Mariko Hirose writes:
Last week, the New York State Police produced the last of its documents in response to the New York Civil Liberties Union’s Freedom of Information Law request for records relating to Stingrays, or cell site simulators — surveillance devices that collect information from nearby cell phones and that can locate people with precision. These records suggest that the State Police has spent far more than previously indicated on Stingrays, to the total tune of over $640,000. In recent years, the State Police purchased upgrades to the devices, including “Hailstorm” and “Harpoon,” which reportedly enhance Stingrays’ surveillance capabilities. Given the State Police’s statewide jurisdiction, these devices could be in use anywhere within New York.
For now, however, the public has no way to know when or where or how often the State Police has used these devices to spy on people because the State Police claims that it has no records on the use of Stingrays — no policies or guidelines, records relating to the number of times Stingrays have been used in investigations or copies of court orders authorizing their use.
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