Yep, according to Tom Lyons' article in today's Sarasota Herald-Tribune, "stingrays are portable devices that can mimic cell phone towers. They...are sold to law enforcement agencies for use in tapping information about calls and text messages as well as the past or present locations of cellphones, including the times when phones were not being used." (See http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20140601/ARCHIVES/406011035/-1/search10?Title=A-spying-device-cops-may-be-using).
Wow, instead of monitoring folks suspected of potential terrorist activities, our newly technologically energized police state has begun to set up camouflaged cell towers in an effort to invade private conversations, all under the guise of "public safety." You see, authorities have been covertly spying on citizens under the rationale that they are in fact protecting society by stopping crimes "before they happen." Wasn't the story line of "The Minority Report" similar to this? Where criminals were taken off the streets before they ever committed a crime, because the police state could "predict" their future wrongdoing. I know we have Constitutional protection against enacting laws rendering past legal acts illegal, but what protections does we have to safeguard us from government predicting future crimes (even though they may never happen)? And I am not alone in questioning this method. The ACLU has been actively engaged in monitoring these measures because they have included entire areas of communities for secret monitoring, all without judicial authorization or proven "probable cause." One can easily see the "slippery slope" we may all slide down if these types of measures are accepted as "routine" by law enforcement under the guise of "protecting us all."
One thing is for sure, with the expansion of social media, are we not all at risk of law enforcement being improperly used by government to manipulate public discourse, and perhaps intimidate public dissent? After experiencing the rampart loss of privacy under the English Crown, the Founding Fathers and Framers were keenly aware of the need to ensure the rights of Americans to maintain their privacy in their everyday lives. As Founding Father, Patrick Henry once wrote; "When the American spirit was in its youth, the language of America was different: Liberty, sir, was the primary object." Covert spying looking for clues in the private conversations of ordinary citizens would certainly not be approved by Henry or his radical colleagues when breaking away from England and establishing the United States. Isn't it time (again) to remember what "Liberty" really means? Liberty, should always be the primary object, for all of US! Have a great week!