I'm sure most readers have heard of Stingray, a technology allowing law enforcement to 'spoof' or imitate cellphone towers. Now Business Insider tells us who found out about this highly secretive technology.
Stingray works by mimicking cellphone towers. The authorities drive around with them sending out signals and all mobile devices in the vicinity are forced to connect to it. It has reportedly been used by numerous enforcement agencies for years, thousands of times. But the problem is that any organization signing on to use the device is forced to sign a nondisclosure agreement.
This means that if a group is asked to divulge details of Stingray in court, they must drop the case.
Given all this, it's quickly become clear that the authorities never wanted people to know that Stingray existed. In fact, according to the latest episode of the WNYC radio show Note To Self, it took an obsessed man in prison to comb through thousands of documents to piece together what was going on.
There's more at the link.
Seems to me that despite his criminal past, we owe Mr. Rigmaiden a collective vote of thanks for uncovering this latest overreach by Big Brother. You do realize, don't you, that if you live in anything larger than a medium-sized town or city, the odds approach certainty that your cellphone signals have been intercepted by the authorities in this way - without so much as a "By your leave", without any evidence that you're engaged in anything other than law-abiding activity, and without a warrant?
Big Brother has gotten far too big for his boots. We're obliged to people like Mr. Rigmaiden for reminding us of that unpleasant reality. That helps us defend what freedom we have left - and even claw some back from the Nanny State, now and again.