Court rules Stingray use Without a Warrant Violates Fourth Amendment

The Washington DC Court of Appeals overturned a Superior Court conviction of a man who was located by police using a cell-site simulator, or Stingray. The court ruled that the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights were violated when law enforcement tracked down the suspect using his own cell phone without a warrant.

Stingrays work by pretending to be a cell tower and once they’re brought close enough to a particular phone, that phone pings a signal off of them. The Stingray then grabs onto that signal and allows whoever’s using it to locate the phone in question. These sorts of devices are used by a number of different agencies including the FBI, ICE, the IRS as well as police officers. However, those agencies will no longer be able to (legally) use the devices.

Last year, members of Congress called for legislation that would protect citizens’ privacy and require a warrant before Stingrays could be used by law enforcement. Two such bills were introduced in the House of Representatives earlier this year.

You can read more in the CBS News web site at: http://cbsn.ws/2wGvbtn.

The various agencies mentioned obviously already own the Stingray devices. Any bets as to whether or not they will continue to use them, legally or illegally?

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