“Stingray is a controversial cellphone tracking tool that sucks up information from all nearby cellphone users. It’s often sold as a vital tool for finding serious criminals and terrorists, an argument that is weakened somewhat when it emerges Baltimore police used it to try and find the perp in a $50 chicken robbery.”
The FBI is so desperate to keep information about Stingray secret that it persuades local law enforcement to contact the bureau whenever a citizen like Mike Katz-Lacpabe tires to use the Freedom of Information Act in order to learn more about the Harris Corporation (the company that makes Stingray devices).
— Mike Katz-Lacabe (@mlacabe) February 18, 2015
FBI director James Comey gave a comical explanation on why the Stingray program must remain secret from the public: because bad guys exist.
“It’s one of the reasons that we ask local authorities who are working with us and using our equipment not to talk about it. It’s not cuz they’ve got something to hide from good people, I got a lot to hide from bad people. So that’s how I think about it.”
Comey claims that the program does not include the “collection of data,” and that the FBI needs a court order, however the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) have turned down less than .03% of all surveillance requests.
Comey says that the system is used to find “killers, kidnapers, drug dealers, missing children, pedophiles.” Now he can ad “chicken wing thiefs” to that list.