Grassley’s Judiciary Committee seeks DOJ policy on cell phone monitoring

US Department of JusticeFrom Press Release


Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and Ranking Member Patrick Leahy are again calling on the Justice Department to explain its policy regarding the use of cell phone tracking devices, generally referred to as cell-site simulators, which can track the locations and identifying information of all cell phones in a given area.

After a media report about domestic testing of these devices, the Senate Judiciary Committee received a whistleblower claim that the U.S. Marshals Service tested the cell phone tracking capabilities from 2004 to 2006, interacting with the cell phone signals of innocent Americans but without a court order and without targeting fugitives or subjects of investigations.  Other questions also remain unanswered about the federal government’s use of these devices.

In December and March, Grassley and Leahy asked the Justice Department to disclose its policies and practices regarding the testing and use of cell-site simulators.  The Justice Department has yet to fully respond to these requests. In a new letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Grassley and Leahy are asking the Justice Department to provide responses to their previous questions and to provide written responses regarding policies governing any FBI use of the technology to gather content from cell phones.

A signed copy of the letter is available here.