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IRS tracks your phone with StingRays

If you thought the IRS had a bad reputation before, it's about to get worse. There is mounting evidence that the Internal Revenue Service has been spying on you.

We recently told you that the IRS was suspected of being one of more than a dozen government agencies that spy on your cellphone calls with a StingRay (or cell-site simulator). We've been telling you about this technology for a while. It's about the size of a suitcase and acts like a mini cellphone tower.

The government, and maybe local police departments, can use it to intercept your cellphone's location, and in some cases the content of your calls and text messages. This has been going on for decades.

A government agent, for instance, could be parked in a van around the block from you, or flying overhead, or walking past your house with a StingRay. Even if they're tracking down a suspected criminal in your neighborhood, they're picking up your cellphone information, too.

Since the Edward Snowden scandal exposed massive government spying on innocent citizens, government agencies have been creating stricter policies on how they use StingRays. For instance, the Department of Justice recently announced that it now requires its federal agents to get a search warrant before they spy on you.

The Department of Homeland Security issued a similar policy. Its agents now need a search warrant to use StingRays, in most cases. They also placed limitations on how long they can hold onto your cellphone information.

Still, there are loopholes that you can imagine being abused. The Department of Justice, for instance, doesn't need to get a search warrant if they suspect someone is in danger.

While the IRS has been suspected of having StingRays, we now know for sure that they do. The IRS just issued its own policy on how it uses StingRays.

The IRS will now require a search warrant to use a StingRay in any investigation. IRS director John Koskinen says it has been using StingRays for that purpose.

He said the IRS used StingRays to track 37 cellphones as part of 11 grand jury investigations. He also said that the IRS bought its first StingRay in 2011.

Keep reading Komando.com for updates on how government agencies are using StingRays to spy on you.

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Source: Ars Technica
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