Is the use of StingRay Technology gone too far?
Los Angeles, New York City, Las Vegas, and Chicago are amongst scores of departments of police all over the nation silently employing an extremely mysterious technology designed for the armed forces. This tech can trace the location of suspects by utilizing the signals continually given out by their handsets.
Privacy groups and civil liberties are more and more lifting objections to the suitcase-sized gadget dubbed as cell site simulators or StingRays that can pick up handset information from a whole area by imitating cell towers. Cops can establish the position of a handset without the user even sending a text message or making a call. Some variants of the tech can even intercept calls and texts, or pull data amassed on the handsets.
Part of the issue, privacy analysts claim, is the gadgets can also gather information from anybody within a tiny radius of the individual being traced. And cops goes to great lengths to cover up usage, in some situations, providing appeal agreements more willingly than revealing data on the StingRay.
“We cannot even tell how regularly they are being employed,” claimed Jerome Greco, attorney of the Legal Aid Society to the media in an interview. The Legal Aid Society lately accomplished in jamming evidence gathered with the gadget in a murder case in New York City. “It makes it very hard,” he continued.
Minimum 72 local and state departments of police in 13 federal agencies plus 24 states employ the gadgets, but further data is difficult to come by since the departments that employ them should take the abnormal measure of inking nondisclosure contracts supervised by the FBI.
A spokesperson of FBI claimed that the contracts, which frequently involve a defense contractor that develops the gadgets, Harris Corporation, are anticipated to avoid the roll out of sensitive information of cops to the common public. But the contracts do not avoid a cop from informing prosecutors that the tech was employed in a case.
In New York, employment of the tech was almost unknown to the people until 2016 when the New York Civil Liberties Union obligated the revelation of records showcasing that the NYPD employed the gadgets over 1,000 times ever since 2008. That comprised cases in which the tech assisted catch suspects in rapes, kidnappings, assaults, robberies, and murders. It has even assisted hunting down missing individuals.
But privacy analysts claim that such gains arrive at an extremely huge price.