Mike Katz-Lacabe

May 192015
 

On May 19, 2015, the Tacoma Police Department released a February 13, 2013, letter from the FBI to Harris Corporation permitting it “to sell the  state-and-local version of the Stingray product with the restricted [“Landshark”] software to the Tacoma Police Department.”

The complete text of the letter:

Attention: Patricia Sciandra

Re: Contract J-FBI-09-211 “Landshark” Restricted Software Request Approval – Tacoma Police Department

Dear Ms. Sciandra:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has an approved non-disclosure agreement (NDA) in place with the captioned law enforcement agency. In accordance with the cited restricted software agreement and the April 6, 2010 agreement between the FBI and the Harris Corporation, your notification to the FBI of the agency’s intent to purchase, and our execution of the NDA, meets the FBI’s advance coordination requirement. Therefore, the Harris Corporation is permitted to sell the state-and-local version of the Stingray product with the restricted software to the Tacoma Police Department.

W. L. Scott Bean, III
Chief, Technical Surveillance Section
Operational Technology Division

May 162015
 

On February 27, 2015, California Senator Jerry Hill introduced SB 741, which “would require that require local governing bodies in California to take public comment before implementing cell phone intercept technology.

SB-741 was discussed at a meeting of the California Senate Judiciary Committee on May 12, 2015. After opening remarks by Senator Hill, Tracy Rosenberg of the Bay Area Civil Liberties Coalition spoke in favor of the bill and Aaron Maguire of the California State Sheriff’s Association spoke against the bill.

Maguire said,

We are in respectful opposition to the bill. We’re in opposition to actually several bills that are currently moving through both houses. And really it is sort of a philosophical disagreement. I agree wholeheartedly with the author about the checks and balances that we have in our system in terms of the legislature appropriating certain money and the executive branch utilizing those funds, but I think what we have here is something that goes a little bit too far, which is where the state is mandating that certain items be placed on the board agenda which is, so, with whether it’s with respect to unmanned aerial vehicles or whether its this type of technology or other tactics or other things, we just think that this simply just goes too far and for those reasons, we’re in opposition. Thank you.

After Maguire’s remarks, Senator Joel Anderson asked, “When you use this type of technology, is it considered wiretapping?” Maguire responded, “To be honest with you, Senator Anderson, as far as I know, laws with regard to state, federal, and Fourth Amendment are followed.” Committee Chair Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson noted, “That’s sort of not exactly an answer. So do you have an answer to that?” However, it was Rosenberg who responded, noting that law enforcement frequently seeks an order for a pen register, which is technology for landline telephones that judges understand. Orders for pen registers also have the advantage of not requiring probable cause – they only require that the information likely to be obtained is relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation.

Towards the end of the hearing, Senators Mark Leno and Joel Leno both requested to be added as co-authors to the bill, which was passed unanimously.

Click here for the audio of the SB 741 hearing – a total of 12 minutes and 30 seconds.

May 042015
 

Previously, the Ventura County Sheriff released a heavily redacted non-disclosure agreement with the FBI and similarly redacted terms and conditions from Harris Corporation (See http://www.cehrp.org/ventura-county-sheriff-has-a-stingray/).

Today, I received the following responses to my appeal:

 

Apr 132015
 

In a February 13, 2015, response to my public records request, the Boston Police Department indicated that it had records responsive to my request, but “The information you have requested is exempt from disclosure by MGL c. 4 s. 7(26)(f) and (n). Disclosure of the information contained in these documents would not be in the public interest and would prejudice the possibility of effective law enforcement.”

As the public records request only asked for information related to Harris Corporation equipment, this indicates that the Boston Police Department has a Harris Corporation cell site simulator, probably a StingRay.

Apr 132015
 

In a February 18, 2015, response to my public records request, the New York Police Department indicated it had records responsive to my request, but “In regard to the documents(s) which you requested, I must deny access to these records on the basis of Public Officers Law Section 87(2)(e)(iv) as such information, if disclosed, would reveal non-routine techniques and procedures.”

This indicates that the New York Police Department has a cell site simulator.

Apr 132015
 

In a March 26, 2015, response to my public records request, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office provided a heavily-redacted copy of a non-disclosure agreement with the FBI dated May 29, 2012. Based on the number of pages, the non-disclosure agreement appears similar to non-disclosure agreements between the FBI and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and between the FBI and the Erie County Sheriff.

The non-disclosure agreement refers to “wireless collection equipment/technology manufactured by Harris Corporation,” which indicates that the equipment is likely a StingRay.

In a followup response to my public records request, dated March 27, 2015, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office provided four heavily-redacted documents from Harris Corporation:

Apr 102015
 

In an April 7, 2015, response to a public records request, the Kern County Sheriff released a quotation from Digital Receiver Technology dated April 8, 2009, for a DRT 1201B 0402/PRS Wireless Receiving System. This came after the Kern County Board of Supervisors approved allocating $193,030 in State Homeland Security Grant Funds (agenda consent item CA-37) at its meeting of December 9, 2008. The background material for this item noted that “The vendor will not permit public disclosure of the equipment features.”

