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Available Expert - Police usage of Stingray telephone eavesdropping technology

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Queen's University surveillance expert David Murakami Wood is available to comment on the usage of telephone eavesdropping technology, such as the Stingray device - which allows police to intercept, divert and track cellphone communications. Today, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association announced that they had confirmed Vancouver Police had used such a device on at least one occasion and, due to a lack of reporting requirements, had not disclosed its usage.

"That the use of IMSI catchers - of which Stingray is the main 'brand' of such devices - constitutes a significant threat to privacy and, potentially, to public safety," says Dr. Murakami Wood. "These devices can interfere with, even divert and stop, 911 calls. More generally, it is concerning that police and other public authorities can acquire invasive surveillance technologies, or indeed weapons, without having to seek permission or go through any independent process of assessment. We should not have to wait until public authorities already have such devices to be able to challenge them and, even then, only when they have been 'discovered' rather than declared."

Dr. Murakami Wood is an associate professor in the Queen's University Department of Sociology and the Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Surveillance Studies. He has spoken in the media on a wide range of topics relating to surveillance - with a particular focus on surveillance technology.

To arrange an interview, please contact communications officer Chris Armes (613-533-6000 ext. 77513 or chris.armes@queensu.ca) in the Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.

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Attention broadcasters: Queen’s has facilities to provide broadcast quality audio and video feeds. For television interviews, we can provide a live, real-time double ender from Kingston with HD-SDI. Please call for details.

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