A MARYLAND appellate court on Wednesday explained its reasoning for its landmark decision earlier this month requiring police to establish probable cause and get a warrant before using a Stingray, or cell-site simulator.
The Maryland Court of Special Appeals rejected the state of Maryland’s argument that anyone turning on a phone was “voluntarily” sharing their whereabouts with the police. And the 73-page opinion also harshly rebuked Baltimore police for trying to conceal their use of Stingrays from the court.
“This is the first appellate opinion in the country to fully address the question of whether police must disclose their intent to use a cell-site simulator to a judge and obtain a probable cause warrant,” said Nathan Wessler, a staff attorney with the ACLU’s Project on Speech, Privacy, and Technology.
The panel of judges stated that “cellphone users have an objectively reasonable expectation that their cellphones will not be used as real-time tracking devices, through the direct and active interference of law enforcement.”