Alameda County Board Of Supervisors Passes Most Comprehensive Cell Phone Interceptor Privacy Policy In the Country

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Update: On November 17th the Alameda County Board of Supervisors passed a comprehensive privacy policy regulating the county’s use of cell phone interceptor equipment (often referred to in the press by “Stingray” or “Hailstorm”) before approving the purchase of an equipment upgrade.

got a warrant

On October 13th, Alameda County delayed the acquisition of a Hailstorm upgrade to cell phone interceptor technology after privacy advocates raised the alarm.

The vote, originally scheduled for late September, was put off for the second time, after privacy advocates with Oakland Privacy, Media Alliance, ACLU and the Stop Urban Shield Coalition demanded the Alameda County Board of Supervisors hold a public hearing and develop and implement a privacy policy prior to acquiring the equipment.

Aided by new laws recently signed by Gov. Jerry Brown after significant lobbying from civil liberties groups, including SB 741 by Senator Jerry Hill, which focuses on public disclosure rules for stingray cell phone interception equipment and CAL-ECPA, which focuses on warrant requirements for the securing of electronic data, privacy advocates were able to prevent the Board from okaying the purchase without a public hearing or usage policies right before the new laws take effect on January 1st.

The secretive stingrays, which have been subject to onerous do-not-disclose requirements from manufacturer Harris Corp, which have literally resulted in law enforcement authorities dropping criminal cases in order to conceal the use of the equipment, were recently subjected to DOJ policy guidelines on their use, which appears to be ubiquitous among police forces across the country.

Proposed Alameda Stingray Policy and Letter Regarding Policy OPWG

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