Police Use of Phony Cellphone Towers Needs to be Reined In, Lawmakers warn
Congress should pass legislation to ensure that phony cellphone towers police use to locate criminals and fugitives are used consistently across the country, according to a bipartisan congressional report released Dec 19. In the absence of those laws, the Justice and Homeland Security departments should refuse to approve the sale of those devices, known as “cell-site simulators” or “stingrays,” to state and local law enforcement unless they agree to abide by current federal rules, according to the staff report from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
The report is the result of a year-long staff investigation into stingrays, which federal law enforcement agencies frequently used to track criminals without warrants and using a standard lower than probable cause prior to policy shifts in September and October 2015. Those lower standards are still used by many states and localities, according to the report, which determined “the use of cell-site simulators by state and local law enforcement agencies was not governed by any uniform standards or policies.”
Police Use of Phony Cellphone Towers Needs to be Reined In, Lawmakers warn Law Enforcement Use of Cell-Site Simulation Technologies: Privacy Concerns and Recommendations (read the report)