Serendipity is alive and well. As I was running the earlier blog post, this was shot over to me by a friend of the blog. I decided to run these separately to make an impact on just how high risk it can be for police departments to fail to be fully transparent with this type of technology.
Transparency was already in question due to the timeline the sheriff has put this conversation on, but there is more. While they say that they can’t listen to calls, they can collect meta-data from phones, and with smartphones that can be quite a bit of information, starting with phone numbers you’ve called. We all know how desperate the sheriff is to find out who’s been talking to me, *wink, wink*
There is also a question as to the legality of using a system that could, even temporarily, interfere with cell phone service. Many areas, like public transportation, have wanted to disrupt cell service for safety purposes and they lost the legal battle. Does the fact that this system potentially disrupts service create a potential legal issue against the county and the Sheriff’s Office for violating the law.
Of final concern, the sheriff is asking for a half million dollars for this system…according to the article below, the company sells this system for $68K to $134K. That’s a significant disparity and the public deserves an explanation. What is the excess $366,000 going to be used for? I also like to know why she can’t use Alameda County’s HailStorm system, as it is considered a Bay Area resource? Is this a duplication of funds because she can’t work with other agencies as was pointed out during the election?
Below is a link to an interesting piece from the Washington Post about 3 would be felons serving probation for misdemeanors and information on how Stingray works…. something our local media hasn’t bothered to put out there for us as this discussion tries to blow over as quickly as possible.