FBI has been drip-releasing redacted portions of a trove of documents that it holds related to the use of the Stingray technology. And late last week, the bureau turned over a batch of 500 pages featuring newly declassified portions that offer fresh insight into its spy tools, as well as shining a light on a little-known internal surveillance unit that has built up within the bureau over the past decade.”

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