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Vancouver police admit to having used StingRay mass surveillance device

Vancouver police have admitted to using a controversial mass surveillance device following a protracted back-and-forth battle with civil rights groups.


August 11, 2016
By The Canadian Press

The department has denied having any records related to the invasive technology, but Const. Brian Montague now says they used the RCMP’s StingRay team with a 2007 investigation into a suspected abduction case.

Micheal Vonn of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association says that while the use of the device in that case may have been warranted, it’s troubling that there is no paper trail and that it took nearly 10 years for the public to find out.

StingRay mimics a cellular communications tower to trick mobile devices within range to connect to it, giving police text and audio communication and the device’s location.

Vonn says it’s likely the RCMP have offered similar StingRay services to other jurisdictions across Canada, but it’s difficult to know without the requirement for public transparency.

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She dismisses police claims that disclosing the technique risks compromising investigations, citing Germany as an example of a country where regulations around cell-site simulators hasn’t hindered law enforcement.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2016