Cell site simulator acquisition and use (Tacoma Police Department)

Phil Mocek filed this request with the Tacoma Police Department of Tacoma, WA.
Tracking # 14-7309
Status
Completed

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: Anderson, Lisa

Dear Mr. Mocek;

I am in receipt if your request for the documents noted below, which has been assigned the above request number and routed to the appropriate departments for review and compilation of records. It is anticipated that any responsive documents should be available by August 29, 2014. To the extent possible, records will be sent to you electronically via this email address.

In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.
Regards,

Lisa Anderson
Public Disclosure Assistant
(253) 591-5188
733 Market Street, Room 11
Tacoma, WA 98402

From: Phil Mocek

Dear Ms. Anderson:

Could you please explain how you arrived at your estimated time to completion of this request of approximately nine weeks from your receipt of it?

Given this lengthy time and the rather urgent need for the public to understand how our public agencies use this technology, could you please provide responsive records in installments instead of waiting until all are located and assembled prior to communicating them to me?

Cordially,
Phil Mocek

From: Anderson, Lisa

Care to reply?

From: Anderson, Lisa

Mr. Mocek:

While we always hope to provide records as quickly as possible. Our estimates are based on the type and breadth of the material requested, the review that may need to be done prior to disclosure, and the volume of other requests being processed. If we are able to provide records to you on an installment basis, we will do so.
Regards,

Lisa Anderson
Public Disclosure Assistant
(253) 591-5188
733 Market Street, Room 11
Tacoma, WA 98402

From: Phil Mocek

Ms. Anderson:

It has been six weeks since I placed my request. Could you please tell me who is working on my request and approximately how much time per week on it? Can you estimate when an initial installment of responsive records will be available to me?

Cordially,
Phil Mocek

From: Anderson, Lisa

Mr. Mocek:

Your email below has been forwarded to the Tacoma Police Department who processes and maintains the records you are seeking. I have yet to receive a response at this time. Once I have a response or records responsive to your request, I will forward them on to you.
Regards,

Lisa Anderson
Public Disclosure Assistant
(253) 591-5188
733 Market Street, Room 11
Tacoma, WA 98402

From: Phil Mocek

Ms. Anderson:

Given your report on August 6 that the Tacoma Police Department have not responded to contact you made with them in an attempt to locate the records I requested, it seems to me that the estimated time of completion of this request you provided to me on June 25 was pulled out of thin air. This seems not in keeping with the spirit of the Public Records Act.

Could you please get in touch someone at TPD, verify that my request is being processed, and find out who both is processing it and approximately how much time is spent on a weekly basis processing it? It has been a month and a half since I communicated this request, and there is apparently no indication that any action has been taken on it since your forwarding of my request to TPD.

Cordially,
Phil Mocek

From: Anderson, Lisa

Mr. Mocek:

In response to your public disclosure request, partial responsive records are now available. These records contain material responsive to item numbers #1, #4, #8, #9, #11, and #13 of your below request.

In addition, there are no records responsive to item numbers #5, #6, and #7 of your request.

The City of Tacoma does not maintain records responsive to item numbers #10 and #12. You will need to contact Pierce County Superior Courts and/or the State of Washington Courts for these records. For your convenience, below is a link which may be useful:

Pierce County Superior Court information: http://www.courts.wa.gov/court_dir/orgs/286.html

State of Washington Court information: http://www.courts.wa.gov/

In response to items #2 and #3 of your request are still in review. It is now anticipated records should be available by August 26, 2014, if not sooner. In the meantime, if you have any further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact me.
Regards,

Lisa Anderson
Public Disclosure Assistant
(253) 591-5188
733 Market Street, Room 11
Tacoma, WA 98402

From: Anderson, Lisa

Mr. Mocek:

Unfortunately, records responsive to items #2 and #3 of your request are still in review. It is now anticipated records should be available by September 16, 2014. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.
Regards,

Lisa Anderson
Public Disclosure Assistant
(253) 591-5188
733 Market Street, Room 11
Tacoma, WA 98402

From: Phil Mocek

Ms. Anderson:

Who is reviewing records responsive to items #2 and #3? Approximately how much time is spent each week on the processing of my request?

Cordially,
Phil Mocek

From: Anderson, Lisa

Records responsive to your public disclosure request are being reviewed in the Police Department. The hours or amount of time to review public records responses are not tracked.
Regards,

Lisa Anderson
Public Disclosure Assistant
(253) 591-5188
733 Market Street, Room 11
Tacoma, WA 98402

From: Phil Mocek

Ms. Anderson:

It has been nearly 10 weeks since I filed this request. I do not believe this is reasonable delay. You acknowledged the existence of records responsive to sections #2 and #3 of my request, claim that someone or some people is or are reviewing those records, but refuse to say who is doing so or how much time they are spending on it.

This is completely unacceptable, and I believe your stalling is a violation of the Public Records Act. Please provide the records I requested in accordance with the law.

Cordially,
Phil Mocek

From: Anderson, Lisa

Mr. Mocek:

We are continuing to review and process any remaining responsive records. As I let you know on August 26, we anticipate that records will next be provided to you on September 16.

As for your inquiry as to who is reviewing and for what time periods, on August 27, I let you know that records are being reviewed by Tacoma Police Department personnel and also explained we do not keep track of the number of hours spent processing public records.

We believe our timeframes for response to your request are reasonable under the Public Records Act. However, if you disagree, RCW 42.56.550 contains provisions which allow you to seek judicial review.

I will contact you again on September 16, or sooner should records become available before then.

Thank you for your continued courtesy.

Lisa Anderson
Public Disclosure Assistant
(253) 591-5188
733 Market Street, Room 11
Tacoma, WA 98402

From: Anderson, Lisa

Mr. Mocek:

Records responsive to your request are still in review. It is now anticipated records should be available by September 26, 2014. Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns
Regards,

Lisa Anderson
Public Disclosure Assistant
(253) 591-5188
733 Market Street, Room 11
Tacoma, WA 98402

From: Phil Mocek

Ms. Anderson:

It has been almost three months since I requested these records. Yesterday, you again revised your estimate of when you will provide them to me. Despite my repeated requests, you have never once stated who is reviewing them or how much time is spent on this task. Have you yet determined just who is working this task and/or begun tracking the time dedicated to it?

It appears that you are pulling time estimates out of thin air. What changed between August 29, when you estimated that preparing remaining records would take an additional 19 days, and yesterday, when you revised that estimate by a week?

Cordially,
Phil Mocek

From: Anderson, Lisa

Mr. Mocek:

In response to your email below, the review of responsive records to your request was conducted by the Police Department and the hours or amount of time spent reviewing records requests are not tracked.

The remaining records to your public disclosure request are now available. Please find the attached records and privilege log associated with these records.

This request is now considered closed. If you believe there are other records responsive, or this does not meet the scope of your request, please contact me at your earliest convenience.
Regards,

Lisa Anderson

Public Disclosure Assistant

City of Tacoma

733 Market Street, Room 11

Tacoma, WA 98402

(253) 591-5188

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