IRS using Stingray spy system, senators demand to know why

Two senators want to know why the Internal Revenue Service appears to be spying on taxpayers.

In an Oct. 29 letter to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and ranking member Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., asked what the IRS is doing with cell-site simulators known as Stingrays.

"While the devices can be useful tools for identifying the location of a suspect's cellphone or identifying an unknown cellphone, we have previously expressed concerns about the privacy implications of these devices, as well as the inconsistent practices and policies across the federal, state and local agencies that employ them," the senators wrote.

The senators asked for information on a range of specifics. Those included whether the department has any policies governing the use of the technology, whether it loans the devices out to state or local agencies and the number of devices the department owns.

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