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Legislature approves warrant requirement for cell simulators

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A bill to require police to get a warrant before using a device that collects cellphone data by simulating a transmitter tower has been approved without opposition by both chambers of the Washington state Legislature.

House Bill 1440, which restricts how law enforcement can use a “Stingray” device, passed the Senate 47-0 Tuesday after clearing the House 97-0 in March. The Senate added an amendment to the bill to clarify that it won’t affect the use of power-company maintenance devices, so the House will need to approve the modification before the bill advances to the governor’s desk.

The Tacoma News Tribune reported last summer that Tacoma police had used a cell site simulator for six years without county judges knowing that the department had the device.

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