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Representative Jason Chaffetz, fresh off his bombshell report on the OPM hacking, is promising to drop another explosive report in the future. This one will deal with law enforcement’s dirty little secret — one that’s not that much of a secret anymore.
The Stingray, a controversial cellphone tracking device used by the U.S. government and law enforcement, will be the subject of a forthcoming investigation from the House Oversight Committee, according to Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah).
“You will be shocked at what the federal government is doing to collect your personal information,” Chaffetz said on Wednesday morning. “And they can’t keep it secure, that’s the point.”
It’s a good point, one fresh in the mind of millions thanks to the just-delivered OPM report. The government appears willing to take security seriously if it means doling out tax dollars to dozens of agencies with cyberstars in their eyes and crafting bad legislation, but not so much when it comes to actually ensuring its own backyard is locked down.
Chaffetz was one of the legislators behind the 2015 attempt to turn the DOJ’s Stingray guidance into law, laying down a warrant requirement for US law enforcement. Unfortunately, the bill went nowhere. Presumably, a thorough investigation into law enforcement use of this repurposed war tech might prompt more legislative cooperation in the future.
Chaffetz has done little to endear himself to security and law enforcement agencies since his arrival on the Hill. In addition to the failed Stingray warrant bill, Chaffetz also partnered with Ron Wyden to attempt to add a warrant requirement for law enforcement GPS tracking — something the Supreme Court almost addressed in its US v. Jones decision.
He also made new friends with the Secret Service while grilling officials over an incident where drunken agents arrived on the scene of a “suspicious package” report in spectacular fashion, crashing the vehicle they were driving into a White House barricade. Almost as soon as the hearing had begun, Secret Service employees were accessing Chaffetz’s personal info (generated by his attempt to join the Secret Service in 2003), hoping to find something embarrassing they could use to discredit him.
This new report will further alienate law enforcement agencies and personnel, starting with the FBI — which has acted as Stingray Overlord since the introduction of the equipment — and trickling all the way down to the local level, where agencies have relied on secrecy, lies, and case dismissals to keep information about the cell phone-tracking devices from being made public.