Tags: jason chaffetz | congress | new | rules | phone tracking | technology

Chaffetz: Congress Wants New Rules on Phone Tracking Technology

Fox News' "Fox & Friends"

By    |   Wednesday, 21 Dec 2016 12:09 PM

Congress is planning to push for new rules on the government's tracking of cell phones, according to House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, in an appearance Wednesday on Fox News' "Fox & Friends."

Host Steve Doocy said that the federal government can track cell phones "without anybody knowing about it" using a piece of equipment called a stingray.

Chaffetz pointed out how the government uses the equipment. "Up until we started this report, there were no standards, and I'm concerned because the federal government has more than 400 of these machines. Your mobile phone is constantly sending out a signal, looking for a tower so it can communicate with other phones. Well, they have simulators that will go and they can actually understand what your telephone number is, they can look at the contents. So your conversation, your text messaging, the machines, many of them are capable of doing this."

The chairman agrees that agencies with warrants should be allowed to track phones, but more agencies besides national law enforcement have them. "I just worry that you have agencies — everybody from the FBI to the U.S. Marshals, which I can understand, if they have a warrant, to use those. But the IRS? Why does the IRS have these machines and what are they doing with them? That's our concern."

Local law enforcement officials including Sunrise, Florida and Baltimore, Maryland have the stingrays, and they have no guidelines to govern their use. Chaffetz said he is proposing that anyone who uses the equipment must have a warrant to do so.

"I have a piece of legislation called the GPS Act. It basically says if you're going to track somebody's geolocation, that is, where they physically are, then you're going to need a warrant in order to do so," Chaffetz said in the interview. "Right now there is no standard. Law enforcement is using these. We just don't know if they're using them properly. We think they're overusing them," Chaffetz said.

The government has not been forthcoming with information about the equipment, Chaffetz said. "The government has done everything they can to be silent about this. It took us more than a year in this investigation to figure out the metrics of what's happening here,."

He added that he was concerned about what could happen if criminals gain access to the tracking equipment. "We're really worried that what happens when the bad guys, The Sinaloa cartel, the drug cartels, get this information. It literally can figure out every cell phone number of those in close proximity to that simulated cell phone tower."

Chaffetz said in the new administration, the oversight committee would be looking into multiple cases. "We're going to dive into a whole host of things. Our job is not to be a cheerleader for the president, but to actually hold the government accountable."

"With more than 2 million employees, a lot of good, hard-working patriotic people. But there's always somebody doing something stupid out there," Chaffetz said.

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Congress is planning to push for new rules on the government's tracking of cell phones, according to House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz, in an appearance Wednesday on Fox News' "Fox & Friends."
jason chaffetz, congress, new, rules, phone tracking, technology
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2016-09-21
Wednesday, 21 Dec 2016 12:09 PM
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