Demand Police Stop Using Cell Phone Tracking System

Target: Tom Wheeler, FCC Chairman

Goal: Forbid police use of the unethical and potentially illegal “stingray” tracking technology.

Police officers in Baltimore continue to use an unethical and potentially illegal cellphone tracking system despite numerous complaints from civil rights groups. In a recent complaint to the FCC, activists claim that the technology (known as “stingrays”) violates free speech and privacy rights while also presenting a public safety hazard.

Stingrays act as cell site simulators, and police officers use the technology to imitate a cell tower. This causes nearby phones to connect to them instead of a standard network, which allows police to gather information specific to mobile devices such as their location.

The complaint against the police department argues that the use of such devices is in violation of federal law. A Maryland court has determined that police should get a warrant before using a stingray, yet these devices are used freely with little discretion. The complaint also alleges that stingrays disrupt calls, with interference making it difficult or impossible for callers to reach emergency services.

Police officers should not have such widespread access to personal devices. Sign the petition below and urge the FCC to put an end to this unethical practice.


Dear Mr. Wheeler,

I am writing to call your attention to the Baltimore Police Department’s use of “stingrays.” This technology allows officers to quickly determine private information about mobile devices, such as their location.

Stingrays present several possible free speech and privacy concerns. In addition to revealing a citizen’s location, some activists claim that the interference prevents people from calling 911, which represents an enormous safety hazard. A complaint against these devices has already been filed, and I urge you to intervene and demand an end to the use of these unethical devices.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: LoboStudioHamburg

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One Comment

  1. Virginia Greenwood-Warner says:

    If you’ve got nothing to hide – why the paranoia?????? I say police must use any device possible to catch and convict criminals and so keep the decent people safe!

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