Jun 082015

In a response to a public records request from April 22, 2015, on June 1, the Pennsylvania State Police released a redacted administrative regulation for the use of “Telecommunication Identification Interception Devices” also known as cell site simulators, IMSI catchers or Stingrays. Administrative regulation AR 9-16 references Pennsylvania’s Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act and specifically refers to interception of electronic communications.

The Pennsylvania State Police FAQ on cell site simulators (CSS) claims that the CSS “cannot intercept the content of voice calls or text messages” nor can it obtain “cellular telephone numbers…of any user of a cellular device.” While the specific technical details and capabilities of the two Harris HailStorm devices owned by the Pennsylvania State Police are not known, the claim that the Harris HailStorm cell site simulators cannot obtain the cellular telephone numbers of cellular devices appears to be incorrect. In fact, the name IMSI catcher refers to the devices’ ability to capture the International Mobile Subscriber Identity, which is the device’s phone number.

For more information about the Pennsylvania State Police cell site simulators, see the excellent work by Dustin Slaughter at The Declaration and the Pennsylvania Right to Know Act request at MuckRock.

Pennsylvania purchase orders for Harris StingRay II to HailStorm Upgrade

Update: 6/26/15 – Text was updated to correct a mistake. It can still be seen in strikeout.

Apr 062015

Dustin Slaughter wrote for The Declaration on April 2, 2014 that the Pennsylvania State Police had StingRays from Harris Corporation since at least December 2013.

In a March 30, 2015, response to my public records request, the Pennsylvania State Police acknowledged that responsive records included “a four page correspondence dated August 18, 2011, from the FBI to PSP [Pennsylvania State Police] marked law enforcement sensitive and a two page agreement between Harris and PSP.” The response also states, “The PSP, upon receipt of a request(s) for cellular telephone surveillance records, confers with the FBI in contemplation of a response to the request(s) as the FBI provides guidance as to the legal dissemination of records pertaining to cellular telephone surveillance request(s)….PSP has had telephone contact with Harris Corporation. PSP notifies the FBI upon receipt of request(s) for information on cellular telephone surveillance records.”

This means that the Pennsylvania State Police have possessed Harris StingRays since 2011, two years earlier than the previously disclosed documents.

Pennsylvania State Police Stingray Surveillance Technology Contract – 2013