Thursday, September 26, 2013

Meet Minnesota's Kingfish......that track and mine information

Three weeks ago ago I sent the Bureau of Apprehension and the Hennepin County Sheriffs office a data practices request on the Kingfish.  My request was as follows to the Hennepin County Sheriff's office:

"Pursuant to the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act I wish to inspect and review all government data about the Cellular Exploitation System (Kingfish) including, but not limited to, such items as protocols, procedures, legal thresholds, County Attorney opinions, evaluations, correspondence, and results of use".

I am still waiting for the results of those requests.  It is important to know if this tool of law enforcement is used with search warrants, accountability, and transparency.  Read this description of the Kingfish which I just found on the ars technica (website).  A post entitled...."Meet the machines that steal your phone's data" by Ryan Gallagher.


The Kingfish is a surveillance transceiver that allows authorities to track and mine information from mobile phones over a targeted area. The device does not appear to enable interception of communications; instead, it can covertly gather unique identity codes and show connections between phones and numbers being dialed. It is smaller than the Stingray, black and gray in color, and can be controlled wirelessly by a conventional notebook PC using Bluetooth. You can even conceal it in a discreet-looking briefcase, according to marketing brochures. First used: Trademark records show that a registration for the Kingfish was filed in August 2001. Its “first use anywhere” is listed in records as December 2003.Cost: $25,349.
Agencies: Government agencies have spent about $13 million on Kingfish technology since 2006, sometimes as part of what is described in procurement documents as a “vehicular package” deal that includes a Stingray. The US Marshals Service; Secret Service; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; Army; Air Force; state cops in Florida; county cops in Maricopa, Arizona; and Special Operations Command have all purchased a Kingfish in recent years.  (Photo & text from ars technica)

I did a previous post on the Kingfish.  Here is the link:


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