Civic News
Crime / Privacy / Technology

CityLab map shows how stingray use disproportionately affects people of color

The site mapped the Baltimore's Police Department's use of the cellphone tracking tool.

Are foreign powers using stingrays? (Photo via Harris Corp.)

Along with privacy, advocates digging into police use of tracking technology are also consistently raising concerns about the potential that it will disproportionately affect people of color.
When it comes to the cellphone tower simulator known as the stingray, CityLab offers evidence that the vast majority — 90 percent — of uses of the tool were used in non-white neighborhoods in Baltimore.

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The mapping project attempts to compare neighborhoods that have similar income levels and crime rates. It compares the Druid Hill Park-adjacent neighborhoods of Hampden-Woodberry and Reservoir Hill:

Both Hampden-Woodberry and Reservoir Hill have significant numbers of lower-income residents, and unsurprisingly occasional robberies and assaults occur in each, yet police uses of Stingrays are far more concentrated in the mostly black Reservoir Hill.

The police use of stingrays is currently on hold in Baltimore. The police department used the devices thousands of times over eight years, but the public didn’t know. A judge ruled that use of the device violates the Fourth Amendment.

Companies: Baltimore Police Department

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