Indiana State Police Acknowledge Use Of Cell Phone Tracking Device

A USA Today and IndyStar investigation found the Indiana State Police purchased a device called a Stringray that captures nearby cell phone data.

State Police Captain Dave Bursten responded to the report Wednesday, saying the agency is operating within the bounds of the law.

The Indiana State Police are responding to lawmakers’ and civil rights organizations’ concerns that it is overstepping its boundaries by using a device that can track cell phone calls, text messages and movements within a set radius.

Indiana State Police Captain Dave Bursten said in a statement the department is working well within the bounds of the law.  He says protection of investigation methods is key to the success of building a case.

Bursten won’t say exactly how the technology is used, because he says it would be “like a football team giving up their playbook.”

A joint USA Today and IndyStar investigation found earlier this month that the state police spent $373,995 on a device called a Stingray.

Often installed in a surveillance vehicle, the suitcase-size Stingrays trick all cellphones in a set distance — sometimes exceeding a mile, depending on the terrain and antennas — into connecting to it as if it were a real cellphone tower. That allows police agencies to capture location data and numbers dialed for calls and text messages from thousands of people at a time.

State police officials initially refused to provide any records related to the purchase of the Stingray.

After the IndyStar appealed the denial to the Indiana Public Access Counselor, the Indiana State Police provided a one-page document confirming the purchase of the device but no information about how it is used.

via State Police Acknowledge Use Of Cell Phone Tracking Device | News – Indiana Public Media.

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3 thoughts on “Indiana State Police Acknowledge Use Of Cell Phone Tracking Device

  1. Wow! This alone has so many ethical issues associated with it. Such as legal aspects, privacy, and security. From a legal stances is it legal to monitor someone calls and text messages without probable cause? I do not think so.

    From a privacy stance, what if you are texting someone personal information or giving personal information out on the phone to your doctor, now a portion of America will know all because the Police want to monitor people’s text messages and calls to invalid their privacy.

    This goes back to one of the articles we read at the being of the year and it discussed how the NAS was supposedly doing the same thing. This isn’t right and it is unethical. But the question is how many people actually care? Or how many people are going to feel and use the “I have Nothing to Hide” argument.

  2. On one hand, the thought of the ISP spying on my conversations with my mom is hllarious. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure I don’t want them to have the capability to do this. I wonder if this stingray device is different from a wire tap. I know that for a wire tap you need a warrant from a judge. I wonder if it’s the same for this device or if you can sort of “scan” with it. The ISP claims they are operating within the confines of the law, but after all the articles we read about and continue to hear about in the news, it can be tough to trust them.

    It’s hard to wonder what kind of protection we are getting in exchange for giving up the right to have private conversations. The other astonishing fact about this is its price tag, over $300,000! Regardless of budget, that is a huge cost made at the expense of Indiana taxpayers, and I’d be surprised if Indiana taxpayers would be too happy about that if this article gained more traction in the news.

  3. This is definitely surprising that our Indiana law enforcement is spending this much money on a device like this. When we discussed the NSA’s surveillance of us I didn’t care too much only because I felt that it wouldn’t really affect me personally. I thought that my info would be collected in a data center with tons of other data and it wouldn’t really be looked at or become an issue because I was one of the many that felt I don’t have anything to hide. Looking at this from a more close-to-home type of thought process, it is kind of scary to see how these devices trick your phone into connecting to them. I wonder now that with the knowledge of these devices being put to use if mobile device manufacturers will begin looking into how to block this type of connection, or if the phone companies will get involved stating that their phones are guaranteed to only connect to their towers. It will be interesting to see how this may play out.

    It concerns me that they are not stating what they are using it for. If they are working within the bounds of the law, why don’t they just tell us what their purpose was of spending over $300k and how it will benefit the community. If it is going to try to track down true criminals like someone that just raped someone or something, then I can understand. The fact is they didn’t explain it like this so what is the real purpose? Like one of the other comments on this post stated, I don’t think tax payers will be happy as they become more aware of this purchase with their tax dollars. I am looking forward to seeing if it does gain traction in the news and what others will say and feel about it.

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