One of the largest civil liberties groups in the U.S. is suing two Homeland Security agencies for failing to turn over documents it requested as part of a public records request about a controversial cell phone surveillance technology.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit against Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in federal court on Wednesday after the organization claimed the agencies “failed to produce records” relating to cell site simulators — or “stingrays.”
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In October 2019, Univision reported that an ICE deportation officer used a Stingray — a surveillance device that secretly mimics a cell-phone tower — to track down an immigrant suspected of “unlawful reentry” into the country. Little is publicly known about the use of Stingrays in ICE and CBP immigration enforcement operations, but we know they’ve used the technology repeatedly.
Stingrays, also known as cell-site simulators, track and locate cell phones — and the people using them. Pinging away as they are carted around in unmarked vehicles by law enforcement agencies, these devices ensnare not only a suspect’s cell phone, but innocent bystanders’ phones as well.
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