LAPD Used Anti-Terror Tool to Spy in Typical Criminal Cases

Surveillance tool used 21 times in four-month period without court's knowledge


A secretive cellphone spy device known as StingRay, intended to fight terrorism, was used in far more routine LAPD criminal investigations 21 times in a four-month period during 2012, apparently without the courts' knowledge that the technology probes the lives of non-suspects who happen to be in the same neighborhood as suspected terrorists.

According to records released to the First Amendment Coalition under the California Public Records Act, StingRay, which allows police to track mobile phones in real time, was tapped for more than 13 percent of the 155 "cellular phone investigation cases" that Los Angeles police conducted between June and September last year.

As L.A. Weekly first reported in September, LAPD purchased StingRay technology sometime around 2006 with federal Department of Homeland Security funds. The original DHS grant documents said it was intended for "regional terrorism investigations."

But the newly released LAPD records show something markedly different: StingRays are being deployed for burglary, drug and murder investigations.

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  1. til I looked at the receipt four $5309, I didnt believe that…my… neighbours mother was like trully taking home money part time from their computer.. there friends cousin has done this less than 23 months and as of now paid the loans on their mini mansion and got a brand new Smart ForTwo. go to,……..

    1. BTW, note to whoever’s in charge of Reason’s comment section.. If you don’t delete the spammers and ban the IP numbers that they posted from, you’ll just get more of them.


  2. Sounds to me like we have more than a hundred counts of illegal wiretapping. Any chance of the perps facing any consequences for this?


  3. I see no problem with police using this tech in murder or burglary investigations, provided they get warrants first.

    But I wonder how large a fraction of the wiretaps were in drug cases.

    Both the “wars” on drugs and on terror are blatant examples of the dishonest tactic of politics-by-phony-emergency, more often used by the left than the right.

    Drug prohibition began (look it up) as a cover under which racist politicians could pursue cultural warfare against minorities in the hope of at least forcing them to assimilate, if not to leave the US. The whole argument that drugs were dangerous was invented much later. (Of course, now that everybody knows these things, the only reason the “war” is still pursued is so police can enrich themselves by seizing money and property.)

    Now we’ve got a second phony emergency (terrorism) being used as an excuse to give police more powers they can use to pursue the first phony emergency.

    I’d like to see Reason do an expos? on the entire practice of making up and using phony emergencies. And start pushing the public to stop believing in them, or in whatever further cries of “wolf” will certainly come from the same sources.

  4. Civilian peace keeping (I’ve come to refuse to use “law enforcement” or “police”) in this country is completely out of control.

    Kids need to taught to stay away and do not talk to any cop for any reason: If they’re in trouble, yell for the grocery clerk or plumber.

    A firm, friendly boot needs placed on their necks. And that includes prosecutors.

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