I’ve written about this in an earlier post and, since then, so-called “Stingray” technology has gone viral throughout police departments across the nation. The technology allows police officers to actually scan cell phone data in a target region. It does this by tricking cell phones into thinking that it is a cell tower and causing them to connect to it while they pass through the targeted area.
Police will tell you that the device can only obtain “meta data” such as numbers dialed, location, etc., but the technology fully supports the ability to actively monitor voice conversations and text message content. Government representatives insist that they are limiting their usage to avoid violating the law, but given the government’s track record on eavesdropping, who really believes that? Apparently not the Superior Court judges in Pierce County, Washington where, after reading news reports about the device, issued strict requirements to local police who intend to use the device. These judges understand the huge potential for abuse that is probably happening as we speak and they’ve taken action to get the police community to commit to what they are stating publicly regarding their usage of this technology.
I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it. We live in a police state in a post-privacy world. Our “reasonable expectation of privacy” has been replaced by the “reasonable expectation of criminality” held by police who see crime anywhere they look. With this kind of technology, they don’t have to look far anymore. They can hear anything you say, read anything you text, whether you are a suspect or not. If you happen to be near one of these devices installed in a police car some time, say hi and offer to go buy them some donuts.
Read about the Pierce County, Washington decision here.