August 01, 2017

Wyden, Bipartisan Senators Ask Justice Department to Fully Inform Judges About Stingray Impacts on Innocent Americans

Washington, D.C. – Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, today asked the Department of Justice to fully inform judges about the impacts of stingrays and other IMSI-catchers on innocent Americans’ communications, including 911 calls.

“We are concerned that the Department may not be adequately disclosing to courts important details about how stingrays work and their impact on innocent Americans,” the senators wrote, in a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “Courts approving stingray surveillance orders may not realize the extent to which this technology may invade the privacy of Americans, including that stingrays send probing signals into the homes of everyone in the targeted location, may disrupt cellular networks, and may even prevent individuals in the vicinity from being able to call 911.”

The senators also asked for responses to two questions, by August 25:

  1. The FBI’s warrant applications describe the interference caused by a cell site simulator as brief and temporary. Has the FBI tested all of the cell site simulators it uses and measured the interference caused to nearby phones? Please provide us with a copy of all testing reports or other documentation related to device and network interference caused by cell site simulators.?
  2. Do you disagree with the assessment of Canadian federal law enforcement that cell site simulators can disrupt calls, including to 911?

The full letter is available here.