The American Civil Liberties Union has lost in its attempt to get the city of Sarasota, Florida, to hand over city records pertaining to the use of stingrays, or fake cell tower surveillance devices.
As we reported earlier this month, the ACLU asked a Florida court for an emergency motion (PDF) that would require the city to make its stingray records available via a public records request. These devices, which are also known as international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI) catchers, can be used to track phones or, in some cases, intercept calls and text messages.
The term “Stingray” is a trademarked product manufactured by a Florida-based company, the Harris Corporation. But it has since come to be used as a generic term, like Xerox or Kleenex. Harris is notoriously secretive about the capabilities of its devices and generally won’t talk to the press about their capabilities or deployments.
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