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posted by martyb on Sunday January 29 2017, @12:21AM   Printer-friendly
from the to-protect-the-public-or-themselves? dept.

The New York Civil Liberties Union is pushing a new state bill that would require law enforcement to obtain a warrant prior to deploying a cell-site simulator, or stingray. The bill also includes other new restrictions.

Cell-site simulators, or fake cell towers, are often used by police to locate criminal suspects by tricking their phones into giving up their location. In some cases, simulators can also be used to intercept phone calls and text messages. Use of these devices has been heavily scrutinized in recent years—in September 2015, the Department of Justice said it would require its federal agents to seek a warrant before deployment.

[...] The bill, which was first reported by ZDNET, doesn't mention stingrays specifically. However, it specifically forbids law enforcement from accessing "electronic device information by means of physical interaction or electronic communication with the device" unless they have a warrant. There are a few narrow exceptions, such as exigent circumstances.


Original Submission

Related Stories

DHS Finds Unauthorized Use of "Stingrays" (IMSI Catchers) in Washington, D.C. 44 comments

In a letter to Senator Ron Wyden, the Department of Homeland Security has acknowledged that unknown users are operating IMSI catchers in Washington, D.C.:

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is acknowledging for the first time that foreign actors or criminals are using eavesdropping devices to track cellphone activity in Washington, D.C., according to a letter obtained by The Hill.

DHS in a letter to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) last Monday said they came across unauthorized cell-site simulators in the Washington, D.C., area last year. Such devices, also known as "stingrays," can track a user's location data through their mobile phones and can intercept cellphone calls and messages.

[...] DHS official Christopher Krebs, the top official leading the NPPD, added in a separate letter accompanying his response that such use "of IMSI catchers by malicious actors to track and monitor cellular users is unlawful and threatens the security of communications, resulting in safety, economic and privacy risks."

DHS said they have not determined the users behind such eavesdropping devices, nor the type of devices being used. The agency also did not elaborate on how many devices it unearthed, nor where authorities located them.

Also at Ars Technica and CNN.

Related: Police: Stingray Device Intercepts Mobile Phones
ACLU Reveals Greater Extent of FBI and Law Enforcement "Stingray" Use
US IRS Bought Stingray, Stingray II, and Hailstorm IMSI-Catchers
EFF Launches the Cell-Site Simulator Section of Street Level Surveillance
NYPD Making Heavy Use of Stingrays
New York Lawmakers Want Local Cops to Get Warrant Before Using Stingray
New Jersey State Police Spent $850,000 on Harris Corp. Stingray Devices

Original Submission

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  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 29 2017, @12:50AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 29 2017, @12:50AM (#459993)

    Don't impose new rules on LEOs, get them to follow the spirit of the existing ones first...

    • (Score: 2) by butthurt on Monday January 30 2017, @08:14AM

      by butthurt (6141) on Monday January 30 2017, @08:14AM (#460563) Journal


      The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

      —one of the existing ones

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Sunday January 29 2017, @12:51AM

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Sunday January 29 2017, @12:51AM (#459995)

    ALL cops should need a warrant - just because you carry a BIG badge doesn't make you exempt from the Constitution.

    Україна досі не є частиною Росії. Слава Україні 🌻
    • (Score: 2) by frojack on Sunday January 29 2017, @12:56AM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Sunday January 29 2017, @12:56AM (#459998) Journal

      Also its amazing just how prevalent "exigent circumstances" seem to be.

      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 29 2017, @12:59AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 29 2017, @12:59AM (#460002)

      You have a kilo of coke sitting on your front seat where they can see they will arrest you. The search is considered reasonable.

      You have a kilo of coke sitting in your trunk where they can not see they will arrest you without a warrant. The search is only considered reasonable if you let them do it or they get a warrant.

      Now cops will use ways to get around the second rule.

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 29 2017, @12:53AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 29 2017, @12:53AM (#459996)

    There are a few narrow exceptions, such as exigent circumstances.

    These days, everything is an exigent circumstance: "he pulled a gun", "I smelled pot", "he was black", "his name sounds muslim", "I felt like destroying something"... cry me a river...

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Snotnose on Sunday January 29 2017, @02:54AM

    by Snotnose (1623) on Sunday January 29 2017, @02:54AM (#460075)

    Biggest problem with stingray is it casts a very wide net, capturing info from everyone in the area. IMHO, if stingray gets info from even a single number they don't have a warrant for, the entire catch is thrown out. Even better, notify those people who got caught up in it without a warrant and let them file a civil suit against the department for anything my ambulance chasing lawyer can think of.

    Fuck the LEOs, they know the law. They need to learn to follow it.

    Why is tamales pronounced tamales but females is pronounced females instead of females?