The StingRay Is The Virtually Unknown Device the Government Uses to Track You Through Your Phone

Illustration for article titled The StingRay Is The Virtually Unknown Device the Government Uses to Track You Through Your Phone

There's a battle going on in the U.S. judicial system over how much freedom the government should have in tracking us. At the center of this debate lies a device called the StingRay.


According to the Wall Street Journal, the StingRay is a tracking device which is used to locate and follow anyone based on their cellphone signal.

A stingray works by mimicking a cellphone tower, getting a phone to connect to it and measuring signals from the phone. It lets the stingray operator "ping," or send a signal to, a phone and locate it as long as it is powered on, according to documents reviewed by the Journal. The device has various uses, including helping police locate suspects and aiding search-and-rescue teams in finding people lost in remote areas.


The device was most recently used to arrest a hacker by the name of Daniel David Rigmaiden, who is now demanding to see what data the machine collected (and how it collected it). to use for his defense. Harris, who only sells their tracking products to federal agencies, are ghosts on the internet. Apparently law enforcement clears out their data logs in an attempt to keep the technologies inner workings a secret (few know how it does what it does).

Privacy laws, such as banning cellphone searches without a warrant, are being passed in state congress halls across the country. But little has been said about the dark art of tracking and surveillance. And not to say that this practice isn't sometimes justified, but if we're going to be subject to such draconian maneuvers without our knowing, we should at least know how it's being done, right? [WSJ]

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I'm smart enough to not own a cellphone, so I don't have to even think about worrying about something like this. Yay!