Recent reports on rogue cell phone towers being used across the country to intercept mobile cell phone data is drawing a response from federal agents who claim the towers are not being used by law enforcement groups.
“I doubt that they are installed by law enforcement as they require a warrant to intercept conversations or data and since the cell providers are ordered by the court to cooperate with the intercept, there really would be no need for this,” former FBI agent Ross Rice told CBS Chicago. “Most likely, they are installed and operated by hackers, trying to steal personal identification and passwords.”
Despite the CBS article’s attempt to claim that law enforcement does not have access to stationary cell phone interception devices, exclusive documents provided to Infowars last year by a source within the Seattle government revealed an expansive “mesh network” throughout the city capable of intercepting cell information in real-time.
The mesh network system, funded with a $2.6 million “Port of Seattle” grant from the Department of Homeland Security, allows several groups within Seattle to communicate outside of normal cellular channels via “mesh network nodes” attached to utility poles. Beyond the simple communication aspect, the system has also been shown to be capable of collecting vast amounts of information from the city’s many surveillance systems.
One page from the document clearly details law enforcement’s involvement with federal agencies such as the local Fusion Center, a DHS-run group consisting of FBI and police who collect data on Americans deemed “extremist.”
Page 65 of the document details the Network Mesh System’s (NMS) ability to collect identifying data on anyone “accessing the network.” A public user guide from the network’s designer, Aruba Software, openly admits that “a wealth of information about unassociated devices” can be retrieve as well.
“The NMS also collects information about every Wi‐Fi client accessing the network, including its MAC address, IP address, signal intensity, data rate and traffic status,” the document reads. “Additional NMS features include a fault management system for issuing alarms and logging events according to a set of customizable filtering rules, along with centralized and version‐controlled remote updating of the Aruba Mesh Operating System software.”
Cell phone users walking within the vicinity of a network node could not only have their IP address grabbed, but even have the last 1,000 GPS locations taken as well.
The document also reveals how the system controls several other surveillance technologies such as license plate readers, which gather and store information on millions of drivers per month.
A seperate page within the document cache entitled “Police Video Diagram” shows how police vehicles even receive and control live-video feeds from the city’s expansive collection of surveillance cameras – also tied into the mesh network system.
Although the city has claimed that its cameras do not have facial recognition capabilities, the Seattle government secretly participated in the 2012 TrapWire program which used sophisticated facial recognition software, ran through the city’s surveillance cameras, to gather intelligence for federal agencies. Only two years later, the Seattle Police Department announced its plan to purchase a facial recognition program with a DHS grant to allegedly scan and compare surveillance video to the city’s mugshot database.
Although the mesh network was deactivated “until further notice” following public outcry in 2013, a civil liberties advocate testing the police department’s promise found an active network node just last month. Police explained the “rogue” device away as a simple mistake.
While some hackers do abuse similar technologies, the vast majority of surveillance abuses are carried out by local governments armed to the teeth with federally provided spy tech.
Unfortunately, rogue cell towers are only one piece of the “smart” surveillance grid currently suffocating the country. Despite claims that police need warrants to intercept people’s cell information, the deployment of Stingrays, a suitcase-sized device that mimics a cell tower, proves otherwise.
A report in Wired Magazine from last March explained how the Tallahassee Police Department had used a Stringray as many as 200 times since 2010 without ever acquiring a warrant. The department argued that a non-disclosure agreement signed with the device’s manufacturer prevented them from obtaining warrants beforehand.
Emails uncovered last June showed how the U.S. Marshals Service purposely taught police how to deceive judges when trying to acquire Stringrays. In fact, when a public records request threatened to further expose the illegal activity, U.S. Marshals stormed a Florida police department and seized all associated Stingray documents.
A report by the Tacoma News Tribune last month revealed that a Washington state police department similarly used a nondisclosure agreement with the FBI to keep their 2008 Stingray transaction private.
Countless other technologies such as “Intellistreets” light fixtures, capable of recording audio and video of pedestrians passing by, have begun popping up as well in major cities such as Las Vegas.
Meanwhile, as the media focuses on malicious hackers stealing nude photographs from celebrities, the fact that police regularly use the same software remains almost completely overlooked.
Law enforcement’s fight to keep these systems in place could likely be rooted in one thing: parallel construction.
Used to conceal how a law enforcement investigation began, parallel construction allows police to create a criminal case while concealing how the evidence, often obtained illegally, was acquired.
Speaking exclusively with Infowars, NSA whistleblower Kirk Wiebe, who helped develop the data processing system ThinThread, broke down the danger of surveillance and parallel construction.
“Now we have NSA collaborating with FBI and DEA doing something called ‘Parallel Construction.’ In such a scenario, NSA sends information to a law enforcement agency, such as Drug Enforcement Agency and that agency uses the information secretly to investigate individuals, circumventing the law. No warrants,” Wiebe said.
“In fact, the agency actively covers up the source of the information to make it look like the information came out of classical law enforcement investigatory techniques. DEA has a special unit called the ‘SOD’ – Special Operations Division that does the cover up work. The legal consequence of doing this kind of surreptitious collaboration between intelligence and law enforcement is to deny an accused person their legal rights under the Constitution,” Wiebe added. “They are denied the opportunity to face their accuser because the source of the information is kept under wraps/hidden.”