Sen. Wyden confirms that police Stingray cellphone surveillance gadgets disrupt emergency services

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Why do I doubt this? If a stinger blocks your ability to send or receive calls, what would be the point? You won’t be getting any intel from a phone that isn’t a phone anymore.


Agreed. That makes no sense to me. I thought these things were supposed to be impossible to avoid. If my phone couldn’t do any of those things I’d replace it and if I was a criminal I would realize something was up and buy a burner.

Edit: unless the only point is to track someone’s location but that wouldn’t work for long either.


Hey, if the cops are watching you with a stingray, you must be a criminal. Can’t call 911? Boo-hoo mister criminal!

(Why do I have to add /s? I guess this is the new century.)


Yeah, I’m thinking it’s more likely that when you turn one on, it will disrupt service for a moment or two and the senator while well intentioned has simply read this to mean service is disrupted permanently while the device is in use.

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I thought they were indiscriminate (affect all phones within range, not just the surveillance target) but only interrupt for moments. Thus, if someone who isn’t the target dials 911, if the CSS is interrupting them, the call won’t go through. Hopefully, they survive long enough to try again and get through…


Maybe this is some sort of subset of what we understand Stingray technology to be. I remember a few years ago there were court cases about the FBI tapping into people’s OnStar subscriptions in their vehicles, which – while tapped – couldn’t make 911 calls, etc. The FBI were using the service for in-vehicle remote bugging.

So maybe this is some additional feature of the stingray where the cops can somehow activate the cell channel to the phone to use it for some kind of realtime bugging. I don’t know enough about cell technology to speculate on how realistic something like that would be, though.

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