Cellular phone tracking technology is important for solving crimes, according to Sheriff Timothy Howard. In the past four and a half years, the Erie County law enforcement has been using cell phone tracking system, which according to Sheriff Howard is both justified and legal, on Wednesday.
This statement was in response to the report of New York Civil Liberties Union that they released on Tuesday that such stingray technology use was invasive of privacy and has no clear guidelines, in an interview with News 4.
The union released the said report after a Supreme Court ruling in March, forcing the sheriff’s office to submit the records of the stingray’s use. According to the county’s guidelines, a stingray can only be used under any of the two requirements. One, there should be a court order, including a subpoena or a warrant. Two, there should be a life-threatening situation. The same technology, however, does not permit the stingray’s user in listening on cellular phone conversations.
Howard added that in order for the cell phone tracking to work, it would not be enough that they have the phone number, but they also need the telephone company’s cooperation to become successful.
According to NYCLU, there were 46 out of 47 stingray uses that did not have any court orders. But the sheriff disagreed. A spokesperson from the organization said that they were pleased with the Sheriff’s office responses because the public has the right to know about the stingray technology.