Cato – Baltimore Police Admit Thousands of Stingray Uses

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by Adam Bates, Cato @ Liberty, Apr. 9, 2015, 10:56AM


It’s been a bad week for Stingray secrecy.  Following a court-ordered document dump in New York earlier this week, a Baltimore detective yesterday testified in court that he had personally used a Stingray between 600 and 800 times during two years as a member of the Baltimore Police Department’s Advanced Technical Team. He also testified that the unit has used such devices 4,300 times since 2007.

Stingrays are handheld or vehicle-mounted surveillance devices that operate by mimicking cell towers.  They have the capability to force cell phones within their range to connect with the Stingray and transmit ID information from the phone.  Some models – the technology is constantly being upgraded to keep pace with advancing telecommunications infrastructure – are suspected of being able to intercept content, but the true extent of the capability is a closely-guarded secret. What is increasingly not a secret is that dozens of law enforcement agencies around the country have been using these devices for years to sweep up swaths of cell phone data, much of it from innocent people, with little to no transparency or oversight. Continue reading →

Daily Signal – How a Bystander’s Video of the Deadly South Carolina Police Shooting Reignited Debate Over Body Cameras

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by Josh Siegel, Daily Signal, Apr. 8, 2015


The stark visual of watching a white policeman fire eight shots into the back of a fleeing black man in North Charleston, S.C. this weekend would not have been known to America if not for a bystander capturing the scene on video.

Those precise details as shown in the video allowed the state to charge the officer, Michael T. Slager, 33, with the murder of Walter L. Scott, 50, and reignited a national discussion on police reform. Continue reading →

Why I’m against NSA spying

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The National Security Agency is headed by Admiral Michael Rogers, and is tasked with global monitoring, collection, and processing of information and data for foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes. It has recently become very controversial, as information has been leaked showing that the NSA has been systematically spying on and violating the privacy of America’s own citizens. Continue reading →

ProPublica – Claim on “Attacks Thwarted” by NSA Spreads Despite Lack of Evidence

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by Justin Elliott and Theodoric Meyer, ProPublica, Oct. 23, 2013, 8:59 a.m.

UPDATE Dec. 17, 2013: In a new ruling that calls the NSA’s phone metadata surveillance likely unconstitutional, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon cited this article in his assessment of the agency’s claims about thwarted terrorist attacks. Read the ruling here


Two weeks after Edward Snowden’s first revelations about sweeping government surveillance, President Obama shot back. “We know of at least 50 threats that have been averted because of this information not just in the United States, but, in some cases, threats here in Germany,” Obama said during a visit to Berlin in June. “So lives have been saved.”

In the months since, intelligence officials, media outlets, and members of Congress from both parties all repeated versions of the claim that NSA surveillance has stopped more than 50 terrorist attacks. The figure has become a key talking point in the debate around the spying programs.

“Fifty-four times this and the other program stopped and thwarted terrorist attacks both here and in Europe 2014 saving real lives,” Rep. Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, said on the House floor in July, referring to programs authorized by a pair of post-9/11 laws. “This isn’t a game. This is real.”

But there’s no evidence that the oft-cited figure is accurate.

Continue reading →

ProPublica – The Surveillance Reforms Obama Supported Before He Was President

By Center for American Progress Action Fund

by Kara Brandeisky, ProPublica, Aug. 7, 2013, 10:24 a.m.


When the House of Representatives recently considered an amendment that would have dismantled the NSA’s bulk phone records collection program, the White House swiftly condemned the measure. But only five years ago, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. was part of a group of legislators that supported substantial changes to NSA surveillance programs. Here are some of the proposals the president co-sponsored as a senator. Continue reading →