City cops in Disneyland’s backyard have had “stingray on steroids” for years

(from arstechnica.com)

New documents released (PDF) on Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union of California show that for the last several years, police in the city of Anaheim, California—home of Disneyland—have been using an invasive cell phone surveillance device, known as a “dirtbox.” The ACLU obtained the 464 pages of documents after it sued the Anaheim Police Department last year over the agency’s failure to respond to its public records request concerning such surveillance-related documents.

The DRTBox has been described by one Chicago privacy activist as a “stingray on steroids,” referring to the controversial cell-site simulator that spoofs cell towers to locate phones and intercept calls and texts.

Last year, both the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice (which oversees the FBI) said that they would require a warrant during stingray deployments. A new law that took effect in California on January 1, 2016 would also require use of a warrant for a cell-site simulator.

“If a city of a few hundred thousand can have this kind of arsenal, it raises questions as to what similar cities across America might have it as well,” Matt Cagle, an ACLU lawyer, told Ars.

(keep reading at arstechnica.com)