Name: Rep. Blake Filippi
Date: March 9, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Blake Filippi Introduces Bill to limit Law Enforcement Use of High-Tech Devices that Can Spy on the Public
New bill also backed by Republicans and Democrats targets use of Stingray device used to track and monitor cell phones
STATE HOUSE – A bill submitted by Rep. Blake Filippi (I-Dist. 36; Block Island, Charlestown, South Kingstown and Westerly) would require law enforcement to apply for a judicial order to use Stingray cell-site simulators in the course of their work. The legislation (2016-H 7681) adds stingrays to a list of other devices law enforcement use to track phones and other data.
Stingray devices act as cellular phone towers that connect with nearby cellular phones without owner consent. The stingray device can then track personally identifiable data and the location of the connected phones.
“Stingrays can be used to monitor our phone calls and data, track our movement and even to determine the identity of all persons with phones in a given area – like a group of protestors for example. Stingrays can also sweep up data from non-targeted persons,” explained Filippi.
“A Stingray’s ability to peer into our private lives is immense. We need to be sure that the scope of data collection is controlled and limited through the judicial warrant process. Our bill outlines specific steps that law enforcement would need to follow in order to use one of these intrusive devices – the same criteria that already exist for pen registers and trap and trace devices. As technology evolves, we need to be sure our laws keep up with the times so that our privacy is protected,” said Filippi.
Co-sponsors of the bill are Rep. Christopher R. Blazejewski (D-District 02, Providence), Rep. J. Aaron Regunberg (D-District 04, Providence), Rep. Michael Chippendale (R-District 40, Foster, Glocester, Coventry) and Rep. Justin K. Price (R-District 39, Exeter, Hopkinton, Richmond).