Fourth Amendment, Stingray, cell phone


The rights secured to us by the Fourth Amendment were the driving force behind the American Revolution. Today, law enforcement seems to forget that fact when they use cell-site simulators, commonly referred to by the brand name “Stingray,” without first securing a warrant. These devices mimic cell phone towers and force cell phones near them to connect to the cell-site simulator instead of a tower, thereby allowing the user of the simulator device to track a cell phone to its precise location. Ninety-two percent of Americans own a cell phone and forty-six percent of smartphone users say they could not go a single day without them. Cell phones are not just another modern convenience, they are a part of modern life and people should not have to sacrifice a near necessity in today’s world in order to secure their privacy. This Note analyzes the conflict between the Fourth Amendment and the use of cell-site simulator technology and argues that the use of a Stingray constitutes a Fourth Amendment search and should require a warrant prior to its use.