Judge Rejects 'Stingray' Tracking Evidence Gathered Without A Warrant

For the first time, a federal judge rejected evidence gathered from a "stingray" cellphone-tracking device. It's a win for privacy advocates.
Judge Rejects 'Stingray' Tracking Evidence Gathered Without A Warrant

A federal judge has ruled the Drug Enforcement Administration's use of a stingray to gather evidence in a drug case violated one man's Fourth Amendment rights.

A stingray is an electronic device that acts like a cellphone tower. By forcing nearby phones to connect to it instead of an actual tower, a stingray can collect phone numbers, location data, ingoing and outgoing calls and more.

In this particular case, the DEA used a stingray to find the location of a man's phone, which then led to the seizure of a kilogram of cocaine.

In his ruling, the judge wrote that without a warrant, "The Government may not turn a citizen’s cell phone into a tracking device." So all that cocaine the DEA wanted to use in the case will now be suppressed as evidence.

Using a stingray to get evidence has been a controversial tactic for a while. So controversial, in fact, that the Justice Department actually began stricter, more privacy-friendly data policies in September — one week after the man in this case was charged.

This video includes images from the Drug Enforcement AdministrationHarris Corporation and tanjila ahmed / cc by 2.0.

Featured Stories
Vice President Mike Pence

Mike Pence Calls On Conservatives To Mobilize In CPAC Speech

Producer Nicole Amarteifio smiling at her Ghana studio

Meet The Woman Who's Been Called The 'Issa Rae Of West Africa'

Prison inmates sit at tables

Private Prisons Will Make A Comeback In The Trump Administration

Want to see more stories like this?
Like Newsy on Facebook for More Privacy Coverage