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Lawmaker Drafting Legislation To Limit Cell Phone Tracking

Sen. Jim Smith wants to outline how the Indiana State Police to use technology that collects data from hundreds of cell phone users at a time.

cell phone

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The Indiana State Police purchased the tracking device, called a Stingray, for $373,000 last spring.

State Sen. Jim Smith, R-Sullivan County, plans to introduce a bill that would limit the Indiana State Police’s use of a cell phone tapping device.

An IndyStar/USA Today investigation revealed earlier this month the Indiana State Police had purchased a device called a Stingray that can collect data from hundreds of cell phone users at a time.

Smith says he wants to ensure the use of the device does not violate Indiana residents’ right to privacy.

“As recent news stories about the Indiana State Police’s Stingray equipment makes clear, there are not adequate rules in place to prevent government from using new technologies to infringe on the rights of citizens,” Smith said in a statement. “I am authoring legislation this year to provide parameters for government’s use of current and future technologies so that any data collected cannot be shared or stored.”

As the IndyStar reports, Gov. Mike Pence said earlier this week he supports the use of the technology, but did not say whether he thinks police should obtain warrants before using the device.

Speaking with reporters, Pence said he met with police officials last Thursday for a briefing after an Indianapolis Star report revealed the agency had acquired “Stingray” technology for $373,995.

“I believe this technology is in the interest of public safety, and I believe it has enhanced our ability to both protect and save lives,” Pence told reporters. “I was informed that in the limited number of cases where this technology has been used that it has only been used with strict judicial oversight.”

The IndyStar investigation indicated the Indiana State Police spent almost $374,000 on the device they bought from a Florida-based company.

Taylor Killough

Taylor Killough is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has studied anthropology and digital journalism. She has professional experience in education and communications and is excited to be a part of the award-winning team at WFIU/WTIU.

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