Local police departments nationwide are using technologies like Stingray to track and monitor cell phones, and they are very secretive about it. Several organizations and activists across the country are doing their best to dig as deep as the rabbit hole goes.
A local privacy activist has filed a second lawsuit aimed at the Chicago Police Department after CPD released a handful of documents admitting it has equipment that monitors and tracks cellphones. Freddy Martinez filed his first lawsuit against CPD in June, demanding it turn over records related to purchases of ISMI catchers, commonly referred to as “Stingrays,” devices which mimic cell phone towers and collect data from phone calls, texts and more. Martinez’s first suit garnered a meager three pages of invoices that show CPD purchased the technology.
In an interview with CBS Chicago, Freddy Martinez said:
“It’s strongly suspected that the Chicago Police Department does monitor protesters and constitutionally protected activities. They bought them. We don’t know if they’re using them, because they haven’t told us, but what kind of violations are we talking about here.”
While the department says it’s keeping as quiet as it can on the issue due to the pending lawsuit, preventing the public from knowing the full spectrum of Stingray use is an all too common practice nationwide. According to an interactive map from the ACLU, 43 agencies in 18 states own Stingray technology. But that number is a low estimate because agencies are secretive about their purchase and use.