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The Spy In Your Pocket

Cell phone surveillance technology has outpaced policy and public awareness. MuckRock is investigating precisely how law enforcement across the country use cell phones to locate and track individuals.

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NYPD, told it can’t use “Glomar” denial, now claims it has no records on Millions March cell phone surveillance

NYPD, told it can’t use “Glomar” denial, now claims it has no records on Millions March cell phone surveillance

The January decision in the case of Millions March NYC v. NYPD represented a decisive victory for transparency around cell site simulators and could be an example to agencies across the country, but transparency and privacy advocates remain concerned about StingRays.

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New York court rules NYPD can’t use Glomar to keep surveillance records secret

New York court rules NYPD can’t use Glomar to keep surveillance records secret

Secretive federal agencies such as the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are notorious for refusing to confirm or deny the existence of their records. The issue becomes trickier when local law enforcement agencies, tasked with serving their communities, reply to public records requests in similar fashion. The New York Police Department has used the infamous “Glomar response” in the past to keep records secret, but this week a New York court ruled that the NYPD can’t use it this time.

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Police are getting a lot of use out of cell phone extraction tech

Police are getting a lot of use out of cell phone extraction tech

Mobile phone forensic extraction devices have been a law enforcement tool for years now, and the number of agencies using them is only rising. As part of an ongoing investigation, we have finally been able to turn up some usage logs of this equipment, from the Tulsa Police Department, and Tucson Police Department. While the logs don’t contain specifics of why the phone was being searched, it does list the make of the phone, the date, and the type of extraction - and it underscores just how often the tech is getting used.

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Chicago Police can't find records of cellphone extraction tech it had previously released

Chicago Police can’t find records of cellphone extraction tech it had previously released

In response to a recent public records request, Chicago Police claimed to have no records related to Cellebrite tech used to extract data from cellphones. Which is interesting, considering that CPD had already released that information not even a full two years earlier.

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Training bulletin illustrates how Denver Police plan to use Cellebrite tech to crack phones

Training bulletin illustrates how Denver Police plan to use Cellebrite tech to crack phones

Responding to our recent request for mobile phone forensic tools records, Denver Police Department has provided us with not only contracts, but a training bulletin for their Cellebrite Universal Forensic Extraction Device. Cellebrite’s UFED, as the device is more commonly known, is the leading model of mobile phone data extraction tools in law enforcement.

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