Tags: NSA/Surveillance | marshals | cellphone | surveillance | tracking

US Marshals Use Powerful Cellphone Surveillance Tools to Track Suspects

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By    |   Tuesday, 23 Feb 2016 04:03 PM

Federal marshals have used invasive cellphone surveillance devices to track down 6,000 suspects in the United States – the most prolific use of the so-called stingray of any other law enforcement agency, USA Today reports. 

The U.S. Marshals Service even bills itself as the country's most prolific user of powerful phone-tracking devices that intercept cellphone signals, newly disclosed records show, USA Today reported.


A U.S. Marshals Service surveillance log reviewed by USA Today lists 5,975 cases in which the agency used stingrays – a suitcase-sized device that can pinpoint a cellphone location by posing as a cell tower.

The agency wouldn't disclose what time period the log covered, where suspects were arrested or who the suspects were, the newspaper reports.

Because the stingrays also intercept information about other cellphones that happen to be nearby, its use has raised concerns among privacy advocates and some lawmakers, USA Today reports.

"Just that sheer number is significant," American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Nathan Wessler tells USA Today. "That’s a lot of deployments of a very invasive surveillance tool."

According to USA Today, the federal marshal's use of stingrays outstrips that of the New York Police Department, which has revealed it used cell-tracking devices about 1,000 times since 2008; the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which has said it used one about 1,800 times; and Baltimore’s police force, which used the tracking device 4,300 times.

The Justice Department told federal agents last year to get a search warrant before using a stingray, noting an exception for agents trying to prevent the escape of a suspect. 

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Federal marshals have used invasive cellphone surveillance devices to track down 6,000 suspects in the United States – the most prolific use of the so-called stingray of any other law enforcement agency, USA Today reports.
marshals, cellphone, surveillance, tracking
261
2016-03-23
Tuesday, 23 Feb 2016 04:03 PM
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