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There is a device that exists called the Stingray, that, according to InfoWars, mimics a cell phone tower and in so doing, allows those that control it, to eavesdrop on conversations and to track down a user by their phone’s location. The device was developed by a company whose name has not been divulged with funds paid for by the US Department of Homeland Security and the FBI. The purpose, Slate says, was to help the government nail terrorists. Unfortunately, as Mail Online adds, law enforcement officials have been using the device to catch regular criminals, and in the process, have been stepping all over non-guilty people’s rights to privacy.

Media around the world, along with civil rights groups upon hearing of how those whose job it is to uphold the law have been using the device, have been condemning such use and admonishing those who are using it for what they call unlawful purposes.

In practice, Slate notes, the device is rather simple and straightforward, though how it can and should be used is not. It’s basically a reconstruct of a normal cell phone tower with additional electronics added on. That electronics allows for any signal that reaches the tower to be routed to a real tower, while a duplicate copy is sent to a designated site. That allows those at the designated site to listen in on any conversations that occur via cell phone in a designated area-without obtaining a warrant. Perhaps, just as serious, is technology added to the tower that also allows for much more precise tracking of a cell phone’s signal. Instead of two or three square blocks as is typical for tracking regular cellular signals, the Stingray can pin its location down to a single building.

That such technology has been created and used to thwart terrorism is not the issue of course. What is, says Slate, is misuse of the technology by law enforcement officials in Los Angeles and other still unidentified locations to listen in and trace calls made by people in the country that are not suspected of terrorist activities-a clear violation of several civil rights laws and possibly the Constitution.

Thus far, InforWars says, local law enforcement officials have not commented on the use of the Stingray, nor has any official at the federal level, though Slate says, such announcements will almost certainly be coming forth over the next several weeks as media around the world begin to demand answers from officials at their local jurisdictions.