The Department of Homeland Security has detected in the Washington area what appears to be the unauthorized use of a controversial technology that allows for the surreptitious surveillance of people’s cellphones — though it has not been able to pinpoint who or what is causing it, the department revealed in a letter released Tuesday.
The technology, a cell-tower simulator commonly known as a StingRay, has been deployed for years by federal and local law enforcement to pinpoint suspects’ locations, though its unauthorized use in the Washington area raises fears that foreign adversaries might also be taking advantage of it to spy on U.S. citizens.
The simulators work by tricking cellphones nearby to register with them, rather than normal cell towers. Once the device finds the phone it is seeking, it can pinpoint the phone’s location. Some versions of the technology can also be used to eavesdrop on calls.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) had asked the DHS whether it had detected foreign governments using the devices in the national capital region and elsewhere. The department’s revelation came in response to his request, though it had not “validated or attributed such activity to specific entities or devices,” officials said. It also did not provide any details on what was detected, other than to say it was “activity” consistent with the cell-tower simulator devices.
The development was first reported by the Associated Press.
The odds of DHS not knowing who this is is approximately zero, I can't imagine a foreign government wouldn't want these all over the DC area. Hell, the problem is there's dozens of countries who are probably running StingRay tech out of their embassies just like we are in our diplomatic outposts around the world, so this may very well be a case of too many suspects and more than one actual culprit.
I mean hell this could be DC police doing this or some government security contractor. It's like Clue, everyone in the room has a motive for offing Mr. Boddy. I'd be shocked if DHS wasn't detecting such activity.
The real reason is why this would be admitted by DHS. This isn't just a can of worms to be opened, this is an entire worm farm with a baker's dozen special on giant annelids the size of tie ropes. DHS could have said "That's classified as hell" and moved on but they actually admitted it.
We'll see where this goes, again, nobody should have been surprised at this. StingRay tech has been around for a decade or so.