Four Senators Press DoJ on Cell Site Simulator Disclosures

Four senators wrote Attorney General Jeff Sessions today to urge DoJ to inform judges about the impacts of cell-site simulators such as Stingrays on 911 calls and other communications of Americans. “We are concerned that the Department may not be adequately disclosing to courts important details about how stingrays work and their impact on innocent Americans,” said a letter signed by Sens. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.), Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.), Al Franken (D., Minn.), and Mike Lee (R., Utah).  “Courts approving stingray surveillance orders may not realize the extent to which this technology may invade the privacy of Americans, including that stingrays send probing signals into the homes of everyone in the targeted location, may disrupt cellular networks, and may even prevent individuals in the vicinity from being able to call 911.”

The senators asked for responses to two questions by Aug. 25.

“The FBI’s warrant applications describe the interference caused by a cell site simulator as brief and temporary. Has the FBI tested all of the cell site simulators it uses and measured the interference caused to nearby phones? Please provide us with a copy of all testing reports or other documentation related to device and network interference caused by cell site simulators,” the letter said. “Do you disagree with the assessment of Canadian federal law enforcement that cell site simulators can disrupt calls, including [calls] to 911?” it also asked. —Paul Kirby,