Huge Win for Privacy: Court Bans Use of This Crazy Spy Tool Without a Warrant

Come back with a warrant! That’s what the D.C. Court of Appeals told law enforcement last month, when it ruled that the use of cell site simulators without a warrant violates Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights. While there are still problems with the way these devices are used, this ruling is a huge win for due process and privacy rights.

Cell site simulators are devices that replicate cell towers and trick phones into sharing location and data with them, allowing law enforcement to track a suspect’s every move. With some of the more advanced cell site simulators---ostensibly banned in the US---police can even listen in on conversations.

Police in New York City have used the tool without a warrant more than 1,000 times since 2008.

The Stingray, the most popular brand of the cell site simulator, was originally created by the defense contractor Harris Corporation to deal with military and terror investigations. Sadly, since that time, the device has been deployed predominantly in domestic policing. It has been used in a variety of non-military and non-terror investigations, including hunting down a suspect who stole $60 worth of food, and the deportation of a non-violent illegal immigrant. Police in New York City have used the tool without a warrant more than 1,000 times since 2008.

While some privacy protections previously existed, they were very weak. In 2015, the Justice Department issued a ruling directing agencies to obtain a warrant before using any cell site simulators. However, that ruling is not binding for state and local police departments, who have routinely ignored the order.

In the case heard by the D.C. Court of Appeals, Prince Jones was accused of assaulting and robbing two different women he met online in 2013. When Jones allegedly robbed each woman, he also took their phones. Police then used the Stingray to track down the women’s phones, leading them to Jones. Because they failed to obtain a warrant before doing so, all charges against Jones have since been dropped. Police did a disservice to the victims in this case by failing to respect due process and obtain a warrant. If law enforcement had gone through the proper legal channels, the charges against Jones would have likely been upheld.

You could argue the use of the Stingray to track down Jones was justified because of the appalling nature of his crimes, but the Stingray is not foolproof. If Jones were to have pawned off the women’s phones after he stole them, tracking the phones could have easily led police to the whereabouts of an innocent person who played no role in Jones’ actions.

When the Stingray is deployed, it scoops up location data from all nearby cell phones.

Even in instances where police obtain a warrant for the use of a Stingray, there are still huge concerns, particularly the potential for dragnet collection of location data not relevant to the investigation. When the Stingray is deployed, it scoops up location data from all nearby cell phones, putting innocent people’s privacy rights at risk.

While federal law enforcement has promised the device isn’t used to collect the actual data of phone calls, texts or anything else, the device has those capabilities. And even if officials are following through on their promise to only collect metadata, that in and of itself is incredibly intrusive. Metadata can paint a picture of who you call, when you call them, and how long your conversation is, revealing intimate details of who you choose to interact with. So while requiring a warrant is certainly a step in the right direction, any time the Stingray is used there will be collateral damage.

Victory for privacy rights.

In the digital era, law enforcement has a whole host of tools at its disposal, but the Stingray should not be one of them. Requiring police to get a warrant before using this device is a certainly a victory for privacy rights, but ideally, police should not be able to deploy the device domestically. After all, it’s meant to hunt terrorists and enemy agents, not burglars and muggers.

Dan King is an advocate for Young Voices and a journalist residing in Arlington, Virginia. He writes about free speech, mass surveillance, civil liberties and LGBT issues. He can be found on Twitter @Kinger_Liberty.

MORE FROM YOUNG VOICES

Blaze TV hosts Glenn Beck , Chad Prather, and Steven Crowder weighed-in with similar but different thoughts on the fascism associated with canceling Dr. Seuss.

Glenn Beck can't help but wonder, "What is wrong with us?" in light of the Dr. Seuss books that have been cancelled due to "hurtful and wrong" illustrations — that takes America one step closer to complete insanity.

Chad Prather approached the issue from a comedic perspective, stating that "Dr. Seuss is dead and could not be reached for comment."

Steven Crowder explained that Dr. Seuss books were banned for being offensive and insensitive to some. So Steven decided to parody the six banned children's books with progressively titled and hilariously inappropriate versions.

Read the full story from TheBlaze News here.

'We DON'T destroy books'

"They are banning Dr. Seuss books. How much more do you need to see before all of America wakes up? ... This is fascism!" Glenn said. "We don't destroy books. What is wrong with us, America?" - Glenn Beck. Download the podcast here.