The quotation describes the DRT 1201B as:

Consisting of the following items: 4 RF tuners. 2 wideband processor modules, and embedded/GUI software for all supported wireless formats. Includes Alaska software and a two year hardware warranty are also included. With this configuration, including the TEX and DEX modules, there is 8 empty slot for future processing modules. Unit comes with a DELL 8600 or equivalent laptop to control and operate the unit.

The quotation also describes the DF20C-1 antenna kit as:

Direction Finding antenna, nine 3-inch antenna elements, DRT DF software, Pinpoint geolocation software, DF manual, GPS antenna, 25-ft. cable. This antenna will do direction finding on all cellular formats.

At its meeting on June 7, 2011, the Kern County Board of Supervisors approved (agenda consent item CA-75) an agreement with Digital Receiver Technology for training.

As part of a previous public records response, the Kern County Sheriff also released Digital Receiver Technology’s General Terms and Conditions of Sale, revised May 9, 2006.

Apr 092015
 

In a March 19, 2015, response to my public records request, the Los Angeles Police Department responded, “To the extent that any such records may exist…they would constitute official information.” The letter goes on to state that all requested documents are exempt under California Government Code section 6254(k) and section 6255 without indicating whether such records exist.

However, a little research shows that on August 2, 2005, the Los Angeles City Council approved the purchase of a cell phone tracking system from Digital Receiver Technology for an amount not to exceed $260,000. Background material for the agenda item stated, “Most vendors only offered a product that could track phones issued by one or two cellular service providers. Conversely, DRT’s equipment can track and monitor all cellular phone traffic, making it the most advanced product on the market.” Digital Receiver Technology was purchased by Boeing in December 2008.

On April 29, 2010, the Chief of Police wrote a memo to the Police Board of Commissioners to approve a donation of $347,050 from the Los Angeles Police Foundation for a Harris StingRay II system, three high-power Harpoon amplifiers, a laptop, an Amberjack antenna and training. On July 6, 2010, the Los Angeles City Council formally accepted the donation.

Media coverage:

Apr 082015
 

In a March 30, 2015, response to my public records request, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office claims that requested records are exempt from disclosure – without actually making a determination that the records actually exist. With respect to a non-disclosure agreement between the FBI and the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, the letter states:

Pursuant to California Government Code 6254(f) ” … Records of intelligence information or security procedures of, the office of the Attorney General and the Department of Justice …. ,” are exempt from disclosure, therefore this part of the request is denied.

 Based on the response, it is all but certain that the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office has a cell site simulator. An appeal has been filed to obtain the non-disclosure agreement and determine what type of cell site simulator it possesses.

Apr 082015
 

In an emailed response to public records request, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office released a lightly-redacted copy of its non-disclosure disagreement with the FBI. The document is dated December 7, 2012, and uses the same template of the NDA between the FBI and the Erie County Sheriff that was released by the ACLU on April 7, 2015.

The NDA includes these references to public records requests:

7. The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department shall not, in any civil or criminal proceeding, use or provide any information concerning the Harris Corporation wireless collection equipment/technology, its associated software, operating manuals, and any related documentation (including its technical/engineering description(s) and capabilities) beyond the evidentiary results obtained through the use of the equipment/technology including, but not limited to, during pre-trial matters, in search warrants and related affidavits, in discovery, in response to court ordered disclosure, in other affidavits, in grand jury hearings, in the State’s case-in-chief, rebuttal, or on appeal, or in testimony in any phase of civil or criminal trial, without the prior written approval of the FBI. If the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department learns that a District Attorney, prosecutor, or a court is considering or intends to use or provide any information concerning the Harris Corporation wireless collection equipment/technology, its associated software, operating manuals, and any related documentation (including its technical/engineering description(s) and capabilities) beyond the evidentiary results obtained through the use of the equipment/technology in a manner that will cause law enforcement sensitive information relating to the technology to be made known to the public, the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department will immediately notify the FBI in order to allow sufficient time for the FBI to intervene to protect the equipment/technology and information from disclosure and potential compromise.

8. In addition, the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department will, at the request of the FBI, seek dismissal of the case in lieu of using or providing, or allowing others to use or provide, any information concerning the Harris Corporation wireless collection equipment/technology, its associated software, operating manuals, and any related documentation (beyond the evidentiary results obtained through the use of the equipment/technology), if using or providing such information would potentially or actually compromise the equipment/technology. This point supposes that the agency has some control or influence over the prosecutorial process. Where such is not the case, or is limited so as to be inconsequential, it is the FBI’s expectation that the law enforcement agency identify the applicable prosecuting agency, or agencies, for inclusion in this agreement.

Public records request acknowledgement from March 16, 2015

Public records request acknowledgement from March 30, 2015

Media coverage:
Law enforcement officials: Cell phone disclosures would hurt investigations – The Desert Sun, Feb. 15, 2014