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DOJ to shed light on cellphone spying strategies

by Todd Haselton | May 4, 2015May 4, 2015 8:00 pm PST


The Department of Justice will publicly reveal more information on the government’s use of cellphone tracking programs, such as Stingray, and will review existing programs, according to a new report on Monday. The strategy is to be more transparent with the U.S. public, it seems.

According to The Wall Street Journal, officials with the Department of Justice (DOJ), said the entity will soon explain “how and why” certain cellphone tracking devices are used. Various public agencies use cellphones to track and scan information on Americans and, agencies such as the FBI, haven’t even been required to obtain warrants before doing so.

The aforementioned Stingray devices were deployed on aircrafts to pick up cellular signals of unsuspecting Americans, for example, primarily for detailed location information. The U.S. Marshals Service and the Drug Enforcement Administration also deploy similar technology.

The Wall Street Journal didn’t say how much data the Department of Justice plans to reveal, but stated that part of the plan is to also reflect on internal policies. The DOJ said it is “continuing [its] commitment to conducting its vital missions while according appropriate respect for privacy and civil liberties.”

“At some point, it becomes more harmful to try to keep it secret than to acknowledge it,” one law enforcement source told The Wall Street Journal. “We just want to acknowledge it carefully and slowly, so we don’t lose what is a very effective tool.” The news outlet didn’t say when the DOJ plans to reveal the new information to the public.

Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...