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NYPD spying on cell phones
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/FaceMePLS

Here’s how the NYPD could be spying on your cell phone

By
Hannah Streck
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New Yorker’s have enough things to worry about on a daily basis. Bed bugs, MTA fare increases, weeding through the New York dating scene, the L train shut down; the list is endless.

What's sacred to all Gothamites, however, are their cell phones and their privacy. Unfortunately, it appears that information from your cell could be picked up by new NYPD technology. Nicknamed "stingrays"—but officially known as “cell site simulators” or “IMSI catchers”—this high-tech surveillance tool has the ability to pick up calls and texts, jam cell phone service and pin drop the location of a call or text. The tech can fit seamlessly into a briefcase and can copy cell phone towers to fool nearby phones.

According to New York Civil Liberties Union attorney Mariko Hirose, the ominous tool has already been used over 1,000 times since 2008. Hirose is currently handling a legal case asking the NYPD to disclose more information about the technology, and how the department uses the device. It’s public knowledge that the military and the CIA have used similar technology for years. But should the NYPD have access to it as well?

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