Texas is spying on Thousands of Phones using Surveillance Drones and Planes

Similar to questionable stingray devices, DRT’s operations nicknamed “dirt boxes” mimic cellphone pillars, relating to every smartphone within a specific area. Because they combine with all smartphones, it’s nearly irritable to avoid collecting private data from people who aren’t suspects but just appear to be in the target area.

Privacy advocates have continued derided cell-site simulators because they work in secrecy. Authorities have worked hard to withhold data on how much data stingrays collect, even dropping charges rather than sharing information about the technology. The Justice Department, though, has policies for the use of such projects by federal agencies and police agencies that partner with them: officials must obtain a warrant before using them in illegal investigations and must delete all data on users not targeted within 30 days. The rules do not apply to “state security” operations.

The two National Guard RC-26 aircraft in question are reportedly used for counternarcotics actions at the US-Mexico border. Asked whether the militia force had the power to obtain warrants for arrests or direction, a Texas National Guard spokesperson told the News, “Our popular supporting roles do not include arrest or law enforcing authorizations.”

“These DRT boxes are far more intelligent than the old Stingrays,” Austin lawyer Scott Mccullough told the News. “The old-style Stingrays were not able to obtain content.