The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit Wednesday local time asking two homeland security agencies, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), to release details of their use of powerful cell phone surveillance tools,media reported. It is reported that these devices will be disguised as cell phone towers, and then with a nearby phone connection to intercept detailed records of calls, information and device location data.
In fact, since 2017, the two agencies have refused the ACLU’s request for information and told the civil rights group that it had no record of responding to its request.
The two agencies responded despite the House Oversight Committee finding in 2016 that ICE spent $10.6 million on 59 IMSI catchers and $2.5 million on 33 such devices.
In the lawsuit, the ACLU also cited two cases of ICE using IMSI traps to track and arrest immigrants. These cases came to light only because journalists discovered the authorization to use the devices.
In the initial request, the ACLU asked ICE and CBP to provide records of imSI capture peractor policies, the number of times each field office used monitoring tools, and when they were used on behalf of external agencies. Now, the ACLU wants ICE to disclose how often IMSI capture data is used as evidence in immigration court proceedings and details of search warrants related to cellular cell base simulators.
The ACLU wants to know how to ensure that people’s civil liberties are protected when ICE uses IMSI snappers, and requires documentation of the rules and regulations that are in place when using IMSI snappers.