If you've been struggling to make sense of the stories about Stingrays (super-secretive cellular surveillance tech used by cops and governments) (previously) this week's Note to Self podcast does the best job I've yet seen (heard) of explaining them.
It starts with the weirdest and most improbable part of the story: how the existence of Stingrays became widely known. Daniel Rigmaiden was a fraudster who was doing hard time, and he was convinced that he had been caught by some kind of unknown mobile surveillance device. He was smart, motivated and careful, and he had a lot of time on his hands, which he used to request more than 10,000 pages' worth of public records through Freedom of Information requests, from which he pieced together a brilliant and thorough report on Stingrays. He sent it to the ACLU's chief technologist, Christopher Soghoian (previously), who was able to carry the ball in ways that a convicted felon could not.
The Note to Self team collaborated with Jad Abumrad from Radiolab to discuss the implications of the state using secret tools to ascertain the location, movements and associations of entire populations without warrants or oversight, weighing the good and the bad, and talking to such sources as Bruce Schneier.
When Your Conspiracy Theory Is True [Note to Self/WNYC]
(Image: Daniel Rigmaiden)
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