cell site simulators
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.
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.
Iowa is not a state that has been reported as having StingRay surveillance devices, which is why were surprised when the Department of Public Safety responded to our Cell Site Simulator census with a $147.90 invoice for records processing fees. After payment and some waiting, we finally received Iowa’s response, and instead of a fresh batch of records to pore over, what we got was another example of expansive exemptions used to withhold information about these devices.
Attend any of the protests over inauguration weekend? Wondering if your phone was surveilled doing so? Unfortunately, with law enforcement’s continued silence about cell site simulators use, it’s almost impossible to know.
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department has had StingRay cell site simulator devices since 2012, according to recently released documents.
Jesse sent this request to the Department of Homeland Security, Office of Intelligence & Analysis of the United States of America