Chad Prather's comedic take on why Dr. Seuss got canceled

"Dr. Seuss is dead and could not be reached for comment'"- Chad Prather. Download the podcast here.

Dr. Seuss BANNING Bonanza! New Progressive Book Titles Revealed! 

In this 7+1 segment-- Crowder uncovers, new, unreleased Dr. Seuss titles that will be released in the near future (parody). Download the podcast here.

Use promo code BLAZE to save $10 on one year of BlazeTV.

Want more from BlazeTV?

To enjoy more Glenn, Chad, and Steven subscribe to BlazeTV - News & entertainment for people who love America.

"What's your climate credit score?" That's a question Americans may have to answer if the green global elites get their way.

While the media has distracted us with Orange Man Bad! and Russia, Russia, Russia!, the Left has been busy working on the fundamental transformation of America with a primary pressure point — YOUR money through YOUR bank. Democrats, forgetting the words of MLK, like to group people into categories. They judge you based on what skin color you have, your religion, occupation, your ideology, and now … your carbon footprint.

On his Wednesday night TV special this week, Glenn Beck exposes how they're now planning, not only to categorize you, but to give you a score. It'll determine everything for you: whether you can buy a home, get a new car, open a business … EVERYTHING. And if you don't bend the knee? You'll be blacklisted. But this isn't some far-off conspiracy theory. Multiple big U.S. banks are part of a private U.S. financial group enacting these policies now. It's here, and we're ALL at risk.

Watch the full episode below:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

Unlike the mainstream media, we at the "Glenn Beck Radio Program" decided to actually do the research and get to the bottom of CPAC's controversial stage design, which many on the Left have suggested was purposefully shaped like an obscure Nazi symbol. We got our answers straight from the source — and it's not what the media is suggesting.

American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp joined Glenn on Wednesday to share the real story of the stage design, who designed it, and why he's taking legal options against those smearing the Conservative Political Action Conference's name seriously.

Matt told Glenn he'd never heard of the alleged Nazi insignia, noting that even a staff member who "studied anti-Semitism in college" did not recognize the obscure symbol. He went on to explain how the stage designing firm, Design Foundry, and Hyatt Hotels worked collaboratively with CPAC event organizers for months throughout the designing and construction of the stage. However, when pressured by the cancel culture mob on social media, both companies "ran for the tall grass."

"Both the Hyatt and [Design Foundry] looked to CPAC and said [they] had nothing to do with this stage. That's outrageous," Matt stated. "This whole process takes months ... everybody saw this. Everybody had to figure out how to construct this. Everybody had eyes on it from every angle. And nobody in that process ever raised their hand and said, 'Oh, you know, I took a European history class, and I noticed [that the stage design looked like a Nazi symbol.] Nobody."

Matt went on to add that, while CPAC expects attacks from the Left, they also have every intention of standing up for themselves, the conservative community, the Jewish community, and all the people who love America.

"We're fine with taking the hits. We always take the hits, it's part of being a prominent conservative group. We'll take the hits, but we won't let people lie," Matt said.

"I can't tell you how many people have called me during the course of this most tumultuous of years and said, at what point does the conservative community, do the 74 million Americans who voted for Donald Trump, do the people who love America, and think it's okay to read Dr. Seuss, and love Thomas Jefferson and Mount Rushmore, at what point do they start pushing back on the cancel culture? At what point do they say, this is a line you can't cross? I think we're at that line," he added.

"We called our conference, 'America Uncanceled.' The whole thing became about them canceling us. At what point do we not have the right to say,' you can't treat us this way'? You're disparaging us. You're destroying our reputation. You're destroying our ability to be respected members of our community. So, I'm taking your challenge of pursuing our legal options very seriously. And I think we have to go broader. We can't let these companies just follow the woke mob. We can't do it."

Watch the video clip below to catch more of the conversation:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

CNN reporter Jim Acosta was confronted at CPAC by The Federalist reporter David Marcus with a valid question: "When are you guys going to start covering Cuomo?" His answer — or, really, lack of an answer — perfectly demonstrates why he was earlier surrounded by CPAC attendees chanting, "CNN sucks!"

On the "Glenn Beck Radio Program" Tuesday, Glenn and producer Stu Burguiere react to a video clip of the exchange with Acosta, as well as the mainstream media's double standards when it comes to Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Watch the video below:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.