The militarization of local law enforcement has become a hot button topic since police in Ferguson employed their weapons during the recent protests, Bloomberg Businessweek reports. What’s not getting as much attention is surveillance equipment that some police forces are getting from federal law enforcement.
In Tacoma, Wash., police were using surveillance known as Stringray that is capable of collecting records on every cell call, text message or data transfer up to a half-mile from the device. It was manufactured by a Pentagon contractor.
More than 40 local law enforcement agencies have similar surveillance.
Privacy groups have warned of the potential for abuse.
“It’s like kicking down the doors of 50 homes and searching 50 homes because they don’t know where the bad guy is,” Chris Soghoian, principal technologist at the ACLU, told the News Tribune.