Earlier today, the Illinois Senate unanimously passed and sent to the Illinois House Senate Bill 2343, a measure that increases transparency and regulation of cell site simulators, often known by the brand name Stingrays, when they are used by law enforcement in Illinois. Left unregulated, the technology can be a powerful tool for mass surveillance as it can sweep up large amounts of data from cell phones in a particular area. Senate Bill 2343 would require law enforcement to get a warrant to use a Stingray, adopt specific procedures to assure that data of non-targets is not captured and retained and prohibit the technology to block phone calls, drain a phone battery or intercept the content of phone calls, web browsing and text messages by police.

The following can be attributed to Khadine Bennett, Associate Legislative Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois:

The Senate’s strong vote is good news for the privacy of everyone in Illinois. Given our reliance on smartphones in today’s society, cell site simulator technology is too powerful to remain unregulated. The federal government has adopted modest guidelines similar to those in SB2343. If the restrictions are good enough for the FBI, they should be workable for local law enforcement in Illinois.

We look forward to talking with House members about this measure and moving it to the Governor’s desk.  

Learn more about the Stingray bill.