New Emails Show That Feds Instructed Police To Lie About Using Stingray Mobile Phone Snooping
We’ve been covering the increasingly widespread use of Stingray or similar mobile phone tower spoofing equipment by law enforcement. The stories have been getting increasingly bizarre lately, starting with the news that police were claiming that non-disclosure agreements prevented them from getting a warrant to use the technology.
And then, there was the recent news that the federal government was regularly stepping in to claim ownership of documents related to the technology (even when it’s used by local police) in order to block them from being obtained under Freedom of Information laws. Just this morning, we wrote about some new evidence that police are claiming they need these devices to stop “weapons of mass destruction,” though they then just use them to spy on people suspected of everyday crimes instead.
Late last night, the ACLU came out with perhaps the most explosive information so far: a set of internal police emails showing that the US Marshals have been instructing police to lie to courts about the use of such devices. Specifically, rather than revealing the use of the tool, they’re told to just tell the court they got the information from a “confidential source.”
While affidavits may initially note the use of such a device, the police are told to submit a new affidavit after the factwithout mentioning the Stingray, and seal the old one, so that it never becomes public. The key parts of the email are highlighted below: