Cell site simulator acquisition and use (King County Sheriff's Office)

Phil Mocek filed this request with the King County Sheriff's Office of King County, WA.
Tracking # PDR-31869
Est. Completion None
Status
No Responsive Documents

Communications

From: Phil Mocek

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to RCW Ch. 42.56 (Public Records Act), I hereby request the following records:

## Background ##

Cell site simulators, also known as IMSI catchers, IMEI catchers, GSM interceptors, covert cellular tracking equipment, and digital analyzers, impersonate a wireless service provider's (i.e., mobile phone company's or cellular phone company's) cell tower, prompting mobile phones and other wireless devices to communicate with the simulators instead of with the real cell towers. These devices are often called "Stingrays," the name of one such device produced by Harris Corporation, along with their AmberJack, BlackFin, KingFish, Gossamer, LoggerHead, and TriggerFish devices.

Cell site simulators are commonly used in several ways: to collect unique numeric identifiers associated with each mobile phone in a given geographic area, to determine the precise location of a mobile phone when numbers associated with it are known but only a rough idea of its location is known, or to intercept phone calls and SMS messages.

Each of these uses raises privacy concerns, the most obvious of which is presented by the interception of voice and SMS messages. Collecting unique identifiers of all phones in a particular area inevitably collects location data on many innocent people who are suspected of no crime. Determination of the precise location of a specific phone can reveal that the phone, and thus the person who operates it, is in a constitutionally-protected place, such as a home, that has traditionally been immune from search without judicial approval via search warrant. The locations of people's mobile phones reveal a variety of personal information, such as: with whom they associate, where they assemble, where they spend their days, where they spend their nights, when they are home alone, where they protest, where they worship, and health care providers they visit.

It has been widely reported in recent months that law enforcement agencies use these devices while hiding their use from the public and from the courts.

Despite widespread public interest in the use and misuse of cell site simulators, the public lack information about your agency's use of these devices or about your agency's policy for such use. Information is needed so the public can determine whether use of cell site simulators by your agency complies with the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and with Washington law.

## Request ##

Pursuant to Chapter 42.56 RCW, the Public Records Act, I request:

1. Records regarding your agency's acquisition of cell site simulators, including but not limited to invoices, purchase orders, contracts, loan agreements, evaluation agreements, solicitation letters, correspondence with companies and public agencies that provide the devices, and similar documents.

2. Records regarding any offer, proposal, arrangement, agreement, or memorandum of understanding with Washington State Patrol ("WSP"), Naval Criminal Investigative Service ("NCICS"), Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"), U.S. Marshals Service, FBI's Data Intercept Technology Unit ("DITU"), King County Regional Intelligence Group ("KCRIG"), Pierce County Regional Intelligence Group ("PCRIG"), South Sound Regional Intelligence Group ("SSRIG"), or any corporation, to borrow, permanently acquire from, or use any cell site simulator owned or possessed by the WSP, NCICS, FBI, U.S. Marshals, DITU, KCRIG, PCRIG, SSRIG, or corporation

3. All nondisclosure agreements with Harris Corporation, Digital Receiver Technology (DRT, formerly Utica Systems, now a subsidiary of Boeing Corporation), Septier Communication Limited, Proximus LLC, any other corporation, and any state or federal agencies, regarding your agency's actual or potential possession or use of cell site simulators

4. Records regarding policies and guidelines governing use of cell site simulators, including but not limited to 1) when, where, how, and against whom they devices may be used, 2) logging, retention, purging, use, and auditing data stored in or communicated from the devices, 3) under what circumstances administrative warrant, judicial warrant, or other legal process must, should, or should not be obtained prior to, during, or following direct or indirect use of the devices, 4) under what circumstances the existence or use of the devices must, should, or should not be revealed to judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, criminal defendants, or the general public., and 5) parallel construction techniques for use in avoidance of disclosure of the initial method of discovery of information gained initially by use of cell site simulators

5. Training materials for use of cell site simulators

6. Records regarding any communications or agreements with wireless service providers (i.e., mobile phone carriers such as AT&T, CenturyLink, CREDO Mobile, MetroPCS, Sprint, Ting, T-Mobile, Verizon, Virgin Mobile, etc.) concerning use of cell site simulators

7. Records regarding any communications, licenses, waivers, or agreements, with federal or state communications regulatory agencies (e.g., Federal Communications Commission, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, Idaho Public Utilities Commission, Oregon Public Utility Commission, etc.) concerning use of cell site simulators

8. Records reflecting the number of investigations in which cell site simulators were used, the number of those investigations that resulted in prosecutions, and the number of those investigations that resulted in convictions

9. Records reflecting a list of all criminal cases, with docket numbers if available, in which law enforcement officers or other staff used or arranged for the use of one or more cell site simulators as part of the underlying investigations

10. All applications submitted to state or federal courts for warrants, orders, or other other authorization for use of cell site simulators in criminal investigations, as well as any warrants, orders, authorizations, denials of warrants, denials of orders, denials of authorization, and returns of warrants associated with those applications

11. Records regarding the use of cell site simulators in closed investigations

12. Date and docket number of any responsive records that are sealed

13. All associated metadata

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as I believe this request is in the public interest. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.

In the event that fees cannot be waived, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 5 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Phil Mocek

From: Petty, Kimberly

Good morning, Mr. Mocek!

Thank you for your emailed request to the King County Sheriff's Office (KCSO) on June 20, 2014. You requested:

"Pursuant to Chapter 42.56 RCW, the Public Records Act, I request:

1. Records regarding your agency's acquisition of cell site simulators, including but not limited to invoices, purchase orders, contracts, loan agreements, evaluation agreements, solicitation letters, correspondence with companies and public agencies that provide the devices, and similar documents.

2. Records regarding any offer, proposal, arrangement, agreement, or memorandum of understanding with Washington State Patrol ("WSP"), Naval Criminal Investigative Service ("NCICS"), Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"), U.S. Marshals Service, FBI's Data Intercept Technology Unit ("DITU"), King County Regional Intelligence Group ("KCRIG"), Pierce County Regional Intelligence Group ("PCRIG"), South Sound Regional Intelligence Group ("SSRIG"), or any corporation, to borrow, permanently acquire from, or use any cell site simulator owned or possessed by the WSP, NCICS, FBI, U.S. Marshals, DITU, KCRIG, PCRIG, SSRIG, or corporation

3. All nondisclosure agreements with Harris Corporation, Digital Receiver Technology (DRT, formerly Utica Systems, now a subsidiary of Boeing Corporation), Septier Communication Limited, Proximus LLC, any other corporation, and any state or federal agencies, regarding your agency's actual or potential possession or use of cell site simulators

4. Records regarding policies and guidelines governing use of cell site simulators, including but not limited to 1) when, where, how, and against whom they devices may be used, 2) logging, retention, purging, use, and auditing data stored in or communicated from the devices, 3) under what circumstances administrative warrant, judicial warrant, or other legal process must, should, or should not be obtained prior to, during, or following direct or indirect use of the devices, 4) under what circumstances the existence or use of the devices must, should, or should not be revealed to judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, criminal defendants, or the general public., and 5) parallel construction techniques for use in avoidance of disclosure of the initial method of discovery of information gained initially by use of cell site simulators

5. Training materials for use of cell site simulators

6. Records regarding any communications or agreements with wireless service providers (i.e., mobile phone carriers such as AT&T, CenturyLink, CREDO Mobile, MetroPCS, Sprint, Ting, Mobile, Verizon, Virgin Mobile, etc.) concerning use of cell site simulators

7. Records regarding any communications, licenses, waivers, or agreements, with federal or state communications regulatory agencies (e.g., Federal Communications Commission, Canadian Radiotelevision and Telecommunications Commission, Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, Idaho Public Utilities Commission, Oregon Public Utility Commission, etc.) concerning use of cell site simulators

8. Records reflecting the number of investigations in which cell site simulators were used, the number of those investigations that resulted in prosecutions, and the number of those investigations that resulted in convictions

9. Records reflecting a list of all criminal cases, with docket numbers if available, in which law enforcement officers or other staff used or arranged for the use of one or more cell site simulators as part of the underlying investigations

10. All applications submitted to state or federal courts for warrants, orders, or other other authorization for use of cell site simulators in criminal investigations, as well as any warrants, orders, authorizations, denials of warrants, denials of orders, denials of authorization, and returns of warrants associated with those applications

11. Records regarding the use of cell site simulators in closed investigations

12. Date and docket number of any responsive records that are sealed

13. All associated metadata

I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as I believe this request is in the public interest. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage.

In the event that fees cannot be waived, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 5 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,
Phil Mocek
Filed via MuckRock.com
E-mail (Preferred): requests@muckrock.com"

Your request requires extensive research and coordination with other sections of the King County Sheriff's Office. We are searching to identify records responsive to your request. However, we are currently responding to 200+ open requests. Therefore, as outlined in the Public Records Act, consider this email our five day notification (RCW 42.56.520). You should expect a response - or first installment - by August 19, 2014.

In the meantime, if you have questions or require additional information, please don't hesitate to contact me directly.

Thank you and have a nice day!

Kimberly Petty | Public Records Program Manager | Sheriff's Administration
[cid:image001.jpg@01C98B9C.B8A722D0][cid:image006.png@01CF8C63.383397F0]
' 206.263.2630 | È 206.240.7013 | www.kingcounty.gov/sheriff<http://www.kingcounty.gov/sheriff>

To make a request for records, please visit the King County Sheriff's Office website at:
http://www.kingcounty.gov/safety/sheriff/Services/PublicDisclosure.aspx.
The information contained in this message may be privileged, confidential and protected from disclosure. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, or an employee or agent responsible for delivering this message to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify me immediately by replying to the message and deleting it from your computer. Thank you.

From: Petty, Kimberly

Good afternoon, Mr. Mocek!

I wanted to follow up on my email from Friday. After further research, I have discovered that the King County Sheriff's Office has no records responsive to your request due to the fact that we currently have no involvement with cell site simulators, nor do we have any plans in the works to become involved with them at this point.

If you have questions or require additional information, please don't hesitate to contact me directly.

Thank you, and have a nice day!

Kimberly Petty | Public Records Program Manager | Sheriff's Administration
[cid:image001.jpg@01C98B9C.B8A722D0][cid:image008.png@01CF8EDC.3F26A400]
' 206.263.2630 | È 206.240.7013 | www.kingcounty.gov/sheriff

To make a request for records, please visit the King County Sheriff's Office website at:
http://www.kingcounty.gov/safety/sheriff/Services/PublicDisclosure.aspx.
The information contained in this message may be privileged, confidential and protected from disclosure. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, or an employee or agent responsible for delivering this message to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify me immediately by replying to the message and deleting it from your computer. Thank you.

From: Phil Mocek

Dear Ms. Petty:

Could you please provide the administrative tracking file for my request? I'm curious about the search method, inquiries with staff deemed likely to be aware of such records if they existed, etc.

Cordially,
Phil Mocek

From: Petty, Kimberly

Good afternoon, Mr. Mocek!

Thank you for your inquiry. I have attached our "administrative tracking file" for your request (25 pages). It includes emails, however, much of the "discussion" surrounding your request was actually just that - a discussion in person - as you can see referenced my email inquiry. This is where I discovered what cell site simulators were and that we haven't and don't use them.

I apologize for any confusion and not making that clear in my previous response.

If you have further questions or require additional information, please don't hesitate to ask.

Thank you and have a nice day!

Kimberly Petty  |  Public Records Program Manager  |  Sheriff's Administration

 206.263.2630 |  206.240.7013 | www.kingcounty.gov/sheriff

To make a request for records, please visit the King County Sheriff’s Office website at:
http://www.kingcounty.gov/safety/sheriff/Services/PublicDisclosure.aspx.
The information contained in this message may be privileged, confidential and protected from disclosure. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, or an employee or agent responsible for delivering this message to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify me immediately by replying to the message and deleting it from your computer. Thank you.

From: Petty, Kimberly

Good afternoon, Mr. Mocek!

On June 23, 2014, we sent you a response to your request indicating no records were responsive based on the information you provided. See attached.

It has come to our attention from a recent public records requester, that they believe there is a case responsive to your request. The case number is 09-062384 and the suspect in this case is Mr. Tovar. While your request did not produce any responsive records based on the search criteria you provided, case number 09-062384 may or may not be responsive.

Therefore, I wanted to contact you to see if you are interested in this case. I am attaching the initial incident report and certification of determination of probable cause only so you can see for yourself the graphic nature of the event. Mr. Tovar unlawfully imprisoned and raped the victim in this case. Ultimately, it was Tacoma Police that located him, notifying our agency, at which time Mr. Tovar then slit his own throat and was hospitalized, arrested and convicted.

Attached is the initial incident report and certification of determination of probable cause for 09-062384 (11 pages). Redactions have been made to the following:

· Social Security Numbers are exempt from disclosure per 42 USC § 405(c)(2)(C)(viii)(I) and per RCW 42.56.230 which states that documents and related materials and scanned images of documents and related materials used to prove identity, age, residential address, social security number, or other personal information required to apply for a driver's license or identicard is exempt from public inspection and copying; and

· Victim and Witness identifying information - Safety concern: RCW 42.56.240(2) Information revealing the identity of persons who are witnesses to or victims of crime or who file complaints with investigative, law enforcement, or penology agencies, other than the commission, if disclosure would endanger any person's life, physical safety, or property. If at the time a complaint is filed the complainant, victim, or witness indicates a desire for disclosure or nondisclosure, such desire shall govern.

Please let me know if you want the case file in its entirety. If we do not hear from you by Wednesday, October 29, 2014, we will consider your request complete.

In the meantime, if you have questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

Thank you and have a nice day!

Kimberly Petty | Public Records Program Manager | Sheriff's Administration
[cid:image001.jpg@01C98B9C.B8A722D0][cid:image006.png@01CFED3F.424D2BB0]
' 206.263.2630 | È 206.240.7013 | www.kingcounty.gov/sheriff

To make a request for records, please visit the King County Sheriff's Office website at:
http://www.kingcounty.gov/safety/sheriff/Services/PublicDisclosure.aspx.
The information contained in this message may be privileged, confidential and protected from disclosure. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, or an employee or agent responsible for delivering this message to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify me immediately by replying to the message and deleting it from your computer. Thank you.

From: Phil Mocek

Dear Ms. Petty:

I received your e-mail of October 21. I did not completely understand it. Nonetheless, if you now believe that your June 23 notification that no records responsive to my June 20 request was made in error, then I welcome any correction.

Cordially,
Phil Mocek

From: Petty, Kimberly

Good morning, Mr. Mocek!

We believe that we responded appropriately to your original request. However, someone viewing your website, believed the 09-062384 was responsive to your request. When we conducted our search based on the criteria in your request, 09-062384 did not appear responsive. However, if you want the case, you may have it. It is quite lengthy, so I will provide a new estimated time of completion with an installment due on or before December 31, 2014.

Please confirm that this is what you want and I will re-open your request. If I don’t hear from you by close of business (1630 PST) on Friday, October 31, 2014, your request will remain closed as complete.

Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this matter.

Kimberly Petty | Public Records Program Manager | Sheriff's Administration
[cid:image001.jpg@01C98B9C.B8A722D0][cid:image006.png@01CFF419.47FD0E00]
' 206.263.2630 | È 206.240.7013 | www.kingcounty.gov/sheriff

To make a request for records, please visit the King County Sheriff’s Office website at:
http://www.kingcounty.gov/safety/sheriff/Services/PublicDisclosure.aspx.
The information contained in this message may be privileged, confidential and protected from disclosure. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, or an employee or agent responsible for delivering this message to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify me immediately by replying to the message and deleting it from your computer. Thank you.

