Tags: justice | cellphone | spying | tracking | fbi | marshals service

WSJ: Justice Dept. to Nudge Open Curtain on Cellphone Spying

By    |   Tuesday, 05 May 2015 07:22 AM

The Department of Justice is poised to release more information about its secret cellphone tracking program, according to a report.

Citing officials at the department, The Wall Street Journal reports that the FBI has started requesting search warrants before its agents use the devices, which use high-tech equipment to identify suspects via their cellphones. Before, authorities would rarely get a search warrant when using the devices.

Officials also told the Journal the Justice Department will start to peel the lid off the program in an effort to be more transparent.

Several stories have been written about the program in the last year, which uses devices known as stingrays or IMSI catchers to trick a cellphone into giving up its location and other data.

The FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) use the devices, along with several state and local law enforcement agencies.

Lawmakers have expressed their concerns over the program, saying it's essentially a form of domestic spying. A report in September claimed Washington, D.C., was full of IMSI catchers placed in high-profile locations around the city.

"We know it's got to come out," a law enforcement official told the Journal. "At some point, it becomes more harmful to try to keep it secret than to acknowledge it. We just want to acknowledge it carefully and slowly, so we don't lose what is a very effective tool."

Each of the three agencies in the DOJ that use the program have their own rules and regulations regarding its implementation, and each is expected to reveal the practice in different ways, reports the Journal. The Marshals Service, for example, rarely gives court testimony, so it is less likely to say much about how it uses cellphone spying devices.

In March, it was reported that the CIA helped the Marshals implement the cellphone spying program — a technology that reportedly cost $100 million to develop.

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The Department of Justice is poised to release more information about its secret cellphone tracking program, which use high-tech equipment to identify suspects via their mobile phones, according to The Wall Street Journal.
justice, cellphone, spying, tracking, fbi, marshals service
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2015-22-05
Tuesday, 05 May 2015 07:22 AM
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