On June 27, The House Science, Space, and Technology’s oversight subcommittee convened a panel of cybersecurity experts for a hearing on cellphone spying. The focus of the hearing seemed driven by recent media reports revealing that backpack-sized surveillance devices - known as IMSI catchers or Stingrays - are operating near the White House and other sensitive locations across the United States.

During the hearing, which highlighted the fact that calls and texts of every American are vulnerable to interception and eavesdropping via these devices, Members of Congress and the panel of experts discussed the challenges associated with detecting IMSI catchers and Stingrays before concluding, correctly, that no guaranteed method exists to detect them. However, nobody zeroed in on the real question, which is: even if they could be detected, so what?  The reality is that trying to detect these kinds of attacks is useless because pinpointing the IMSI catchers does nothing to stop their interception of data. 

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