Law Enforcement Agencies Scramble For Pricey Cell Tower Spoofer Upgrades As Older Networks Are Shut Down

The surveillance device that dare not speak its name (thanks, FBI!) is on its last legs… or at least one version is. Cyrus Farivar at Ars Technica reports that law enforcement agencies are moving quickly to avoid being locked out of the cell tower spoofing racket.
Documents released last week by the City of Oakland reveal that it is one of a handful of American jurisdictions attempting to upgrade an existing cellular surveillance system, commonly known as a stingray.

The Oakland Police Department, the nearby Fremont Police Department, and the Alameda County District Attorney jointly applied for a grant from the Department of Homeland Security to “obtain a state-of-the-art cell phone tracking system,” the records show.
The Stingray is Harris Corporation’s most infamous product. But the original version has its limitations. While the nation’s cell phone carriers have largely moved on to 3G/4G networks, Stingray devices without optional upgrades haven’t. All they can access is 2G, the default connection when nothing better is available. Those looking to capture cell activity on 3G and 4G networks will need to purchase Harris’ “Hailstorm” upgrade… which also means they’ll need to start generating paperwork and asking federal and local governments for funds. The problem with these actions is that they have the tendency to expose those in need of new capabilities.

Read the Full Article: Source – Tech Dirt

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