New Hampshire Law Bans Warrantless Stingray Spying

CONCORD, N.H. (Jan. 7, 2018) – A New Hampshire law that bans the use of “stingrays” to track the location of phones and sweep up electronic communications without a warrant in most situations went into effect this week. The new statute not only protects privacy in New Hampshire, it will also hinder one aspect of the federal surveillance state.

A bipartisan coalition of representatives introduced House Bill 474 (HB474) early in 2017. The legislation will help block the use of cell site simulators, known as “stingrays.” These devices essentially spoof cell phone towers, tricking any device within range into connecting to the stingray instead of the tower, allowing law enforcement to sweep up communications content, as well as locate and track the person in possession of a specific phone or other electronic device.

HB474 prohibits the warrantless use of stingrays both for location tracking and gathering data or information from a phone. The law does allow warrantless use of a stingray under a judicially-recognized exception to the warrant requirement.

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