Questions abound about IRS use of cell phone ‘StingRays’
The National Security Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigations, and even local law enforcement have used cell-site simulators, known as “StingRays,” to track the location and activities of cell phones in order to catch dangerous criminals and even terrorists. Why the Internal Revenue Service would need these devices to go after tax offenders is a question that many are asking, including two prominent US Senators.
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) October 29, 2015
One has to wonder why the IRS would need such devices. They aren’t in the business of stopping terrorists or taking down violent criminals. The IRS isn’t even considered by most to be a branch of law enforcement, though that is definitely part of what they do. However, these devices can be easily abused and there is currently very little transparency about how often they’re used or how the operators are vetted and tracked. At this point, the Senate isn’t even aware of how many of these devices the IRS possesses.
It doesn’t do much to raise the trust factor for an institution that is shrouded in scandal and mismanagement.