Florida in national spotlight for secretly using controversial tracking ‘stingrays’

Local law enforcement agencies in Florida are coming under fire for using tracking devices for routine crimes.

The American Civil Liberties Union obtained documents by court order that detailed the use of “controversial surveillance technology by local police departments for routine crimes is far more widespread than previously reported,” Catherine Herridge of Fox News said on “Happening Now” Monday.

“Some local jurisdictions are now accused of concealing their use of ‘stingray’ technology,” she said. “This is technology that acts like a cell site simulator and is considered an invasive surveillance device. It mimics a cell phone tower transmitting a signal that fools your phone into transmitting location and other identifying information.”

According to the ACLU, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement used the technology more than 1,800 times.

Herridge said the Tallahassee Police Department used the “stingray” deceives more than 250 times in seven years “strongly suggesting the technology was not limited to federal investigations.”

“While the equipment is purchased with a homeland security mission in mind,” she said. “It’s more commonly used for crimes such as burglary and theft.”

According to Herridge at least 20 states are using “stingray” technology.


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