We have all heard of the now infamous technology known as “stingrays,” which law enforcement uses to track cell phones.
The military and local law enforcement agencies have been making use of this technology for years. The devices are used by law enforcement to trick cell phones into giving in details on its identification and location. This process takes place once the tool used by the authorities mimics a cell phone tower. The target then receives electronic signals that transform the phone into a tracking instrument.
Stingrays are reportedly used by law enforcement when officers are not willing to contact the phone companies during an investigation. They ignore a few steps of the operation, ignore any need for warrants, which they have already ruled unnecessary when using stingrays, and focus on obtaining information on a potential suspect by going straight for the target’s phone.
Some of the most recent coverage the use of these technologies has obtained was linked to the special motion filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. ACLU filed the motion in the Florida state court to obtain access to information on why law enforcement was using this technology, but federal authorities were having none of it.
According to Wired, U.S. Marshals grabbed the files before ACLU even had the chance to review any documents.
Whether this technology is widely and consistently used by law enforcement across the country or not, privacy proponents are not ignoring its capacity. Now, however, new revelations seem to indicate the real scope of the matter.