MN Department of Public Safety Spokesman Lied to Press about Surveillance Technology

MN Department of Public Safety Spokesman Lied to Press about Surveillance Technology

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Given today’s revelations about the long suspected capabilities of Stingray and similar cellphone surveillance equipment, the sins of the past are coming to light. At least one high level law enforcement official within Minnesota lied to the press and the public about the power of these technologies.

According to documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), cell-site simulators which go by names like Stingray and Kingfish, are much more advanced than previously believed. These tools enable the government, from Federal down to local, the ability to snoop on and record the content of cellphones. This has been denied for years across the board. Not only can calls and text messages be recorded, the technology is able to hack cellphones and turn them into active listening devices through the built in microphone. The documents also show that these surveillance tools can also jam communications.

In 2014, the spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety told the Star Tribune that this technology does not listen to conversations or read text messages.

North Star Post contributor Rich Neumeister disclosed on his blog in 2014, “[MN Bureau of Criminal Apprehension] keeps quiet about cell tracking technology…admit they have Stingray.” This advanced and secretive surveillance technology is proliferating on the local level as well. The Star Tribune reported in 2010, “This time, [Hennepin County Sheriff] Stanek lands KingFish phone tracker.” Neumeister recently wrote about the high level of secrecy over the cost to the tax-payers for this type of equipment.

The Post is reaching out to law enforcement agencies within Minnesota and beyond, for clarification and further inquiries about this invasive technology. The tired expression, “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about,” should apply both ways.

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