California Senate Public Safety Committee advances stingray bill

A new bill being debated in California could put legal limitations on stingray use, including instating a requirement that government entities obtain a search warrant before using the cell-site simulators.

The California Electronic Communications Privacy Act was approved by the Senate Public Safety Committee on Tuesday, Ars Technica reported, and will next need to be approved by the California Senate and the State Assembly, before being signed by the governor. This new bill would make an exception for “emergency situations,” which would be defined.

Ars Technica noted, however, that the governor vetoed similar legislation in 2012 and 2013.

Also this week, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and ranking member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder voicing concerns over the devices, The Hill reported.

The letter requests further information about the Department of Justice's policies.

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