A new audit by the Inspector General of Homeland Security alleges that the Secret Service and the Investigative Division of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement did not fully comply with federal law or DHS policy regarding the use of cell site simulators. .
Use of a simulator that mimics the signals used by cell towers to track law enforcement calls requires a search warrant substantiated by probable cause under the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and a court order under the law. must be obtained by the authorities. It manages the use of pen registers and trap-and-trace devices.
An OIG audit released Wednesday found that both Secret Service and ICE Homeland Security Investigation officials have not always obtained court orders related to the Pen Registration Act.
The DHS policy governing cell site simulators makes two exceptions to the warrant requirement. This includes “requiring life to be saved or serious injury to be avoided”, prevention of imminent destruction of evidence, diligent pursuit of fugitive felons, or emergency situations requiring prevention. . Fugitive from court by a suspect or convicted fugitive. “
Another example is exceptional circumstances where obtaining a warrant is impractical.
These exceptions allow immunity from court orders in emergency situations such as imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury to a person, imminent threat to national security interests, or other circumstances. It is separate from law.
In emergency situations, authorities must apply for a court order within 48 hours of installation or commencement of installation of the base station simulator. And even if the warrant requirement is waived, you must still comply with the Pen Registration Act requirements.
The report found that “the CSS policy does not contain sufficiently detailed guidance on cooperating with external law enforcement agencies” and that the authorities did not correctly interpret the relevant policy in the event of an emergency. It noted that both agencies failed to obtain a court order for the Pen Register Statue. He gets a court order within 48 hours of installing CSS in an emergency.
“The policy does not provide sufficiently detailed guidance on how other organizations, such as local law enforcement agencies, can comply with the requirements when they are responsible for obtaining the necessary CSS judicial authorization.” , said the partially redacted audit. “When providing CSS support to other agencies, they rely on other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to obtain the necessary court clearances, according to Secret Service and ICE HSI officials. I have.”
The audit also found that ICE HSI does not always comply with federal privacy laws and DHS policies.
DHS policy requires constituent agencies to conduct privacy impact assessments before procuring technology that collects, maintains, or disseminates personally identifiable information, and to ensure that personally identifiable information is included in their activities. We request that you conduct a privacy threshold analysis to help identify cases.
An audit found that the January 2022 Privacy Assessment “may not identify and mitigate privacy risks associated with the use of CSS” where appropriate. Also, the department had a PTA approved in April 2015, but “despite DHS privacy requiring a new PIA to be submitted to ICE HSI, fiscal 2020 and I did not have an approved PIA during the 2021 investigation.” The new PIA was finally approved on January 24, 2022.
The audit also noted that the Secret Service or ICE HSI did not always document support for supervisor approval and data deletion of privacy information collected by CSS upon completion of missions.