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cell tower is seen from a neighborhood in North Andover, Mass. Photo: Elise Amendola / AP

The Department of Homeland Security used cell phone-tracking devices across the U.S. 1,885 times between 2013 and 2017, according to documents obtained by BuzzFeed.

Why it matters: The technology has been criticized by the ACLU for invading the privacy of people in the area not under investigation, as it can collect data from their phones as well, BuzzFeed reports.

How it works: Homeland Security Investigations used "cell-site simulator over-the-air technology," which acts as a cell phone tower, making phones in the area connect to them. It can be used to track down a suspect if authorities already have their phone information.

In a 2015 policy, the DHS said law enforcement agencies had to receive a warrant before using the cell-site simulators, and required them to delete data immediately after a mission.But, how law enforcement uses the devices, "including how often and under what circumstances," is still unclear, per BuzzFeed.

Go deeper

Biden's Day 1 challenges: Systemic racism

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Kirsty O'Connor (PA Images)/Getty Images

Advocates are pushing President-elect Biden to tackle systemic racism with a Day 1 agenda that includes ending the detention of migrant children and expanding DACA, announcing a Justice Department investigation of rogue police departments and returning some public lands to Indigenous tribes.

Why it matters: Biden has said the fight against systemic racism will be one of the top goals of his presidency — but the expectations may be so high that he won't be able to meet them.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
2 hours ago - Health

Most Americans are still vulnerable to the coronavirus

Adapted from Bajema, et al., 2020, "Estimated SARS-CoV-2 Seroprevalence in the US as of September 2020"; Cartogram: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

As of September, the vast majority of Americans did not have coronavirus antibodies, according to a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Why it matters: As the coronavirus spreads rapidly throughout most of the country, most people remain vulnerable to it.

Trump set to appear at Pennsylvania GOP hearing on voter fraud claims

President Trumpat the White House on Tuesday. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump is due to join his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Wednesday at a Republican-led state Senate Majority Policy Committee hearing to discuss alleged election irregularities.

Why it matters: This would be his first trip outside of the DMV since Election Day and comes shortly after GSA ascertained the results, formally signing off on a transition to President-elect Biden.