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FBI Says Search Warrants Not Needed to Spy on Cell Phone Calls In Public

Monday, January 5, 2015 | Tag Cloud Tags:

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Worthy News)-- The Federal Bureau of Investigation is taking the position that court warrants are not required when deploying cell-site simulators in public places. Nicknamed "stingrays," the devices are decoy cell towers that capture locations and identities of mobile phone users and can intercept calls and texts, Ars Technica reported.

The FBI made its position known during private briefings with staff members of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). In response, the two lawmakers wrote Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson, maintaining they were "concerned about whether the FBI and other law enforcement agencies have adequately considered the privacy interests" of Americans.

According to the letter, which was released last week:

For example, we understand that the FBI’s new policy requires FBI agents to obtain a search warrant whenever a cell-site simulator is used as part of a FBI investigation or operation, unless one of several exceptions apply, including (among others): (1) cases that pose an imminent danger to public safety, (2) cases that involve a fugitive, or (3) cases in which the technology is used in public places or other locations at which the FBI deems there is no reasonable expectation of privacy. --[wp_colorbox_media url="http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2015/01/fbi-says-search-warrants-not-needed-to-use-stringrays-in-public-places/" type="iframe" hyperlink="Source"]

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