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Arrests made by tracking cell phones may be illegal

Originally posted on 02/10/2017

An FBI agent tracks a suspect's cell phone use.Law enforcement agencies are always looking for an edge in fighting crime. As cell phones have become an indispensable part of life for many people, authorities have taken to using these devices to track suspects' locations and movements without their knowledge. In some cases, this tracking is not legal and criminal defense becomes easier. Keep reading to learn more about what you should know about arrests made by tracking cell phones.

"Stingrays" - Devices Used to Track Cell Phone Use

The devices used to do this are called stingrays (or ISMI catchers). Essentially, they act as cellular towers that can trick a cell phone into sending information to it (i.e. pings), thereby giving the cell phone's location. This can allow the police to track the cell phone wherever it goes. Also, when a cell phone connects to a stingray, it reveals the phone's unique ID numbers and traffic data, which can also allow the police to see what numbers have been dialed.

Benefits of Stingrays to Law Enforcement

The benefits to the police are obvious. Being able to track a suspect's movements can give authorities the opportunity to be in the right place at the right time in order to foil a crime. However, it can also be a violation of a person's Fourth Amendment rights.

Danger of Violating Citizen's Rights

If law enforcement authorities want to administer surveillance over a potential suspect, they must establish probable cause and convince a judge of such so that a warrant could be issued before tracking the suspect's whereabouts. However, this does not mean that law enforcement always follows the law. In these instances, one's civil liberties could be at risk.

Contact an Experienced Attorney to Help with Your Criminal Defense Case

No matter who you are or what you have allegedly done, it is important for your legal rights to be protected. If you have been arrested or are under investigation for a crime using illegally obtained cell phone data, the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Aldrich Legal Services can advise you. Give our team a call today.

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