according to BuzzFeed news, Democratic Senator Ron Wyden and Representative Ted Liu will introduce legislation later today to restrict the use of International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) traps by the police.More commonly known as Stingray, The police often use IMSI traps and cellular site simulators to collect information about suspects and intercept calls, text messages, and other forms of communication. U.S. law enforcement agencies currently do not need a warrant to use the technology. The Cell Site Simulator Act of 2021 aims to change this situation.
IMSI traps imitate cell phone towers to trick phones into connecting with them. After connecting, they can collect the data sent by the device, including its location and user identity key. The base station simulator brings two problems.
The first is that they are surveillance blunt instruments.When used in densely populated areas, IMSI traps can Collect data from bystandersSecond, they may also pose a safety risk to the public. The reason for this is that although IMSI catchers act like cell phone towers, their functions are not the same, and they cannot transfer calls to public wireless networks. Therefore, they can prevent the phone from connecting to 9-1-1. Although they pose a danger, their use is widespread. In 2018, the The American Civil Liberties Union found At least 75 agencies in 27 states and the District of Columbia have IMSI catchers.
In trying to resolve these issues, the proposed legislation will require law enforcement agencies to provide judges with reasons why they should be allowed to use the technology. They also need to explain why other monitoring methods are not so effective. In addition, it tries to ensure that these agencies delete any data they have collected from people who have never been included in the search warrant.
Although the bill reportedly does not specify a time limit for the use of IMSI capture devices, it does encourage agencies to shorten the time spent using these devices as much as possible. It also details the exceptions where the police can use the technology without authorization. For example, it will open the door for law enforcement agencies to use these devices in situations such as bomb threats, in which case IMSI traps can prevent remote explosions.
“Our bipartisan bill ends the confidentiality and uncertainty of Stingrays and other cellular site simulators and replaces them with clear and transparent rules on when the government can use these intrusive surveillance devices,” Senator Ron Wyden said. BuzzFeed news.
The bill has the support of some Republicans. Senator Steve Dynes of Montana and Representative Tom McClintock of California co-sponsored the proposed legislation. Organizations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Electronic Privacy Information Center have also endorsed the bill.
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