Internal Police Emails Show Efforts to Hide Use of Cell Phone Tracking

As we suspected, local law enforcement officials are borrowing cell phone tracking devices known as “stingrays” from the U.S. Marshals Service—and police are deliberately concealing the use of stingrays in court documents submitted to judges in criminal investigations.

The ACLU of Florida released a set of internal police emails obtained today through a public records request with the subject line “Trap and Trace Confidentiality.” The documents confirm that local police, working on state court matters, hide behind the sham cloak of the U.S. Marshals’ office to keep the information about stingray use out of court files—and beyond even a court’s custody and reach.

In the email exchange, a Sarasota Police Department sergeant wrote that in a warrant application to a judge, a North Port Police Department detective had “specifically outlined the investigative means used to locate the suspect,” and the sergeant asked that the detective “submit a new PCA [probable cause affidavit] and seal the old one.” In other words, fix the old affidavit and keep the use of the stingray equipment secret.

The sergeant also wrote, “In the past, and at the request of the U.S. Marshalls [sic], the investigative means utilized to locate the suspect have not been revealed so that we may continue to utilize this technology without the knowledge of the criminal element. In reports or depositions we simply refer to the assistance as ‘received information from a confidential source regarding the location of the suspect.’ To date this has not been challenged…”

In a later email, a North Port PD official wrote, “We have implemented within our detective bureau to not use this investigative tool on our documents in the future.”

Concealing the use of stingrays deprives defendants of their right to challenge unconstitutional surveillance and keeps the public in the dark about invasive monitoring by local police. And local and federal law enforcement should certainly not be colluding to hide basic and accurate information about their practices from the public and the courts.

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Oh....I get it! This is what' s happening right now, to me, my friends, all the medical records of disabled clients @ 3 Adult Foster Homes (?...overheard the kid hired by a detective from Vancouver monitor / hack the AFH'-adult foster home network). I kid not!
...besides I most certainly would not let mine become snitches...

Rick Macy

Ah the stingray... I used to work at Harris in their RF Communications division and was familiar with the technology due to my being a salesman at Watkins-Johnson Company at its former Gaithersburg plant. I even sold a few WJ-8665s internationally back when cell networks were still analog.

But while that is cool technology certainly more important are the processes and procedures that guide the use of such equipment.

Recently, I returned from living overseas in Russia where I sadly discovered my Russian exwife Svetlana to be involved in a pretty big fraud that led to our divorce, the loss of my Saint Petersburg, Russia apartment. Horribly and more recently Svetlana' has kidnapped our 13 year old son Nicholas. I have reported the matter to the US State Department, but have little hope of success via this channel.

More recently I learned that my 'old friend' Douglas Boyce, currently a senior agent (GS15) in the NCIS may well be involved with her. The details are more than a little shocking. So why do I post this here?

Doug reported to me that my cellphones were being tracked or 'spied upon'. Then later he revealed that he was the one spying on me. Pretty sick stuff. I am concerned that Douglas may be abusing his position of trust as it may be that he has abused his position in a way to damage US interests in the future.

Any ideas on how to let someone meaningful in the FBI's counterintelligence organization be made aware of good old Doug? Yes I realize blogging on the ACLU website appears goofy, but Doug may well be doing some bad things. I would prefer to be incorrect in this presumption. But that is why we have an FBI. They could look at him in ways that I cannot.

Rick Macy
Former Chairman of the Executive Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Saint Petersburg

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