When I was naive, I thought of Stingrays as beautiful, benevolent creatures who swam through the seven seas, with their underwater wings.
Now that I know more, I know a Stingray to be a sinister thing, lurking in the corners or rooftops of this world, fixing its searching eyes on you, your life and your data.
Stingrays are tracking devices the US Federal Bureau of Investigation uses to track down the “Bad Guys” (whoever those may be). However, while tracking down those bad, bad evil bad guys, it just happens to pull in a huge amount of data from innocent good-guy bystanders.
A price you pay to get those bad guys caught? Not really: The data that is being collected might just be your text messages, your photos, your phone’s hardware serial number.
This was – rightly so – flagged as unconstitutional, and there are now checks in place to avoid innocent bystander’s data being gobbled up by the ever growing demands for fast, real-life data.
However, these checks don’t cover local police, nor state police. Not to mention other governments at large.
Basically, a stingray is a fake cell phone tower. It tricks your phone (any phone) into connecting with it and then sending data to it (every few seconds).
These can be set up everywhere, and don’t necessarily look like the traditional cell phone towers you’re used to seeing.
Anyone who purchases a stingray can potentially scoop up all the data on all the phones around them. The implications are truly frightening.
Point your Stingray device into the middle of NYC or any other large city and imagine the amount of data and hardware serial numbers you could collect.
The US Government officials who were defending the use of these devices claimed that public discussion about anything related to this technology could potentially harm their on-going investigations.
But for “bad guys” there is no way to protect themselves from being X-Rayed (pardon the pun). Unless you don’t carry a phone at all, or you spend thousands on a CryptoPhone there is no escape from these rogue towers. This goes for yourself, too, by the way.
Benjamin Franklin, one of the pioneers of technological development, is right in saying
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety,deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
Don’t give up your rights to privacy to catch that ominous “Bad Guy”. More often than not, you pay too high a price for your sense of safety: freedom.