Law enforcement officials have used cell phone tracking devices to track down suspects in criminal investigations. However, they are now using these devices to track down illegal immigrants as part of President Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigrants.
Nathan Wessler, staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, said:
“While the warrant does ensure a modicum of judicial oversight, it is troubling to see the government using invasive surveillance technology on the streets of America to grease the wheels of the Trump administration’s deportation machine. This is the first warrant I have seen specifically showing ICE’s use of a cell-site simulator in an immigration enforcement operation.”
The devices, known as Hailstorm or Stingray, are connected to cell phones and can collect data from them. They can collect things such as the phone numbers of incoming and outgoing calls. They can even freeze the cell service in a certain neighborhood. They could potentially be used to collect emails, texts, images, or contacts during an investigation.
This story didn’t get as much attention as it should. In 2015, the Justice Department changed its policy to require federal agencies to get warrants to use these devices. The policy also says Stingrays can’t be used to collect emails, texts, images, or contacts. However, state and local agencies can still use these devices.
Featured image via Twitter.