Cellphone Tracking by The Police Department Raises Privacy Concerns, Advocate Says
A free speech advocate in California has expressed his concerns about the use of the latest cell phone tracking technology by Los Angeles Police Department. With this technology, the said police department can track the location of any individual through mobile phones.
The technology is called Stingray, which monitors all smartphones around its tower and informs the police of the individuals who are passing by. The tracking information includes their identity information and time when they passed by the tower.
Peter Scheer (Executive director at San Rafael-based First Amendment Coalition) said that The Los Angeles Police Department misused the technology to track personal information of thousands of innocent people. On his company website, he stated that around 155 smartphone investigations were carried out in four months in 2012. To prove this, he published the results of the search of public records. The tracking was done without search warrants, he added.
In addition, he criticized that the police department is using Stingray more often than needed. He further said that the LAPD acquired the Stingray devices in order to conduct investigations to fight terrorism after 9/11 terrorist attacks; however, the records acquired by FAC reveal that the smartphone monitoring technology is now employed for general criminal investigations as well.
LAPD offices have not yet responded to the allegations made by Scheer. Hope they will comment on his allegations soon. The crux of the matter is that smartphone tracking technology should not be used to track personal information of innocent people. It should be used only when it is really needed.