DHS Says It Found Stingrays Used for Spying In Washington
The Department of Homeland Security today said it has encountered cell site simulators being used in Washington, D.C., in what appears to be an effort to spy on Americans. The agency acknowledged the use of Stingrays, though it didn't say what type of devices they were, who was using them, how many were detected, nor where the devices were being put to use. Law enforcement agencies have long used Stingrays in an effort to track criminals. They work by tricking cell phones into connecting to the Stingray rather than nearby cell towers. Once connected, the Stingray can track location, calls, messages, and other data. The FCC formed a task force in 2014 to explore the use of Stingrays by spies, but it never produced a report or any concrete conclusions. According to the Associated Press, most foreign embassies in Washington have cell tower simulators in order to track those who approach the embassies. They have "free reign" because embassies exist on sovereign soil. Locating and shutting down rogue Stingrays would require a lot of funding and help from the FCC and carriers. The DHS hasn't said if it intends to do anything about the issue.
Dec 20, 2016
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, a bipartisan panel, this week recommended that the federal government pass rules to manage the use stingrays and other cell-site simulating devices. The panel said in a report that law enforcement agencies have varying and inconsistent rules for the use of such devices.
Oct 6, 2016
A number of senators have asked the FCC to look into law enforcement's use of stingrays to see if the tool puts the public at risk, and also to see if stingrays unfairly target minority groups. Stingrays masquerade as cell towers in order to collect location and other data from phones in a given area.
Nov 17, 2017
Moving forward, New York law enforcement agencies will need to go before a judge and obtain an eavesdropping warrant if they wish to use stingrays to track suspects' cellphones. Stingrays spoof cell towers and fool cell phones into connecting with them.
Mar 15, 2018
The CLOUD Act would give law enforcement both at home and abroad new access to Americans' personal data in violation of the Fourth Amendment, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The CLOUD Act (H.R.
Sep 13, 2017
The American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation have sued the Department of Homeland Security for searching American citizens' smartphones at the border without a warrant. Specifically, the groups say the Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agencies have delayed citizens' entry into the country lest they give up smartphone passwords.