New Illinois Law Limits Cell Phone Surveillance by Police

Naperville criminal defense attorneys, Illinois Law Limits Cell Phone SurveillanceIllinois Governor Bruce Rauner has signed a bill into law that limits how police officers can use devices designed to collect vast amounts of cell phone data. Privacy advocates, such as the ACLU, have highly praised the new legislation, calling it a much-needed protection of individuals’ rights to privacy. In recent months, cell site simulator device has been at the center of a lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department, in which plaintiffs are asking for the release of records showing how the police are using the technology.

How Cell Site Simulators Work

A cell site simulator, probably best known under the brand name “Stingray”, gathers phone usage data in a particular area. Obviously, the Stingray can be an important tool to obtain information about the target of a criminal investigation that police otherwise would be unable to access. However, the Stingray does not limit its scope to a particular person’s cell phone data. Rather, the cell site simulator has the capacity to gather data on other cell phones in the area, which can number in the hundreds or even in the thousands. This wide scope gives police virtually unfettered access to the cell phone data of many individuals who are likely not related to the police investigation in any way.

The Illinois Legislation

Federal law already provides for limits on the usage of cell site simulators by law enforcement, and Congress is considering strengthening those guidelines. Likewise, about a dozen other states have adopted similar laws to address the outstanding issues raised by cell site simulators. The new Illinois law requires police to delete the phone data of anyone who was not originally an investigation target within a 24-hour period. Furthermore, the new law does not allow police to access data for use in an investigation if not authorized by a judge.

Call Our Law Office for the Criminal Defense That You Need

The new Illinois law described above will not only protect your privacy rights, but it will help curb the overenthusiastic reach of law enforcement officials in some cases. All too often, police are fast to stretch the limits in trying to make an arrest or prove a case. This law will help ensure that police are not overreaching in an attempt to secure criminal charges against an individual. It also provides a defense in some cases where law enforcement officials have used this type of technology in order to prove a case. If you are facing criminal charges or even are simply the target of a criminal investigation, be sure to hire an experienced Illinois criminal defense lawyer to build the strongest defense possible in your case. Contact the passionate Naperville criminal defense attorneys of Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC and learn what defenses may be available to you in your criminal case.