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New bill may force TPD to get warrants before tracking cell phones

Posted at 7:33 AM, Feb 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-06 09:33:40-05
The StingRay is a device that allows police to track and collect data from suspected criminals' cell phones, but Senate Bill 1342 is working to make sure police have a warrant before they track anyone, which they did not have to do previously.
 
The StingRay is a portable device acting as a "cell tower," and it forces certain phones to send a signal revealing the phone's location.
 
The Arizona Attorney General says this will increase transparency by the police department, but the American Civil Liberties Union is fighting the Senate Bill on the argument that the device may be able to collect more data than just a phone's location and collect data from your phone if you're located nearby.
 
The ACLU agrees that requiring warrants will increase police transparency, but there's a lot the group claims the government is not revealing about the device.
 
Yet, a judge ruled police did not have to reveal exactly what the device tracks in an effort to preserve investigations.
 
The ACLU has claimed the StingRay can:
  • collect data other than a phone's location,
  • collect data from all phones in the area--not just the suspected criminal's phone,
  • keep data unnecessary to the investigation. That data does not have to be deleted--it's up to a judge whether or not any data from other phones is stored.
This bill will go to the senate judiciary committee February 9th for further review.