Enter the FBI’s ‘Stingray’ Phone Tracker, Able to Locate Cell Phones Even When Not In Use

StingrayJennifer Valentino-Devries reports in the Wall Street Journal:

For more than a year, federal authorities pursued a man they called simply “the Hacker.” Only after using a little known cellphone-tracking device — a stingray — were they able to zero in on a California home and make the arrest.

Stingrays are designed to locate a mobile phone even when it’s not being used to make a call. The Federal Bureau of Investigation considers the devices to be so critical that it has a policy of deleting the data gathered in their use, mainly to keep suspects in the dark about their capabilities, an FBI official told the Wall Street Journal in response to inquiries.

A stingray’s role in nabbing the alleged “Hacker” — Daniel David Rigmaiden — is shaping up as a possible test of the legal standards for using these devices in investigations. The FBI says it obtains appropriate court approval to use the device.

Stingrays are one of several new technologies used by law enforcement to track people’s locations, often without a search warrant. These techniques are driving a constitutional debate about whether the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, but which was written before the digital age, is keeping pace with the times.

Read more: Wall Street Journal

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  • http://twitter.com/jasonpaulhayes jasonpaulhayes

    Rumpelt Murdoch is going to love that !

  • jasonpaulhayes

    Rumpelt Murdoch is going to love that !

  • ArgosyJones

    If only they had one of these for spam emails.

  • ArgosyJones

    If only they had one of these for spam emails.

  • Wanooski

    Again, Big Brother approves.

  • Anarchy Pony

    Again, Big Brother approves.

  • Elmyr23

    they can just ask the phone service for access, theres no secert method. The matter isn’t settled in the supreme court yet.

  • Elmyr23

    they can just ask the phone service for access, theres no secert method. The matter isn’t settled in the supreme court yet.

  • Elmyr23

    privacy isn’t a freedom it’s a liberty

  • Elmyr23

    privacy isn’t a freedom it’s a liberty

    • Redacted

      So says the Fascist. I prefer Stalinism, where privacy is a joke.

  • Anonymous

    So says the Fascist. I prefer Stalinism, where privacy is a joke.

  • Anonymous

    So says the Fascist. I prefer Stalinism, where privacy is a joke.

  • Okarin

    the iphone’s unmarketed gps device will make this obsolete

  • Okarin

    the iphone’s unmarketed gps device will make this obsolete

  • SAngel

    When you are hiking in the Sangre de Cristo’s and you fall, break a leg and wonder what the hell to do, just remember:  That little cell phone is a powerful radio transmitter.  With a simple phone call and a request for a ping, the commited and caring members of the local Volunteer Search and Rescue team can lock onto your position and come scrape you out of whatever situation you might find yourself in.

    Just keep in mind, the Force has polarity.  Great tech. is often used to save lives and free people to whatever ends they desire.

  • SAngel

    When you are hiking in the Sangre de Cristo’s and you fall, break a leg and wonder what the hell to do, just remember:  That little cell phone is a powerful radio transmitter.  With a simple phone call and a request for a ping, the commited and caring members of the local Volunteer Search and Rescue team can lock onto your position and come scrape you out of whatever situation you might find yourself in.

    Just keep in mind, the Force has polarity.  Great tech. is often used to save lives and free people to whatever ends they desire.

  • Hadrian999

    this guy wasn’t much of a hacker or criminal of any kind if he used the same cell for any length of time

  • Hadrian999

    this guy wasn’t much of a hacker or criminal of any kind if he used the same cell for any length of time

  • Skateboard

    The police can ask the cell phone carrier to “ping” your phone to fix your location. Your cell phone intermittently sends signals to the cell towers so the system knows your approximate location, whether you’re using it or not. That’s why Bin Laden’s courier pulled his cell phone battery whenever he was in or within a certain distance of the compound near Abbotisbad.

  • Skateboard

    The police can ask the cell phone carrier to “ping” your phone to fix your location. Your cell phone intermittently sends signals to the cell towers so the system knows your approximate location, whether you’re using it or not. That’s why Bin Laden’s courier pulled his cell phone battery whenever he was in or within a certain distance of the compound near Abbotisbad.

  • Skateboard

    The police can ask the cell phone carrier to “ping” your phone to fix your location. Your cell phone intermittently sends signals to the cell towers so the system knows your approximate location, whether you’re using it or not. That’s why Bin Laden’s courier pulled his cell phone battery whenever he was in or within a certain distance of the compound near Abbotisbad.

  • Skateboard

    The police can ask the cell phone carrier to “ping” your phone to fix your location. Your cell phone intermittently sends signals to the cell towers so the system knows your approximate location, whether you’re using it or not. That’s why Bin Laden’s courier pulled his cell phone battery whenever he was in or within a certain distance of the compound near Abbotisbad.

  • Shaun Costello

    First time ever – the Shaun Costello Blog “Sampler” on Stumbleupon…. Crazed Lubavitchers, Nuns swinging yardsticks, Dick Cheney’s secrets revealed, Republican witchcraft ‘sing-a-longs’, Incredible movie reviews, Top Ten Lists, It’s all there: Sample the ‘sampler’ – You’ll never be the same again:
    http://www.stumbleupon.com/favorites/

  • Shaun Costello

    First time ever – the Shaun Costello Blog “Sampler” on Stumbleupon…. Crazed Lubavitchers, Nuns swinging yardsticks, Dick Cheney’s secrets revealed, Republican witchcraft ‘sing-a-longs’, Incredible movie reviews, Top Ten Lists, It’s all there: Sample the ‘sampler’ – You’ll never be the same again:
    http://www.stumbleupon.com/favorites/

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