Nov 042011
 
 November 4, 2011  Posted by  Court, Surveillance, U.S.

Kim Zetter reports:

Federal authorities used a fake Verizon cellphone tower to zero in on a suspect’s wireless card, and say they were perfectly within their rights to do so, even without a warrant.

But the feds don’t seem to want that legal logic challenged in court by the alleged identity thief they nabbed using the spoofing device, known generically as a stingray. So the government is telling a court for the first time that spoofing a legitimate wireless tower in order to conduct surveillance could be considered a search under the Fourth Amendment in this particular case, and that its use was legal, thanks to a court order and warrant that investigators used to get similar location data from Verizon’s own towers.

The government is likely using the argument to avoid a court showdown that might reveal how stingrays work and open debate into the tool’s legality.

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