Police would need warrant to monitor cell phones with Stingray device



By Ally Marlow

INDIANAPOLIS – An Indiana legislator wants to make it illegal for police to use the Stingray – a device capable of wirelessly monitoring cell phones – without a warrant.

There is currently no law limiting the police and government from obtaining civilian cellular information. The Stingray is capable of downloading and monitoring calls, texts, pictures and apps – virtually all data coming to and from a cell phone – without the person ever knowing.

Sen. Brent Waltz, R-Greenwood, authored Senate Bill 64 because he said he was scared by the possibilities of the Stingray and doesn’t believe the new technology is “right.”

He said there’s no hard evidence this is a problem in Indiana, but other states have abused the technology. He cited an incident in Florida where the Miami County Sheriff’s Department gathered all of the information of demonstrators during a public protest.

“That’s disturbing,” Waltz said. “The simple Libertarian in me says there ought to be something done to prevent that.”

The restrictions would not apply if the police were given consent by the individual or if it is believed the device was involved in a crime.

But the bill would apply to someone at a routine traffic stop. That would protect a person who has been accused of a traffic violation from having to give up all the private information on their phones.

“The danger with this device is that there’s no paper trail,” said Evan McMahon, the 7th District representative for the Libertarian Party of Indiana. “There is no record, there was no search warrant, there’s nothing to say ‘we accessed your cell information.’ There’s nothing to say who has accessed, when it was accessed, or why it was accessed.”

SB 64 passed unanimously and now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

Ally Marlow is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.



  1. Shouldn’t be a problem to get a warrant. The judges must be pretty loose with them to authorize the Billy Bolin flash bang grandstanding incident.

  2. I must have missed this… Stealing personal cell phone correspondence without a warrant is already unconstitutional. Shouldn’t be a need for this law, but it couldn’t hurt to clarify the law, I guess.

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