The United States Justice Department has now ruled that the federal agencies will have to get search warrants if they want to track the mobile phones. This is the new guidance that has been formulated by the U.S. Justice Department. Until now, all federal agencies like the FBI did not have to seek any permission to use cell site simulators to track the locations of the cell phones in an area.
The cell phone tracking was an important tool to fight crime, according to the federal authorities. But, there have been many civil liberties groups claiming that the cell phone tracking is giving the federal agencies to invade their privacy and they were not game for this.
The new rules put forth by the US Justice Department will come into effect straight away. The rule also wants all the data that is collected to locate a mobile device using the equipment to be deleted as soon as the device is found. It should not be in possession of the federal agencies for more than one day.
The new policy also makes it clear for the federal agencies that cell site simulators cannot be used to gather information and the contents of any communication, during the course of criminal investigations. So, the data that are present in the phone like the emails, text messages, images and contact lists should not be collected when using then cell phone tracking technology.
An estimated number of 53 agencies are making use of the cell site simulators in 21 states in the country. Under the new guidelines, all the data collected from the targeted phones by the agencies using the simulators need to be deleted within 30 days. Those data collected from, not to be targeted phones must be deleted within a day.
There will be certain exemptions given to certain federal agencies to use the cell site simulators without any prior warrant. This will be carried out only for demanding situations. The state as well as the local agencies will have to comply with the new rules that have been set in motion by the U.S. Justice Department for cases that they are working in association with the federal agencies.
The critics are of the opinion that there are still a few loopholes in the policy put forth by the Justice department. They feel that the exception circumstances could be misused and also the fact that the new policy does not apply to local police departments. They feel that the Justice Department must close all the loopholes for the new policy to work perfectly.