Stricter Requirements on “Stingray” Use by Police

Police in Pierce County, Washington have long been using authorized pen registers as a legal basis for using a cell-site simulator known as a Stingray, unbeknownst to the judges authorizing those pen registers. Rather than using the registers to require cellphone companies to turn over an individual’s phone records, police are using the Stingray to collect that information themselves. However, one concern related to the use of the Stringray is that it picks up more than the target’s information. In tracking a suspect’s cellphone, it also picks up cellphone data from innocent third parties who happen to be nearby. Since information about the use of the Stingray came to light, judges in Pierce County have changed the way things are done, now requiring police to ask for specific permission to use the Stingray. For more information, see the full story in The News Tribune (http://www.thenewstribune.com/2014/11/15/3488642_tacoma-police-change-how-they.html?sp=/99/289/&rh=1).

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