They’re listening.The sophisticated surveillance technology listens to mobile phone conversations without the owner’s permission by leading the handsets to believe they are genuine mobile phone towers. As with all controversial surveillance techniques, they are allegedly used by security agencies to target the communications of criminals. Like other methods of data harvesting, stingrays monitor thousands of phones at a time and sweep information from all devices in the targeted area — yes, that means yours.
By Michaela Whitton (ANTIMEDIA): In June 2015, a Sky News investigation uncovered at least 20 rogue telephone masts operating in London. The IMSI catchers — also known as stingrays or cell-site simulators — mimic mobile phone masts and trick phones into logging on and giving access to the owner’s calls and data.
VICE News went further than Sky, with an in-depth investigation that revealed evidence of stingrays being employed at several locations in the British capital. Areas in the surveillance dragnet included the U.K. parliament, a peaceful anti-austerity protest, and the Ecuadorian embassy — home of WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange.