Lately there has been quite a bit of controversy over everyone’s digital privacy especially dealing with whether the government should be able to have access to devices that can be decrypted for use by them directly. Recently, according to ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), they have come across some information that could very well be considered an invasion of privacy depending on your view of the subject. They recently found in documents they obtained, that since 2009 the Anaheim Police Department have been secretly building devices that can be used to capture cell-phone surveillance as well as making them available to neighbouring cities in Orange County.
With a population close to 3 million and with over 16 million people who visit Disneyland every year which is in the same area, there are potentially quite a few of those people who have been and probably are affected by this. The devices that law enforcement has acquired is among a Stingray-type device. The device called a Dirtbox, which simulates and mimics a cell tower, can intercept mobile phones by creating a signal strong enough to force any cell signal to switch over to its device. Originally used by the military, it is mostly seen being used by the United States Marshals Service. It can be mounted to any light aircraft and then be used to detect and locate cell phones and thus collect any information needed by the govern body. There are even handheld devices that can be used among officers to intercept LTE signals inside of buildings.
According to the ACLU, the city as well as its departments initially refused the request for ACLU to see its public records. Only after filing a public records lawsuit and after engaging in many extensive discussions did Anaheim finally produce documents for the ACLU. Even after producing such documents they discovered that they were heavily redacted. It’s said that the U.S Department of Justice has told the Federal law enforcement agencies it now requires a warrant to use such devices. Even the IRS has chimed in saying that it will require warrants as well. With digital privacy issues becoming a hot topic for anyone using such a device, its only a matter of time before everyone starts taking measures in trying to safeguard their own privacy, and as well they should.