August 13, 2023 | Many will not be surprised by the fact that government agencies are spying on and collecting information from Americans through their cell phones, devices, and cars, by sophisticated surveillance tools simulating cell towers. A cell site simulator (CSS) “obtains signaling information at multiple locations from non-targeted devices in the target’s vicinity for the limited purpose of identifying the target device by a process of elimination. The CSS provides relative signal strength and general direction of a subject device.” See Figure 1 for depiction of CSS operation.
Even if an individual is not a suspect in an investigation, their cell phone and data can be used to track others.
The results of an audit by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) stated, “The Secret Service and ICE HSI did not always adhere to Federal statute and CSS policies when using CSS during investigations involving exigent circumstances. Separately, ICE HSI did not adhere to Department privacy policies and the applicable Federal privacy statute when using CSS.”
United States Constitution, 4th Amendment prescribes protection for all Americans as: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
The reality of violative surveillance technologies requires protections for Americans from unwarranted surveillance. The Cell-Site Simulator Warrant Act, was introduced in 2021 but never made it out of committee.
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