Judiciary Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-7291

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING THE USE OF CELL SITE SIMULATOR DEVICES BY LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS TO CONDUCT CELLULAR TELEPHONE SURVEILLANCE.

Vote Date:

4/7/2017

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

3/27/2017

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Judiciary Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

Rep. Sampson proposed

SUBSTITUTE LANGUAGE:

Establishes a law enforcement official may install and use a cell site simulator device to obtain geo-location data for no longer than 48 hrs. If the official wants to use device longer they will need to make application for an ex parte order and file, as part of the application, a statement under oath attesting to the facts and beliefs as to why, including date and time of use of device.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Judicial Branch: They have concerns with the proposed bill requiring law enforcement to file a statement with the clerk of the Superior Court and feel they should be filed and retained by either Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection or the Division of Criminal Justice.

Office of Chief Public Defender, Assistant Public Defender Tejas Bhatt:

The office is in support of this proposal which will address the use of “stingray” devices (cell site simulators) by law enforcement and the law is necessary to ensure protections of the Fourth Amendment. They believe that this bill strikes the correct balance between protecting the rights of individuals and giving law enforcement the tools they need to conduct criminal investigations.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

State Representative Robert C. Sampson, 8th Assembly District:

This bill makes several updates to our laws with respect to the advances of technology available both to the public and to state and local law enforcement agencies. The law would increase the threshold required to obtain location data from cell service providers to probable cause and addresses new technology referred to as “stingrays” currently not addressed in CT laws. He is looking forward to passage of this bill.

American Civil Liberties Union of CT, Executive Director David McGuire: This bill follows up a cell phone surveillance bill passes last session that was a product of extended discussions between their organization, the Office of Chief State's Attorney, and Office of Chief Public Defender. The bill would clarify shared intention for the law to require police to prove that they have probable cause to believe that a crime has been or is being committed or that exigent circumstances exist before using a cell-site simulator (“stingray”) to track people. Requiring probable cause before police use a stingray to track a person strikes the appropriate balance, ensuring that legitimate investigations can go forward without eroding the privacy rights of people in CT.

Connecticut Criminal Defense Lawyers Associaton, Aaron J. Romano: They believe that without this law the citizens of CT would be exposed to violations of their right against unreasonable searches under the Fourth Amendments and the CT Constitution Article First Section Nine. They urge support of this bill.

Stephen Feagin: Feels that this act is crucial to maintaining proper checks on police discretionary power and upholding the basic principles of privacy. Urge support.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

None Submitted

Reported by: Staci M. Roy

Date: 4/10/2017