A Guide to Stingray Cellphone Surveillance Technology
By Derrick Broze -
What exactly is a “Stingray”? How is it being used to track you? Find out more about this cellphone surveillance technology.
Local police departments and federal agencies around the United States have been making use of cellphone tracking tools for years without warrants. This has been happening since before whistleblower Edward Snowden released his documents to The Guardian and exposed the massive surveillance state that exists around the globe. One of these tools is popularly known as a “Stingray”.
According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation:
The Stingray is a brand name of an IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity) catcher targeted and sold to law enforcement. A Stingray works by masquerading as a cell phone tower—to which your mobile phone sends signals to every 7 to 15 seconds whether you are on a call or not— and tricks your phone into connecting to it.
As a result, the government can figure out who, when and to where you are calling, the precise location of every device within the range, and with some devices, even capture the content of your conversations.
Police officers can use the devices to track your cellphones signal. Once the signal is located the stingray can provide a general location on the map and police officers can drive around (or in one case, walk door to door) until they get a signal from your phone. This has civil liberties advocates up in arms over the potential for misuse of the tools.