Fighting Against Big Brother
- It is interesting that at the state level we often see Democrats and Republicans joining to fight against Big Brother spying. But at the Federal level the Democrats and Republicans join arm-in-arm to fund every possible 1984 Big Brother spy program ever invented.
(Tenth Amendment Center) - The Illinois Senate unanimously passed a bill that would ban the use of “stingrays” to track the location of phones and sweep up electronic communications without a warrant in most situations. The proposed legislation would not only protect privacy in the Illinois, but would also hinder one aspect of the federal surveillance state.
Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Skokie) introduced Senate Bill 2343 (SB2343) on Jan. 28. The legislation would help block the use of cell site simulators, known as “stingrays.” These devices essentially spoof cell phone towers, tricking any device within range into connecting to the stingray instead of the tower, allowing law enforcement to sweep up communications content, as well as locate and track the person in possession of a specific phone or other electronic device.
SB2343 would prohibit the use of stingrays except to locate or track the location of a communications device or to identify a communications device. That means law enforcement would not be allowed to listen in on conversations using cell site simulators under any circumstances.
The Senate approved the measure 57-0. It will now move over to the House for further consideration.
The legislation stipulates that before deploying a stingray device for location tracking, law enforcement agencies would have to get a warrant, with only a few exceptions. Warrantless use of these devices would only be allowed in certain specific emergency situations.
Under the proposed law, if a court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that a law enforcement agency used a cell site simulator to gather information in violation of the limits in the act, then the information will be presumed to be inadmissible in any judicial or administrative proceeding.
An amendment approved by the Judiciary Committee strengthened the bill, requiring police destroy any information gathered on non-targeted devices within 24 hours if the stingray was used to track or locate an known device, and 72 hours if used to track or locate an unknown device.
A companion bill (HB4470) sponsored by Rep. Ann Williams (D-Chicago) has been introduced in the House.
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