SPD Detective Urges Silence About Surveillance Technology

Comments

1
I'm pretty sure I've been watching movies and tv cop shows for years which depict bad guys shutting off their cellphones (even removing the battery) to avoid tracking. Is this not already common knowledge? In other countries, cops don't even need fake towers in suitcases. They can use the real ones for law enforcement emergencies, at least if I believe the Danish mystery shows I've been watching lately.
2
There is something just so juvenile and reductive about the term "bad guy" that I don't care to hear serious people in charge of enforcing the law using it.

"The bad guy fled on foot, but the cops were all 'pew pew pew' and the bad guy was like 'Arrg! I'm dead and stuff!' "
3
Considering that Chicago cops appear to use SUV-mounted IMSI catchers during street demonstrations, the Seattle cops can say whatever they want; talk is cheap & they have good reasons to lie. Besides, there are several other law enforcement agencies in Seattle who, in all liklihood, have their own.

The next issue is technical: These IMSI things are likely only able to capture the so-called "meta-data": Who's phone is present at a location (for warrants later), and maybe who was calling who & when. And most likely not the content of cell calls.

Voice calls & text msgs are encrypted between the mobile phone and the carrier's network, using the special key on the phone's SIM card. The NSA, however, can bulk decrypt your voice calls & msgs, because, well, they stole all the SIM card keys a few years ago.

The apps TextSecure & RedPhone for Android, and Signal for iPhone are messaging/phone apps using solid encryption that can increase your communication security if both parties are using the same app. They DON'T protect you against IMSI Catchers.

There are "IMSI-Catcher Detector" apps for your phone that can detect and sometimes avoid IMSI entrapment during legal demonstrations of your First Amendment rights. Snoop Snitch is another one out of Germany that is endorsed by free speech advocates.
4
@2 - Best post I've seen in awhile. Hilarious and spot on!
5
"According to Dietrich, the Stingray is only used to track down criminal suspects and missing victims."

Yeah, right. And automatic license plate readers are used only to find stolen cars and kidnapped children.
6
@2: Police use of the phrase "bad guy" avoids the need to distinguish between someone who is suspected of having violated the law and someone who is presumed innocent and should be left to go about his business without invasion of his personal affairs.

"Bad guy" allows cops to talk about taking action based on their own judgement, without restricting various actions to criminal suspects.
7
Back in, I think, 2008 there was an exchange of emails between Seattle PD and Tacoma in which both agencies were invited to a Seattle PD based Harris Corporation presentation about Stingray. Tacoma had just recieved one from ONDCP through a grant and they worried it was going to be "taken away" by Seattle. So at least once, they seriously considered this equipment already. That we know of.
8
They mean the SPD itself only uses stingrays when the DEA or FBI or NSA or DHS tells them to use them.