What are Stingrays?
Cell Site Simulators, or Stingrays, are small devices that mimic cell towers to intercept any cell phone signals within range. Essentially, the device pretends to be a cellphone tower for your phone company, but really it's under the control of police, foreign spies, or whoever happens to own it. The FBI and police have worked to hide details about these devices and the way they are deployed, but we know that updated models are capable of capturing and recording voice and text communications and in some instances they may even be able to spoof messages that appear to be from the owners of the phone.
Besides capturing calls and text messages, Stingrays are also able to throttle or disrupt cell phone signals, which interferes with the public’s ability to communicate on the cell phone spectrum, with targeted use interfering with communications between protest organizers, for instance, or even blocking emergency calls to 911 and other care providers. Since these devices intercept cell signals indiscriminately, thousands of phones could be surveilled simultaneously when the Stingray is deployed at full range in large crowds or densely populated urban centers.
For once we actually have a way to stop this illegal surveillance even though Congress won’t do anything about it: the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC, who have an obligation to protect us from harmful interference on a licensed spectrum, to manage said spectrum to promote the safety of life and property, and to ensure the availability of emergency calling services, could stop police from using these devices to illegally monitor our communities by declaring Stingrays in violation of the Federal Communications Act.