Computer crime conceptThere has always been a debate about the police intruding on people’s privacy – one that has gone on for years, in fact. As of late, one of the biggest concerns in American lifestyles just happens to surround something known as the Stingray, which is a device that many people believe allows the government to “spy” on you. This device can be used by local police in California as well as many other states to keep an eye on American citizens by using sophisticated surveillance technology without a warrant.

But what is the Stingray? The Stingray is an advanced, portable gadget that is the size of a small box. It is also known as a “cell-site simulator,” which acts as a way to mimic a cellphone tower and force all nearby mobile phones or devices to connect to it. If your phone were to connect to a Stingray, its number, GPS location, as well as numbers of all outgoing calls and texts would be connected to it as well. This technology can collect this information within a certain radius, specifically up to several kilometers. Remember that all of this takes place without a warrant. Do you think this is spying or enhanced technology to catch criminal acts? If the police are looking for a specific number for a criminal, they can use this as a reasonable cause to track somebody down and enter your home to arrest you if you or someone else has committed a crime.

How has the Stingray worked in action in the past? In one case in the year 2008, a man named James Thomas assaulted someone to steal a cell phone. The police used a Stingray to track the device to his apartment building, where they went door-to-door looking for him. Eventually, they located the apartment they were looking for based on the signal and went inside where they found Thomas’ girlfriend. They were able to push her to the side and find Thomas, where they promptly arrested him.

The Truth for Many States

The truth is, police in 23 states are known to use Stingray devices. Apparently, however, four states have already passed laws that require police to get a warrant before they can use the Stingray to help them make an arrest. Many are worried that these pieces of equipment do nothing more than violate the privacy rights of humans and civil liberties. To be constitutional, many people believe that you should be able to roam freely in the area of a Stingray and government will not have record of it. The main idea is to be able to travel without surveillance.

In the end, the question for you is this: Does the Stingray violate Constitutional rights or does it actually help Americans because it keeps criminals and terrorists at bay? This is something that will be revisited in the near future because it is an important issue in our society. Hopefully in the years to come, we can gain more information about the Stingray and how it could benefit us.