The FBI requires state and local police to keep quiet about the capabilities of a controversial type of surveillance gear that allows law enforcement to eavesdrop on cellphone calls and track individual people based on the signals emitted by their mobile devices, according to a bureau document released recently under a Freedom of Information Act request.
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Foreign countries know that we have this technology. Criminals likely presume we do. Once again the people who are deprived of this information are the voting public. Because freedom!The FCC last month began investigating reports of illegal use of IMSI catchers, by foreign intelligence services and criminals but has said it does not oversee the use of the surveillance gear by federal government agencies. Last week, the marketers of a device that’s designed to detect IMSI catchers reported finding 18 in the Washington area over two days of searching.The locations, said the marketer of the GSMK CryptoPhone, included areas around the White House, the Capitol, the Russian Embassy and the cluster of defense contractors near Dulles International Airport. The CryptoPhone was not able to determine whether the IMSI catchers were being used by the federal government, local police or some other entity.E-mails collected through a separate Freedom of Information Act request, by the ACLU, showed in June that the U.S. Marshals Service had asked police in Florida to not reveal that they had used IMSI catchers in determining the locations of criminal suspects. Instead, the police were instructed to say that they had learned the whereabouts of suspects using “a confidential source.”