Once that happens, police can pinpoint the whereabouts of any specific cell phone that’s communicating with Stingray. So, if police are trying to find someone and they have an idea of the person’s location and they’ve pulled the person’s cell phone records, they can set up Stingray, watch for the person’s cell phone number to connect… and they go right to the person.
Police departments don’t use warrants for this kind of tracking.
They’ve been working hard to keep Stingray technology a secret. Even dropping cases rather than reveal how they caught their man.
But now it’s come into the light as privacy groups dispute the arrest of man tracked down using Stingray. The case is happening right now in Washington D.C. And it will help to set precedent for future cases involved Stingray or other devices like it.
Here’s the thing. I have no doubt police can do good with this kind of technology. They can catch bad guys and make the streets that much safer.
But what if they abuse it? What if they start searching for people who are protesting the government so that they can harass them? Or what if a police officer has an interest in a woman he met in a bar and uses this to track her down? That’s not as outlandish as you might think… the misappropriation of resources for personal reasons happens all the time.
Most cops would never do that. But some will. And imagine if it’s one of your loved ones that’s being harassed or followed or intimidated.
Bottom line… this is a scary technology being used to violate the privacy of bad guys. History shows it won’t be long before it’s used to violate the privacy of just about anyone. Read more about Stingray, here.