‘Stingray’ surveillance devices can degrade service for any cell phone in vicinity – report

Reuters / Phil McCarten

Surveillance technology known as ‘Stingray’ — used to trick phones into connecting to them by mimicking cell towers — can block or drop phone calls and disrupt other mobile devices that use the same cell network, according to a recent court disclosure.

As RT reported last month, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) recently disclosed that law enforcement officials in Florida used ‘Stingray’ surveillance to track cell phone locations on more than 1,800 occasions, all without court search warrants.

The Harris Corporation’s ‘Stingray’ is the most well known of the controversial spying technology, used by the FBI, the Secret Service, the Drug Enforcement Agency and many state and local police agencies. By impersonating cell towers, the devices force phones in the area to broadcast information that can be used to identify and locate users.

The ACLU’s recent disclosure included a court filing that uncovered the ability of ‘Stingray’ to negate cell phone calls by either downgrading mobile devices from 3G and 4G connectivity to 2G — enabling them to access identification and location information — or by the devices’ “catch-and-release”operations.

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