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Tacoma police change how they seek permission to use cellphone tracker

Tacoma police have been using a controversial cell phone tracking devices, or "cell site simulator," to find criminals. Now judges in Pierce County are requiring higher standards for their use.

TPD was getting warrants to use the cell site simulators... well, kind of. They had warrants signed by judges, but the judges didn't know they were signing off on the tracking devices, which not only collect data on a suspect, but on all the phones around them as well. The police made a distinction between telling the judge what information they were seeking, and sharing the tactics they would use to get it.

After learning that police were using the technology, Pierce County judges saw it differently. Now they've asked the police making warrant requests to specify if they plan on using the devices. Pierce County agencies using the devices also have to swear that they will not store data from anyone other than the subject of the warrant.

Jurisdictions all over the country are facing this issue, but apparently Pierce County is ahead of the curve in imposing higher standards.

Read more at The News Tribune


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