Smartphones have changed the way that law enforcement can track cellphone data. When a judge approves what would normally be considered a run-of-the-mill "tap and trace" warrant, police officers can instead simply use a device that steals incoming and outgoing data from every phone nearby the target suspect's phone. No warrant required.
The biggest concern about StingRay tracking is the fact that StingRays don't just steal data from whomever the police are targeting: They steal incoming and outgoing data from people who just happen to be in the vicinity of the police's target.
Judges in Pierce County, Washington, thought that police officers and the judges approving their warrants should be more informed about the effects of a StingRay data collector.
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The court published standards for its law enforcement officers that asked them to swear in affidavits that they would destroy any phone data collected from people who aren't the targets of a police investigation.