Last February in Florida, a case of a robbery involving BB guns seemed to be an easy win for the prosecutors. However, according to The Washington Post, “[B]efore trial, his defense team detected investigators’ use of a secret surveillance tool, one that raises significant privacy concerns.” This led to the state judge offering the accused a plea bargain and ended up serving six months’ probation instead of two years. An experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal attorney can do the same thing for their clients.


The secret surveillance tool in question is a cell-tower simulator sometimes called a StingRay. It is used to pinpoint a suspect’s location by gathering signals from their cellphone and works by forcing cellphones in its area to register with it, then transmits the phone numbers and unique electronic serial numbers to the StingRay. The phone does not even have to be in use for this to work.

The secrecy of using such a device has sparked a debate on whether it respects Americans’ civil liberties, raising significant privacy concerns.

In legal terms, invasion of privacy is the intrusion into the personal life of another without just cause. In the case of the surveillance tool StingRay, if used without the sanction by law enforcement, then whoever is using it can be legally responsible for an invasion of privacy.

Questions have been raised in other parts of the Unites States regarding the use of the StingRay. In a similar case in New York, assemblyman Sean M. Ryan suggested there should be a search warrant when using a StingRay surveillance tool, and that failure to get one could violate the Constitution.

The case of the use of a StingRay surveillance tool raises concerns regarding privacy. While it is helpful for catching criminals, there certainly must be limitations to its use and the practice must be transparent. Getting a warrant should be included in any guidelines that the government will issue regarding the StingRay.

Use of this surveillance tool is one way by which invasion of privacy can occur; however, there are others such as:

  1. Intrusion into one’s private affairs;
  2. Public disclosure of private information;
  3. Publicity which shows a person in false light
  4. Appropriation of a person’s name or photo for personal or commercial advantage.

Those who are accused of invading upon the privacy of another should get in touch with a criminal attorney in Fort Lauderdale, like Richard Della Fera, who has experience in this matter and has been protecting the rights of clients for a long time.

Sources: Cops stay mum about devices that mimic cellphone towers, The Washington Post Lawmaker wants state to investigate use of cell phone tracking device, WIVB4, April 15, 2015