Instead they use these wickedly cool but ethically questionable machines designed to swipe copies of personal data from the phones of both criminals and "innocent" people (more police believe in elves than in innocent civilians who obviously need to have the data sucked from their phones simply because they posess both phones and data.
(Most police depts. that use these hardware taps – which download contact lists, apps, data, logs detailing phone calls, texts, emails and any other organized bits on the phone – aren't quite that arbitrary about whose phone they shake down. Well, ok, they are, according to the NYT. But they claim not to be; however inaccurately.)
According to his account, Stuckey didn't need to think about what he'd do with the data sucker. He just wanted one to test, play with and lord over other geeks who hadn't been able to get ahold of one for even long enough to run out of things (legitimate-ish things) to do with it.
Having it for long enough to get bored turned out not to be a problem.
Even after pleading journalism (he told the company he was going to test it for a story and review about it, not rebuild the phone-hacking empire of News of the World).
Aesco sells the devices to the FBI, CIA, various state police departments, but not to civilians and definitely not to journalists.
The devices are common enough in the U.S. to prompt serious protests from the ACLU and other civil-rights groups.
Police agencies are sensitive enough about data suckers that, when ACLU asked the Michigan State Police for documentation showing who made the decision to buy the Aceso devices, why and what the MSP did with them, it tried to charge half a million dollars to retrieve and assemble the documents and require a deposit of $272,000 to share any portion of the documents.
"The MSP's estimated cost of $544,680 for retrieval and assembly of these documents for the entire period that five of these devices have been in the MSP's position is, in our view, extraordinarily high," ACLU wrote in a complaint to the Michigan State Police.
Radio Tactics, USA