Thanks to the leaks of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and others, the majority of America realizes our government is spying upon us through our cell phones.
Now however, thanks to a report released by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released just yesterday, we know exactly how many cell phone tracking systems, otherwise known as stingray devices, are being deployed and by what specific agencies.
Via Washington Times:
With 194 cell-site simulators, the FBI has the most of any of the agencies identified as owning the devices, which often are referred to by brand names including Stingray or Hailstorm.
The U.S. Marshals Service has 70; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has 59; U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Drug Enforcement Administration each has 33; U.S. Secret Service has 32; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has 13; the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations division has two; and the Treasury inspector general has one.
Wow, great to know the IRS has a couple too, isn’t it?
These suitcase-sized devices mimic cell phone towers, tricking phones into connecting to them. Officers can drive around with one and scoop up neighborhoods full of data with them. Together, the DHS and DOJ are estimated to have spent $95 million on the devices.
What the report does not say is how many local and state law enforcement agencies are currently deploying them, but it is mentioned that DHS gave $1.8 million in grants to those agencies toward their purchase.
So, other than wondering whether everyone realizes what a Panopticon we’re living in, does anyone know whatever happened to the 4th Amendment…? And why we continue to pretend we have one in this country?