FCC wants to protect citizens from Stingray-style cell phone trackers


Devices known as Stingrays, which can secretly track and record phone users by mimicking cell phone towers, have been a hot topic in law enforcement and civil liberties circles for some time. Now, the FCC is set to take a closer look at who is using them.

In a letter reported Monday by the Washington Post, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler stated that the agency would create a task force to examine the threats posed by Stingrays, which is the trade name for a technology known as “ISMI catchers.”

The devices, which are manufactured by Florida-based Harris Corporation, work by tricking nearby cell phones into thinking they are part of the relay tower system that makes up a cell phone network. Here is a picture of a Stingray from the Wall Street Journal, which has been among the first news outlets to call attention to the technology:


The Stingray makes it possible to track the location of a cell…

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