The FBI wanted Michael Cohen's cell phones, but knew that they could not be found in his home. The problem: Cohen and his family moved into a hotel while renovating their home.
The solution was to use controversial surveillance technology on April 8, 2018 to determine its exact location: Room 1728 at the Loews Regency Hotel.
An FBI Special Agent wrote in a sworn statement sealed Tuesday that federal officials "sought and obtained the authority to use an electronic technique commonly known as 'Triggerfish' to locate the two Choosing to hire Cohen's iPhone was a warrant to get the phones out of the room, and a court-appointed Special Master later found that federal lawyers received the vast majority of nearly 300,000 files on both phones as well as an iPad when searching
Triggerfish devices ̵
It is not clear what other information except the place where law enforcement agencies from their Uses brought a stingray, which targets Cohen.The devices can also call, text messages and so-called To retrieve emails sent to and from phones.
Being mobile masts, they not only capture information from the survey objectives. Stingrays are able to capture information from entire neighborhoods, which is why civil rights groups have been denying their use for years.
The devices are manufactured by Harris Corporation, a defense company, and its patents suggest that stingrays and similar devices have been used for about two decades, although law enforcement agencies rarely recognize their use.
The government has even withdrawn charges against criminal defendants rather than relaying information about Stingray to defense teams, as a libertarian opinion from the year 2017 of the Cato Institute points out.
Therefore, it is not clear how widespread the devices are. In a November 2018 report, the ACLU cataloged Stingray usage by 75 agencies in 27 states and the District of Columbia. However, this list is most likely incomplete. The ACLU found 14 federal agencies that use the equipment but do not currently have any equipment identified by CBS News: the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
In response to a request submitted by CBS News of the Freedom of Information Act of 2016, the agency failed to "disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations and prosecutions".