Fourth Amendment Implications of Real time Tracking Phones Stingrays
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The Fourth Amendment Implications on the Real-Time Tracking of Cell Phones Through the Use of “Stingrays”
W. Scott Kim*

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26 Fordham Intell. Prop. Media & Ent. L.J. 995
Note by W. Scott Kim*




he 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.



*         Associate Editor, Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal, Volume XXVII; J.D. Candidate, 2017, Fordham University School of Law; B.S., 2013, Seton Hall University. I would like to thank Professor Olivier Sylvain for introducing me to this topic and for being an instrumental advisor throughout. I would also like to thank the Fordham IPLJ staff and editors, especially Liz Walker, Patrick O’Keefe, and Katie Rosenberg.