The use of mobile phone tracking devices known as stingrays have become so widespread that even the government itself doesn’t know how many agencies are using the technology. Recently, a group of both Democrats and Republicans from the United States House of Representatives presented the question of how many federal agencies are making use of stingrays. The answer might be a little upsetting.

Last month, leaked documents revealed that even the Internal Revenue Service is using the stingrays, which are designed to both identify the users of mobile devices and track their locations. So far, at least 13 federal agencies have been confirmed to use the technology.

In a letter that was sent earlier this week on Monday, House Over­sight Com­mit­tee Chair­man Jason Chaf­fetz, rank­ing mem­ber Eli­jah Cum­mings, and the top two mem­bers of the pan­el’s IT sub­com­mit­tee, Will Hurd and Robin Kelly, requested that the top 24 federal agencies share their policies regarding the usage of surveillance technologies.

Stingrays function by posing as cell towers in order to trick nearby mobile devices into establishing a connection with them. Once the connection takes place, the stingray can scan the mobile device to determine the associated user and their location. The use of stingrays by the government was originally revealed last year.

Some government agencies have tried to make their policies regarding the usage of stingrays more available to the public. Both the Department of Justice and Homeland Security have published their internal guidelines for using stingrays. Their policies limit the amount of data that they can collect, and they state that warrants must be obtained before they can be used.

However, state governments and local police departments have been known to operate stingrays without obtaining warrants. This has angered members of the public who are concerned about their privacy.

In the recent letter, the House members have requested details about data retention policies, and they also want to know about any misuses of the technology that may have taken place. They targeted virtually every federal agency, even the Department of Agriculture. The House members are expecting the agencies to respond within the next two weeks.

Sign Up for Our Newsletters

Get notified of the best deals on our WordPress themes.

You May Also Like

Top Colleges Now Luring Promising Video Game Players With Lucrative Scholarships

Bucking the notion that video games use up time that would better…

Ten Off The Radar Places You Need To Visit This Summer

Summer’s here and that means its travel season! To help you make…

The 10 Richest Teens in America (and a Few Other Places)

  There are people under the age of 18 that probably have…

White-Collared Thieves In NY Are Stealing From The Poor To Give To The Rich

In New York City, white-collar criminals are fooling people into giving up…