Mike Maharrey writes:
SANTA FE, N.M. (June 14, 2019) – Today, a New Mexico law goes into effect that limits the warrantless use of stingray devices to track people’s location and sweep up electronic communications, and more broadly protects the privacy of electronic data. The new law will also hinder the federal surveillance state.
Sen. Peter Wirth (D) filed Senate Bill 199 (SB199) on Jan. 8. Titled the “Electronic Communications Privacy Act,” the new law will 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.
The law requires police to obtain a warrant or wiretap order before deploying a stingray device, unless they have the explicit permission of the owner or authorized possessor of the device, or if the device is lost or stolen. SB199 includes an exception to the warrant requirement for emergency situations. Even then, police must apply for a warrant within 3 days and destroy any information obtained if the court denies the application.
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