Stingrays are designed to locate a mobile phone even when it's not being
used to make a call. The Federal Bureau of Investigation considers the
devices to be so critical that it has a policy of deleting the data
gathered in their use, mainly to keep suspects in the dark about their
capabilities, an FBI official told The Wall Street Journal in response
Stingrays are one of several new technologies used by law enforcement
to track people's locations, often without a search warrant. These
techniques are driving a constitutional debate about whether the Fourth
Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, but which
was written before the digital age, is keeping pace with the times.
On Nov. 8, the Supreme Court will hear
arguments over whether or not police need a warrant before secretly
installing a GPS device on a suspect's car and tracking him for an
extended period. In both the Senate and House, new bills would require a
warrant before tracking a cellphone's location.