Home GRASP GRASP/Japan Arizona Committee Passes Bill To Prohibit Warrantless Stingray Spying

Arizona Committee Passes Bill To Prohibit Warrantless Stingray Spying


The feds can engage in spying activity at the state and local level through a system known as the “information sharing environment” or ISE.
By Michael Maharrey
An Arizona bill that would ban the use of “stingrays” to track the location of phones and sweep up electronic communications without a warrant in most situations unanimously passed an important Senate committee yesterday. The proposed law would not only protect privacy in Arizona, but would also hinder one aspect of the federal surveillance state.
Sen. Bob Worsley (R-Mesa) introduced Senate bill 1342 ( SB1342 ) on Jan. 31. The legislation would help block the use of cell site simulators, known as “stingrays.” These devices essentially spoof cell phone towers, tricking any device within range into connecting to the stingray instead of the tower, allowing law enforcement to sweep up communications content, as well as locate and track the person in possession of a specific phone or other electronic device.
SB1342 would require police to get a search warrant based on probable cause before deploying a stingray to locate or track an electronic device. It would also require law enforcement agencies to obtain a warrant under existing wiretapping statutes before using a stingray to intercept, obtain or access the content of any stored oral, wire or electronic communication.
The Senate Judiciary Committee passed SB1342 7-0.
The federal government funds the vast majority of state and local stingray programs, attaching one important condition. The feds require agencies acquiring the technology to sign non-disclosure agreements. This throws a giant shroud over the program, even preventing judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys from getting information about the use of stingrays in court. The feds actually instruct prosecutors to withdraw evidence if judges or legislators press for information. As the Baltimore Sun reported in April 2015, a Baltimore detective refused to answer questions on the stand during a trial, citing a federal non-disclosure agreement.

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