This 10 June 2015 Sky News TV video from Britain is about fake mobile phone towers for spying.
From daily The Independent in Britain:
Fake mobile phone towers found to be ‘actively listening in’ on calls in UK
The London Metropolitan Police have refused to say who is controlling them or what is being done with the information they are gathering
Wednesday 10 June 2015
More than 20 “intrusive” fake mobile phone towers that eavesdrop on public conversations have been found active in the UK, the first time the technology has been detected in the country.
The IMSI catchers, also known as Stingrays,
What a shame that such criminal devices are named after such beautiful fish
have been found to be operating in London, but the Metropolitan Police have refused to say who is controlling them or what is being done with the information they are gathering.
IMSI stands for International Mobile Subscriber Identity – a unique number that identifies users on their phone network.
The controversial surveillance technology, used by police forces around the world, is supposedly for catching criminals’ communicating by intercepting information on its way to the network.
It tricks mobile phones into thinking the Stingrays are phone masts, so that handsets connect to the tower and all the data flowing through them is collected – but the masts are unable to distinguish between criminals and everyone else.
A Sky News investigation located the masts using technology made by GSMK Cryptophone, a German security company, and found more than 20 of the rogue towers in three weeks.
Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe would not confirm or deny that his force was using the technology, telling the channel that “the only people who benefit are the other side, and I see no reason in giving away that sort of thing”.
He said: “If people imagine that we’ve got the resources to do as much intrusion as they worry about, I would reassure them that it’s impossible.”
Stingrays are frequently used in the US by police to monitor suspects, though the use of them is inevitably subject to heated debate as they can eavesdrop on anyone’s calls, even without a warrant. The American Civil Liberties Union has called the towers “incredibly invasive”.
Scotland Yard was said to have bought some of the IMSI towers in 2009 and began using them last November, according to reports, although it is the first time evidence has been found that they are operational. Keith Bristow, the director-general of the National Crime Agency, said: “Some of what we would like to talk about to get the debate informed and logical, we can’t, because it would defeat the purpose of having the tactics in the first place. Frankly, some of what we need to do is intrusive, it is uncomfortable, and the important thing is we set that out openly and recognise there are difficult choices to be made.”
Eric King, deputy director of Privacy International, said it was time police forces stopped pretending the IMSI towers didn’t exist, so the public could understand the legal framework behind them. He said: “This spying tool has featured in everything from The Wire to Zero Dark Thirty. Companies are selling them on the grey market to anyone who can pay. The only thing we don’t know is what the police are doing to protect people from their use by criminals, and when they use them, what legal frameworks ensures they’re properly used?
“In an urban space, thousands of people’s mobile phones would be swept up in that dragnet. What they do with that data, we don’t know. We know police have been using them for years, but this is the first time that it’s been shown that they’re being deployed in the UK.”
Tim Johnston, a barrister who specialises in surveillance law, told Sky News: “Because it’s neither confirmed nor denied, we simply don’t know on what basis they [IMSI catchers] are being used – if they are being used. We don’t know how they’re being overseen. We don’t know the statutory basis that’s being relied on, as a consequence we don’t know who – if anyone – is overseeing that use.”
From daily News Line in Britain:
Thursday, 11 June 2015
UK AN OUT-OF-CONTROL POLICE STATE!
THE revelation by Sky News of the ‘Stingray’ programme, where fake mobile phone towers are set up to capture people’s mobile calls without their knowledge, and that the same process can be used to plant material on their phones without their permission, is yet another confirmation that the UK is an out-of-control police state.
Here the ruling class feels so insecure that there are no limits on its spying and repressive actions against ordinary people, carried out under the guise of combatting the ‘toleration’ of terrorism, extremism and crime that Cameron and May are alleging.
In fact, this secret police state spying is a criminal activity that is being carried out by the capitalist state on behalf of a frightened ruling class against the working class and the middle class, the majority of the people.
Asked directly about the use of Stingrays, Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Met Police Commissioner, said: ‘We’re not going to talk about it, because the only people who benefit are the other side, and I see no reason in giving away that sort of thing.’ The ‘other side’ are the millions who are being spied on. Workers will reject his arrogant, outside the law, rationalisations.
Keith Bristow, the director-general of the National Crime Agency, said: ‘Frankly, some of what we need to do is intrusive, it is uncomfortable, and the important thing is we set that out openly and recognise there are difficult choices to be made.’ He wants the state to have the right to spy on who it likes, as it likes, when it likes, without being brought to account.
The fake mobile phone towers, IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity) catchers (Stingrays), mimic mobile phone masts with the aim of tricking phones into logging on so that they can be used in any way that the state wishes. ‘With IMSI catchers, it’s very difficult for them to be used in a targeted manner,’ Eric King, deputy director of Privacy International, commented. ‘In an urban space, thousands of people’s mobile phones would be swept up in the dragnet. What they do with that data, we don’t know.’
In November, The Times reported that the Metropolitan Police Service, the UK’s largest police force, was using Stingray technology, citing anonymous sources. According to The Guardian, the Metropolitan Police paid £143,455 for the surveillance equipment in 2009. Despite repeated Freedom of Information requests, the Met police will neither confirm nor deny that the force uses IMSI catchers.
The capitalist state is now able to remove an individual’s passport, to keep them out of the country, on the basis of ‘suspicion’. It is also able to relocate suspects to different parts of the country, a form of internment, on the basis of ‘suspicion’.
The same state is now putting questionnaires in front of Muslim schoolchildren, full of trick questions, to see if they qualify as ‘potential terrorists’ and, under the slogan that the UK is ‘too tolerant’, developing the capacity to spy on everybody, and jail people, after secret trials based on the state’s suspicions and ‘secret’ evidence that will never be made public.
With anti-union laws and strike bans ahead, along with an endless list of austerity measures, those who need watching as potential enemies of the state will number many millions. This will include a government, if Osborne has his way, and brings in new legislation, that makes deficit budgeting illegal.
However, the more that the state’s open dictatorship is built up, the greater will be the explosion of popular anger.
UK intelligence agencies should keep mass surveillance powers, report says: here.
About the USA, from daily The Guardian in Britain, 10 April 2015:
Stingray spying: FBI’s secret deal with police hides phone dragnet from courts
Non-disclosure agreement in Florida reveals chain of secrecy across US
Federal authorities maintain ‘totalitarian’ control over local law enforcement
Read the document: seeking case dismissals at the request of the FBI
ACLU challenges ‘stingray surveillance’ that allows police to track cellphones. Civil liberties activists asking federal court to disallow evidence obtained by technology that mimics a genuine cellphone tower: here.