Indiana police can't tell you about cell phone snooping because of 'agricultural terrorism'

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If you plan to blow up some corn in Indiana, best not use your cell phone.

Ars Technica reports that when privacy activist Mike Katz-Lacabe sent information requests to multiple state law enforcement agencies about their use of devices to intercept and track cell phone signals, he got a strange reply back from Indiana.

The state police denied his request because they claim fulfilling it would threaten their ability to respond to terrorism or "agricultural terrorism." Katz-Lacabe told Ars he plans to appeal the denial.


Katz-Lacabe was trying to get info on the state's use of "Stingrays," devices that broadcast a fake cell tower signal in an attempt to get nearby phones to connect. Once connected, the Stingray can track the phone or intercept incoming and outgoing data. The devices are increasingly being used by local law enforcement for day-to-day criminal investigations, but details of their use is kept secret as much as possible.

The terrorism claim in the denial letter is a bit dramatic, but what the heck is agricultural terrorism? The state police declined to elaborate, telling Ars Tecnica "that reply stands on its own."

If you google the term, the top two results are a paper from 2004 calling it an "unaddressed threat," and a PowerPoint presentation from the State University of New York at Albany's School of Public Health that includes this helpful slide.


Blast those cursed terrorist mosquitoes.