Illinois State Cops blew $250K on "terrorist-catching" Stingray surveillance gadgets


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2014/06/23/illinois-state-cops-blew-250k.html


#2

I know there are public databases available of legitimate cel towers. Surely there must be a way of loading that information onto my cell phone, and running some sort of app to determine if my phone is shaking hands with a stingray instead?

I’d love to hear someone with more technical knowledge talk about a workaround for this security hole.


#3

Does the blurb have any relationship to the picture?
Could somebody, please, proof-read and rewrite the following.
Am I missing something that might make this entry comprehensible?

"Michael sez, “New documents released on MuckRock show the Illinois State Police crying “Terrorist” in order as Mike Masnick at Techdirt notes,
the technology is being used to fight regular crime. The terms of
service on the device actually prevent officers from seeking a warrant
to use it. MuckRock currently has a crowdfunding campaign to fund similar requests across the country.”


#4

The diction needs fixing, but the pic is a still from Blues Brothers.


#5

It should be possible. There are databases of cells, their IDs and positions. There are apps that show the cells around. (Sometimes you get only the cell you are connected to, depends on the app, the standard used (plain gsm, 3g…) and perhaps more variables.)

Comparing the real data with the databases should be easy or easy-ish. With auto or semiauto uploads, these data can be crowdsourced for later analysis. (This can be leveraged with the signal strength data as well, to crowdsource a map of signal coverage to keep the telcos honest.)

Beware of false positives from legitimate mobile cells, which are used in places with more people assembled to avoid local network overload.


#6

Given what Harris was charging back in 2008, $250k may have gone a surprisingly short way, though further than one would want.

“Cable Assembly PC/USB” Get 6 feet for only $196 dollars, or double your value with incredible savings on 12 feet for only 24 dollars more!

Enjoy the advantages of single-vendor procurement by buying a Dell D630 laptop computer ($1,900 price for CNET’s 2007 review, current value $40-50) from us for only $3,500. If you aren’t some wussy little office drone, spring for the Toughbook for only 3,000 more!

Once you get to the devices themselves, the ‘Stingray I’ is $75,000, the ‘Stingray II’, 4 channel, is $148,000. Additional software packages for either start at $20,000 and range up to $50,000 for GSM intercept…

I assume that prices have changed, and that some of this stuff is largely fiction, basically used to provide a plausible looking bit of paperwork to ‘document’ the “Well, how much does it cost? Hmm… How much did the DHS give you?” ‘negotiation’ process; but unless they got quite some discount, $250k will outfit surprisingly few people.


#7

Horribly expensive, spending on items/activities that have nothing to do with stopping violent terror attacks? Warrantless violations of privacy? Arrogant, power-mad dismissal of citizen concerns?

Hey, it’s good enough for the federal government. So it seems pretty much a given that we’ll see more chickenshit, dictator attitude at state and local levels. How many armored personnel carriers are being bought by Mayberry PDs around the country?


#8

Part of the link is broken… Full URL is here:


#9

You realize you just asked this on an unsecured channel, right?


#10

They caught all the terrorists though, right?

Right?


#11

Have you seen any terrorist threats around lately?


#12

I don’t think there’s any problem with asking such questions out in the open. It’s the answers I expect to be well guarded!


#13

No. Must be the terrorist-repelling magical pendant I am carrying. I should start selling them. Repels all terrorists, or your money back.


#14

The answers are in the open as well. The actual operational tactical data of specific equipment, and actual ownership/availability/use, will be guarded (and leaking here and there and sometimes accessible via FOIA and other query mechanisms). The more important underlying technological data, which describe how things work and what is and is not technically possible, and how to detect certain classes of attacks, are out there.

An amazing amount of stuff is there, just for taking and assembling into a picture. Every one of us can practice the OSINT craft. Often the only difference between public and classified is that in the classified form the data are not scattered in pieces around but collected together.


#15

The TechDirt link is also faulty; correct link is Stingray Documents Show Law Enforcement Using ‘Terrorism’ To Obtain Equipment To Fight Regular Crime


#16

How would you classify a clandestine group that breaks into houses in the middle of the night, burns babies, and kills good Samaritans?


#17

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