• US Department of Justice Changes Stance on Secret Phone Tracking

    According to the US Department of Justice, the use of controversial cellphone tracking devices, typically known as “stingrays,” must be more closely monitored. As a result of this decision, the DoJ will be launching an extensive internal review program while publicly revealing more details about each of the secret programs that surface as part of the investigation. The folks over at The Wall Street Journal are stating that the review will result in the implementation of new guidelines for the use of these devices by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the US Marshals and even the FBI. Officials will also be required to explain why and how the secretive boxes are being used, although it hasn’t been made clear how detailed the reports have to be.

    One of the law enforcement officials told the publication the following regarding the matter:

    We know it's got to come out. At some point, it becomes more harmful to try to keep it secret than to acknowledge it. We just want to acknowledge it carefully and slowly, so we don't lose what is a very effective tool.
    As it stands right now, each agency has their own set of rules and procedures for deploying the stingrays, including whether an operation requires a warrant and whether the access is prohibited from describing the devices’ technical capabilities.

    For those of you who didn’t know, the stingray devices mask themselves as cell towers, scanning mobile phones as they attempt to connect. Their widespread usage has been angering many privacy advocates who continue to argue that the boxes facilitate illegal mass surveillance, especially since they tend to be used without a warrant more often than not. In addition to the legal and privacy concerns, stingrays can affect the operation of mobile networks. Though non-target devices tend to be “let go” rather quickly or told to search for another tower, the FBI recently acknowledged that it can cause interference over a large area.

    The DoJ’s recent decision should help provide a bit more insight into the whole situation and hopefully help regulate the device’s usage.

    Source: The Wall Street Journal
    This article was originally published in forum thread: US Department of Justice Changes Stance on Secret Phone Tracking started by Akshay Masand View original post
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