Immigrants may be needing to all upon an immigration and deportation attorney soon as officials are making every attempt to send those who are living in the U.S. illegally back to their home country.
When President Trump said he wanted to remove illegal immigrants from our country, he wasn’t playing. And amid the Russia allegations being reported stating that he may be giving away top secret information that could be placing America at risk, he is still finding ways to get undocumented immigrants out of the U.S. But are the methods being used violating privacy rights?
According to The Detroit News, “federal investigators are using a cellphone snooping device designed for counter-terrorism to hunt undocumented immigrants.” But when did it become a “hunt” for those who are simply living here who haven’t obtained the legal paperwork that permits them to? Granted many immigrants have entered into the country illegally, but many are seeking refuge or looking to live with their family members who may already be residing in the U.S.
How Does the Snooping Device Work?
This “secret” device disguises itself as a cell phone tower “to find people who entered the U.S. illegally.” The way it has been used is that it is first mounted in a police car and what it does is confuse phones that are searching for signals. Once the cell phone begins the search for a nearby tower, the device, also known as “Hailstorm” or “Stingray” picks up on this and the phone “thinks” it is a tower.
Once the cell phone is in a certain radius and is connected, is can collect data from the phone. The software that collaboratively works with the device translates this data for police. Officers are able to obtain things like the history of phone numbers dialed and those that were connected. But is this all the information that is being collected? And who else is at risk of having their cell phone “tricked?”
In one case, the device was used to find and locate Rudy Carcoma-Carranza who was removed from the U.S. several times but continued to come back in. He was involved in a hit-and-run accident which prompted agents to track him down.
Not only did they receive permission to search his Facebook account, but also used a cell site simulator to track him down. They were able to find an address where his phone was near which eventually led to agents obtaining a search warrant to enter the home and take him into custody.
Are Illegal Immigrants the Only Ones At-Risk of Having Their Phone Taped?
The fact is, we truly don’t know whose phone is being taped. While federal investigators claim it is used to help find people who entered the U.S. illegally, anyone could be at risk of having their privacy rights violated-yet you wouldn’t really know.
According to the news source, “Under the Justice Department policy, all data from targeted cellphones must be deleted immediately after the device is located. Under the policy, Stingrays cannot be used to collect emails, texts, contacts or images during an investigation.”
But, as we have seen in many criminal cases, officials find loopholes which allow them to deter from the law. Shahid Buttar, who is the director of grassroots advocacy for a nonprofit digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation, stated “Once you start giving agencies fancy toys, and somebody is making money off of it, they are going to use them for more things, and ultimately oppress your rights,” Buttar said.
If you are an immigrant living in the U.S. and your citizenship isn’t finalized, you might want to consider consulting with a local deportation lawyer who can help speed up the process.