From: Phil Mocek

Ms. Petty:

To which of the 13 categories of records detailed in my June 20 request do you suspect 09-062384 is responsive?

Cordially,
Phil Mocek

From: Petty, Kimberly

Good morning, Mr. Mocek!

As stated in my previous email, we do not believe the records is responsive based on what you asked for in your request. Someone viewing your website provided the following request to us that caused pause, even though the 2009 case did not come up in our search for records based on the search parameters of your request for “stingray”, “harris corporation”, “cell site simulator”, etc., for example. The same search still does not result in the 2009 case showing as responsive to your request. Again, someone viewing your website believes otherwise. See their comments as reference below:

“I'm researching the most viewed item on https://www.muckrock.com/ "Cell site simulator acquisition and use (Tacoma Police Department)" I found Phil's request to KCSO that resulted in no responsive documents.

Phil's request has the following items:
"Records reflecting a list of all criminal cases, with docket numbers if available, in which law enforcement officers or other staff used or arranged for the use of one or more cell site simulators as part of the underlying investigations"
"11. Records regarding the use of cell site simulators in closed investigations

12. Date and docket number of any responsive records that are sealed"

I know that KCSO used a Stringray owned by Tacoma Police so I'm going to write to Phil and suggest he sue your department for withholding documents.

I can't believe you wrote " After further research, I have discovered that the King County Sheriff’s Office has no records responsive to your request due to the
fact that we currently have no involvement with cell site simulators, nor do we have any plans in the works to become involved with them at this point." The department did use one in 2009 the freakin Tacoma Police usage records proves it What lairs you guys are!!!”

Rather than going back and forth, I will re-open your request and assign to a Records Specialist for processing. You can expect a response – or first installment of records - on or before December 31, 2014. If you decide that you do not want records responsive to the 2009 event referenced above, please let me know ASAP.

Thank you in advance!

Kimberly Petty | Public Records Program Manager | Sheriff's Administration
[cid:image001.jpg@01C98B9C.B8A722D0][cid:image004.png@01CFF4D8.BAD3CDF0]
' 206.263.2630 | È 206.240.7013 | www.kingcounty.gov/sheriff

To make a request for records, please visit the King County Sheriff’s Office website at:
http://www.kingcounty.gov/safety/sheriff/Services/PublicDisclosure.aspx.
The information contained in this message may be privileged, confidential and protected from disclosure. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, or an employee or agent responsible for delivering this message to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify me immediately by replying to the message and deleting it from your computer. Thank you.

From: Phil Mocek

Ms. Petty:

Thank you very much for the explanation of the situation and for going above and beyond your duty by notifying me of it.

The case about which you were notified sounds interesting. I will file a separate request for related records. I will continue to consider *this* request to have closed on June 26, 2014.

Cordially,
Phil Mocek

From: Petty, Kimberly

Thank you, Mr. Mocek.

We will look forward to receiving your new request. As a reminder, you may use our online<http://www.kingcounty.gov/safety/sheriff/Services/PublicDisclosure/Online%20Requests.aspx> request system which allows you to make – and track – your request 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Otherwise, you may email your request to kcsorecs@kingcounty.gov<mailto:kcsorecs@kingcounty.gov>

Or, mail to:

King County Sheriff’s Office
Attn: Records Unit
516 3rd Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104

Have a nice evening!

Kimberly Petty | Public Records Program Manager | Sheriff's Administration
[cid:image001.jpg@01C98B9C.B8A722D0][cid:image006.png@01CFF849.6CBDE8C0]
' 206.263.2630 | È 206.240.7013 | www.kingcounty.gov/sheriff

To make a request for records, please visit the King County Sheriff’s Office website at:
http://www.kingcounty.gov/safety/sheriff/Services/PublicDisclosure.aspx.
The information contained in this message may be privileged, confidential and protected from disclosure. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, or an employee or agent responsible for delivering this message to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify me immediately by replying to the message and deleting it from your computer. Thank you.

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