Wednesday, November 4, 2015

New Bill Would Force Cops to Get Stingray Warrants

FEDERAL LAWMAKERS HAVE introduced a new bill that would require state and local law enforcement agencies to obtain a warrant before they could use stingray surveillance devices.

The Cell-Site Simulator Act of 2015, also known as the Stingray Privacy Act, was introduced in response to a new Justice Department policy, announced last month, requiring all federal agencies to obtain a search warrant before using stingrays—devices that simulate a cell phone tower in order to track the location of mobile phone users.

The new policy forces prosecutors and investigators not only to obtain a warrant but also to disclose to judges that the specific technology they plan to use is a stingray, as opposed to some other surveillance tool.

Civil liberties groups had criticized the federal policy because it covers only agencies like the FBI, US Marshals Service, and Drug Enforcement Agency—while failing to address state and local police and sheriff’s departments, who use the technology extensively, and often borrow the devices from federal agencies.

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