Hearing set on ‘Hailstorm’ info gathering

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — A state House of Representatives hearing will be held Tuesday to discuss whether local law enforcement agencies should be allowed technology used to collect cellphone and communications information.

Rep. Tom McMillin (R-Rochester Hills) will hold the oversight hearing about something called “Hailstorm” and “Stingray.” The military-grade technology “gives local authorities the ability to capture and track data from hundreds of civilian phones without their knowledge,” according to a release from his office.

McMillin worries the technology could allow law enforcement’s long arm to stretch too far.

Part of his concern stems from the fact that he’s had a difficult time getting information about it. He wants more than just an assurance that the technology doesn’t impede citizens’ rights; he wants to know what the capabilities are.

If and when he gets answers, he said, he plans to make sure that state laws governing such activity keep up with this and future technology.

The Tuesday hearing, at which experts will explain the technology and its legal ramifications, will likely be only the beginning of the conversation on the state level that has been going on nationally for more than a year.

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