DETROIT POLICE SPENT MORE THAN HALF MILLION DOLLARS ON CELL-SITE SIMULATOR TO TRACK PEOPLE’S LOCATIONS | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


DETROIT POLICE SPENT MORE THAN HALF MILLION DOLLARS ON CELL-SITE SIMULATOR TO TRACK PEOPLE’S LOCATIONS

Detroit police purchased surveillance technology that allows police to actively track people’s locations through their cell phones, according to documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests.

In October 2017, the Detroit Police Department (DPD) obtained a cell-site simulator, which is a type of surveillance technology that locates and tracks phones by mimicking cell phone towers. Also known as IMSI catchers and Stingrays (a specific model of cell-site simulator made by Harris Corporation), cell-site simulators are increasingly used by law enforcement to locate suspects in investigations across the country.

The technology was purchased for $622,000 from KeyW Corporation in 2016, but DPD did not take possession of the equipment until the fall of 2017.

DPD’s cell-site simulator was deployed at least 66 times between January 1, 2018, and October 31, 2018.

Cell-site simulators allow police to collect the cellphone location information of anyone in the vicinity of the device. This is not limited to the targets of police investigations and includes passersby suspected of no wrongdoing.

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