The cell phone tower simulator known as “StingRay” is continuing to drive controversy among privacy advocates who say that the technology allows the government to snoop on the innocent. By acting as a cell tower, the technology registers all of the area’s cell phones and allows the government to track their movements.
An example of technology outstripping the law, StingRay is used by federal, state, and local law enforcement to locate suspects. But surveillance warrants do not always spell out specific technologies being used or what information they will collect. Advocates say that the use of the StingRay should require a special warrant because its signal can impact private citizens and its signals can penetrate into homes.
How the technology is used and what information it will collect is often a touchy subject to be discussed, and judges have noted a discomfort by federal authorities to explain its practices. Omitting the use of StingRay on a search warrant application has brought challenges to arrests and criticisms from the bench.
The government has largely claimed that a warrant to use the StingRay isn’t necessary because it doesn’t intercept conversations, only locations and data.
Read the full article at the Washington Post.