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Secret Service and ICE conducted warrantless stingray surveillance, says watchdog


A government watchdog has found that the Secret Service and ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) unit repeatedly failed to obtain the correct legal paperwork when carrying out invasive cell phone surveillance.
The findings were published last week by Homeland Security’s inspector general, tasked with oversight of the U.S. federal department and its many law enforcement units, which said that the agencies often used cell-site simulators without obtaining the appropriate search warrants.
Cell-site simulators — commonly known as “stingrays” — are surveillance gear used by law enforcement that impersonate cell towers to trick nearby cell phones into connecting to them, allowing police to track their real-time location. Some newer stingrays are believed to be capable of capturing the calls and SMS text messages of nearby phones.
But stingrays are controversial because they also ensnare every other device within th …

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