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Local Cops Getting Spy Gear from Feds; States Can Stop It

Federal militarization of state and local police has gone beyond armored vehicles and combat grade weapons, and now encompasses the latest surveillance technology. Not only are state and local cops secretly obtaining high-tech spy gear, non-disclosure agreements signed by law enforcement agencies essentially give the FBI complete control over how your local cops gather evidence.

Over the last year, we’ve learned more about federal funding for stingray devices, drones and automatic license plate readers. Now it appears there is even more military style surveillance gear funneling down into the hands of state and local cops. In a recent release by the intercept, Jeremy Scahill and Margot Williams highlight a new leak of military intelligence devices being pushed on local and state police.

Under agreements inked with the feds, local and state law enforcement agencies must not disclose information about the technology, or operating manuals, without FBI approval. On top of that, local and state law enforcement are forbidden from describing the technology, software, or other related material during pretrial court hearings, in search warrants, or even upon court ordered disclosure, unless the FBI approves.

For uses ranging from targeted spying to mass surveillance, the new leak provides a catalog of devices your police force may now be using. Below are some of the devices and their capabilities.

Phone monitoring

  • Wiretapping (passive phone and message monitoring)
  • Disruption of the network (Kick phones off the network or scrambling signals.)
  • Recording voices
  • Ability to monitor from one up to 10,000 targets

Geolocation tracking

  • Replicated GSM, UMTS, CDMA and iDen networks (IMSI catcher)
  • Mobile in cars or aircraft
  • Cell tower mapping

Direction Finding

  • Detect phone location

Cell phone data recovery

  • Can exploit up to 79 cell phones
  • Extract dialed numbers, text messages, pictures, calendars, sound files, and even the

Drone Station Routers

  • Includes GPS
  • Voice and data connection can be connected through cell phone towers, satellite, or SIM card with capabilities to clone the SIM ID even NSA Net.

The non-disclosure requirement that come along with this high-tech spy gear remove local and even state control over what types of equipment law enforcement agencies acquire and criteria for warrant requirements. They also bar judges, defense attorneys and even prosecutors from fully understanding where evidence came from or if it was legally obtained.

These agreements effective give the FBI complete control over state and local law enforcement surveillance. Using these non-disclosure acts ensures the FBI dictates what can be disclosed in local and state institutions. Control at the local level is completely obliterated.

This is why it is imperative for state governments to place tight restrictions on how their police agencies obtain and utilize surveillance technology. But restricting use of such gear and maintaining tight control over retention and sharing of information, states can prevent the federal government from turning local cops into Big Brother, and they can thwart some aspects of the federal surveillance state.

To get involved in your state, click HERE.