Sheriff Howard Says He's Done Discussing Cell Phone Spying

BUFFALO, NY - Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard says he will make no further comment regarding a controversial device his office has that can collect cell phone usage data from people who are not even the subject of an investigation.

About the only thing he would say to WGRZ-TV on Thursday, was why he won't be talking about it anymore.

The acquisition of the device has raised questions from not only members of the public, but also county and state lawmakers about the way it could be used.

As we've reported , the device mimics a cell tower, convincing phones to share usage information,....picking up the phone data of not only a person law enforcement might be looking for or investigating, but also everyone else's phones within a one mile radius, unbeknownst to them.

Howard answered a few of our questions ten days after our initial report aired, but didn't take any questions from reporters after he appeared before county legislators, who had questions they wanted answered after seeing our reports.

On Thursday, he made quite clear that he is through discussing the matter publicly.

"It's very clear to anyone using common sense the more we talk about this, the more we refresh the topic, the more we're cautioning people that we use the device …the more we're telling them about it, the more likely they are to avoid capture," said Howard. "So, I have made my last comment on cell phone tracking."

Since our initial reports aired, several lawmakers who approved the purchase of the device six years ago, said they might not have, had they known its full capabilities.

Related: Local Police Agencies Have Devices to Spy on Cell Phones

Related: Erie Co. Sheriff Spent $350,000+ To Spy On Cell Phones

Related: Cell Phone Spying: Which Local Police Are Doing It


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