The LAPD has had access to a device called a “dirtbox” for the past several years. This equipment allows them to intercept calls and text messages from numerous cellphones at once. A “dirtbox” gets its name from the acronym of the company that makes them: Digital Receiver Technology, Inc., which is owned by The Boeing Co. These devices, which used by the military and the Justice Department, are also being used by police. Police departments in both Chicago and L.A. bought the equipment in 2005, according to an investigation by Reveal News. Los Angeles spent $260,000 on the equipment, using money from a homeland security grant to pay for the actual devices and a two-week training program on how to use it. Their reasoning was the same as it always is: to fight terrorism. Chicago, on the other hand, used funds from the controversial practice of asset forfeiture. A dirtbox is something called a cell site simulator, and it works by mimicking a cell phone tower. Cell phones within range start using the dirtbox, and any information—voice calls, who you’ve called, texts, data you’ve sent—is intercepted and decrypted as it passes through. A dirtbox is capable of drawing from 200 […]
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