The federal government is taking a major step forward in restricting how it can track your cellphone calls. It involves their use of luggage-size devices called StingRays that we've been warning you about.
StingRays are like mini cellphone towers that the government has been using, and still can use to monitor cellphone activity of criminals and terrorists. Except, there's a big problem, for you: Until now, federal law-enforcement agents could also use StingRays to collect your cellphone activity, without your permission.
Now, the Department of Justice has made a leap forward, just not a major leap forward to protect your private information. The DOJ now requires federal law-enforcement agents to get search warrants to use StingRays. Those agents now have to have probable cause that criminal activity is taking place, before they can plop down their small StingRay, or use it from an airplane above your house.
Of course, there are some pretty big loopholes that you must know about. The first one is important. If the federal government suspects people are in imminent danger, they don't need to get a warrant to use a StingRay.
Second, the DOJ's restrictions on using StingRays have no impact on local governments. In other words, cities and states can still use StingRays to collect cellphone data, without a warrant.