Yesterday, March 6, 2014, Arizona news reporter, Beau Hodai, sued the Tuscon Police Department to obtain records on their cell phone surveillance on him utilizing a technology called 'Stingray'. Hodai had previously made public records requests from the department however they would came back fully redacted.
In what is developing into another government breach of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, a technology sold by Melbourne, Florida Harris Corp. called 'Stingray' is causing judges and privacy advocates concern. In fact, it is coming to light, obtaining warrants utilizing the technology to find suspects has been ignored thousands of times in Florida. In just one police department in Tallahassee it was revealed in court they had used the technology 200 times without a warrant. The $75,000 device is estimated to be in use in at least 30 other Florida law enforcement agencies.
The technology has the ability for anyone with the device to mimic as a cell phone tower to locate a particular person's cellular telephone even if there is no call in progress. The technology could be a lifesaver in the case of an abduction or it could be wasted going after someone who has committed a victimless 'crime'. It could also be used by a disgruntled law enforcement officer in locating an estranged spouse.
The technology first came to light in 2008 however was fully exposed in a 2011 Wall Street Journal article whereas a man was suspected of fraud for filing nearly 2,000 false federal tax returns. The only problem in that case was the technology used to find the suspect was never mentioned in a warrant by the FBI.