Police use cellphone spying device - My9 New Jersey

Police use cellphone spying device

Posted: Updated:
The Erie County sheriff says he's done making public comments about a cellphone surveillance device used by his police agency to gather information on persons of interest.

Sheriff Tim Howard told WGRZ Thursday that he won't publicly discuss the matter any longer because doing so could adversely impact investigations.

A stingray is a device that mimics a cell tower and thereby tricks all wireless devices on the same network into communicating with it.

Howard told Erie County legislators last week that the stingray surveillance device his office has owned since 2008 is used only for tracking a person's movements, not for gathering content of cellphone communications. The surveillance equipment can capture data from targeted cellphones even when they're not in use.

He told the lawmakers that the courts should determine how he can use the equipment, not them.

Use of the device has raised concerns among Buffalo-area lawmakers over potential abuses of people's privacy.

Democratic Legislator Patrick B. Burke says that the equipment can capture data from cellphones even when they’re not in use.

When Howard was asked by lawmakers how many times his department has used the stingray device, he refused to answer.

The county used a $283,000 terrorism prevention grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to pay for the device.

Erie County is not the only locality to use the devices.  The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California released a report in March showing unregulated use of Stingrays in California.  They reported 'widespread' use of the devices by police departments in the Golden State.  The devices are being purchased with federal grant money.

In Florida, the city of Sunrise refused to confirm or deny the existence of any records related it a stingray device it owns, according to another ACLU report.

Copyright 2014 MyFoxNY/The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • New York State NewsNew York State NewsMore>>

  • Mom charged in girl's death could get trust fund

    Mom charged in girl's death could get trust fund

    Sunday, August 31 2014 5:06 PM EDT2014-08-31 21:06:06 GMT
    A New York special education teacher accused of killing her severely disabled 8-year-old daughter by withholding food and medical care could inherit nearly $1 million from the girl's trust fund.
    A New York special education teacher accused of killing her severely disabled 8-year-old daughter by withholding food and medical care could inherit nearly $1 million from the girl's trust fund.
  • Obama in Westchester for Democratic fundraisers

    Obama in Westchester for Democratic fundraisers

    Friday, August 29 2014 7:28 AM EDT2014-08-29 11:28:47 GMT
    President Barack Obama is going on a fundraising sweep through New York and Rhode Island as he continues to help Democrats raise money for November's elections. Obama headlines three events on Friday. Two in Westchester County, and the third is in Newport, Rhode Island. The New York fundraisers will benefit the Democratic National Committee, which is still paying off debt from the 2012 campaign season.
    President Barack Obama is going on a fundraising sweep through New York and Rhode Island as he continues to help Democrats raise money for November's elections. Obama headlines three events on Friday. Two in Westchester County, and the third is in Newport, Rhode Island. The New York fundraisers will benefit the Democratic National Committee, which is still paying off debt from the 2012 campaign season.

  • RV offers legal help outside NY, NJ family courts

    RV offers legal help outside NY, NJ family courts

    Thursday, August 28 2014 11:09 AM EDT2014-08-28 15:09:22 GMT
    A new assistance program in New York and New Jersey seeks to help parents settle child support battles.
    A new assistance program in New York and New Jersey seeks to help parents settle child support battles.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices