Baltimore City: IMSI Hell

After The Sun revealed massive use of IMSI catchers in Baltimore City over the 8 years, I decided to try to FOIA BPD.  Well, first road block is that their submission form online doesn’t even work.  The SMTP server is jacked up.  Further, the CAPTCHA code at the bottom of the page never changes and can be copied and pasted.

The idea that an NDA that a private company forces a police department into trumps court orders is utterly insane and must be stopped.  Many of the claims made in the NDA do not hold up to scrutiny anymore either, so I’m considering it null and void on those grounds and intend to take this to court if necessary.

Here’s my request:

Dear Custodian of Records,

I am writing, pursuant to Maryland Public Information Act laws and regulations, that any and all usage of IMSI/IMEI catcher, cell phone tower simulators, or devices similar to models known as “Stingray” or “Hailstorm” devices be provided.

This information should include how many times devices were employed and whether or not a warrant was obtained for their use, and if so, which judge authorized such warrants. No information that would be exempt under seciton 3 (Court Rules) is requested, just a broader amount of counts of use, and number of warrants broken down by which judge ordered them.

Separately, any records derived from the above devices that include my IMEI number (REDACTED) are also requested to ensure my privacy has not been unduly invaded in the course of business by Baltimore City Police’s excessive use of the aforementioned devices over the past 8 years.

Further, I request to know if Foxtrot (BPD’s helicopter) is capable of carrying an IMSI/IMEI/Cell phone simulator/stingray/hailstorm device, and if so, whether it has been employed.

Further, I also request information pertaining to the number of the aforementioned devices the Baltimore Police has purchased, and at what cost.

I expect this request to be honored individually among its parts rather than approved or denied wholesale. Information may be provided through digital or hard copy (digital preferred). If the cost exceeds $50 please contact me.

This request is not exempt from the Maryland Public Information Act as the NDA entered into by Baltimore City Police with Harris Corp is unlawful in that it is at odds with the public interest and prevents me from determining if my Constitutional right to privacy was violated. There is no non-public information about these devices and the counter-party to the NDA does not even hold a patent to such technology, as it is the same technology as a cell phone tower, thus no trade secrets or confidential information can possibly exist.

Thus, the non-disclosure agreement regarding the equipment is invalid, and as a basis of denial of records and court orders to that effect is purposefully deceptive and unlawful. Now that the public knows these devices have been in use for 8 years, the NDA’s claims to protecting the lives of officers is no longer valid, nor is the claimed benefit of concealing information valid any longer as the public is aware of such devices and actions by the police. The conclusions drawn no longer hold.

In the event any part of this request is denied, the requester intends to fully invoke the remedies in the Maryland Public Information Act to the fullest extent, up to and including holding the custodian of records legally accountable for improper denial.

Looking forward to your response,
Chris Crook

 

Should be interesting to see if I get a response.  Had to guess some email addresses @baltimorepolice.org – apparently webmaster and legal got through.  Next step: Building a mesh network of counter-detectors.  If they won’t give me the information, I’ll find a way to provide it.

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