From Privacy SOS:
Earlier this week, a New York federal judge became the nation’s first jurist to rule inadmissible evidence collected after Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officials used a stingray, or cell site simulator, to locate a drug suspect’s phone, and by extension the man himself, without a warrant.
This ruling—along with a landmark Second Circuit Court of Appeals opinion handed down this week holding that US warrants do not extend overseas—is a bright spot in what’s otherwise been a bleak series of court decisions on privacy in the digital age.
Stingray spying: Yes, you’ll need a warrant for that, NY judge rules
In the New York case, district Judge William Pauley granted defendant Raymond Lambis’ motion to suppress narcotics evidence DEA officials found in his New York City apartment after they located Lambis using a stingray, also known as an IMSI catcher.
In 2015, the opinion states, the DEA obtained a warrant authorizing them to collect call records and historical location information from a cell phone company about a target phone. The cell site location information (CSLI) revealed the phone in question was somewhere in the vicinity of 177th street and Broadway in Washington Heights. But the information wasn’t precise enough to identify which apartment building the phone was inside, let alone which apartment. So the DEA sent an investigator out to Washington Heights, armed with a stingray. The stingray worked: it located the phone down to the apartment level. Later that night, DEA officials knocked at the apartment door and obtained consent from defendant Raymond Lambis’ father to enter. Lambis then gave the agents permission to search his room, where they found drugs and drug paraphernalia. Lambis’ attorneys later sought to suppress this evidence based on the fact that while DEA agents got …