Govt ‘Stingray’ Intercepting & Tracking Cell Phones
The federal government is using a new tool called “Stingray” to intercept and track people by their cell phone, and have been doing it apparently without a warrant. The secretive device that federal law enforcement have been using with increased frequency is being challenged by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the ACLU who say that it has enormous consequences for an individuals’ Fourth Amendment rights in their home and on their cell phone.
While the apparent justification for using Stingray is to track and/or capture criminals, its usage invades the privacy of countless innocent people that have never even been suspected of a crime.
The Stingray is a portable device that acts as a fake cell tower and can gather data on nearby cellphones or locate a single phone even if it isn’t making a call. Stingray equipment can be carried by hand or mounted on vehicles or even drones. Federal agents have even used the stingray to locate broadband cards, a device that lets a computer connect to the Internet through a cellphone network.
The EFF and ACLU says regarding an inquiry: “The government withheld information that it was using a stingray, how it works at all and that it affects third parties,” and an issue is: “…that laws on electronic tracking were written before these tools were in use.” Furthermore, “…the federal agents haven’t provided details on how the tool works or would be used — and even seemed to have trouble explaining the technology.”
Again, while the justification for the Stingray cell phone tracking tool is for an apparent good cause, it is yet another secretive government tool that could also easily be used to track ‘innocent’ and unsuspecting citizens.
Will it ONLY be used for good? “If you believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.”