n. A device that spoofs a cellular network tower to identify and track mobile phones.
Police in Florida have offered a startling excuse for having used a controversial "stingray" cellphone tracking gadget 200 times without ever telling a judge: the device’s manufacturer made them sign a non-disclosure agreement that they say prevented them from telling the courts.
—Kim Zetter, “Florida Cops’ Secret Weapon: Warrantless Cellphone Tracking,” Wired, March 03, 2014
Local police are increasingly able to scoop up large amounts of cellphone data using new technologies, including cell tower dumps and secret mobile devices known as Stingrays.
—John Kelly, “Senator pushes for controls on cellphone tracking,” USA Today, December 09, 2013
For more than a year, federal authorities pursued a man they called simply "the Hacker." Only after using a little known cellphone-tracking device—a stingray—were they able to zero in on a California home and make the arrest.
—Jennifer Valentino-Devries, “'Stingray' Phone Tracker Fuels Constitutional Clash,” The Wall Street Journal, September 22, 2011
2006 (earliest)
StingRay is a multichannel software defined radio that performs network base station surveys, Dialed Number and registration collection, mobile interrogation, and target tracking.
—“StingRay™” (PDF), Harris Corporation, November 29, 2006
Given such an apparatus, you can charge calls to essentially any GSM phone whose IMSI you know. IMSIs can be harvested by eavesdropping, both passive and active; 'IMSI-catchers' are commercially available.
—Ross Anderson, “GSM hack — operator flunks the challenge,” The Risks Digest, December 05, 1997