The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) made an announcement last September regarding the new policies for operating “Stingray” surveillance devices, which are used to monitor private phone calls.
The FBI has been utilizing such surveillance devices for many years.
The new policies mandated that law enforcement agents would be required to obtain a search warrant before making using of such spying technology. The new rules went into effect immediately.
The DOJ said at the announcement that the new policies would provide more transparency and accountability than had been demonstrated in the past. The department also promised a more consistent legal standard, along with increased privacy protections.
However, the DOJ has not followed through with its promises. A little more than a month later. Director of the FBI James Comey said that he doesn’t believe the FBI should need to obtain a warrant to use the devices. That is very concerning when the leader of an agency known for spying on citizens doesn’t support laws designed to protect the privacy of people.
More troubling is that the FBI has been reportedly still using these devices over densely populated American cities, near America’s international borders and in popular tourist sites such as Disneyland.
Many people are extremely critical of the lack of transparency that is being provided by the FBI. Recently, an FBI surveillance plane was spotted in Phoenix, likely being used to search for a shooting suspect.
When FBI officials were asked about this, they denied that the plane was theirs, despite the fact that the plane’s tail number was confirmed to be that of an FBI aircraft. It’s hard not be suspicious of the FBI when blatant cover-ups like this take place.
Whenever such planes are spotted, FBI officials typically make the excuse that they are being used in active investigations. However, this is most likely a blatant lie.
There have already been many cases of the FBI breaking the law by using spying methods without first obtaining a warrant. The process of getting a search warrant, which is supposed to protect Americans, is largely being ignored.
The FBI has proven time and time again that it doesn’t care about privacy or the Fourth Amendment.