The 15 states in which the ACLU knows that police use cell phone tracking devices.
On Thursday evening, the ACLU published a 2009 e-mail exchange (PDF) between police departments in Sarasota, Florida, and North Port, Florida, indicating that local law enforcement had concealed the use of cell phone-tracking Stingray devices in court documents. Stingray is a trademark, but it has come to generally mean devices that can be used to track phones or even intercept calls and text messages.
Although the Sarasota Police Department and the North Point Police Department did not own Stingray devices, the two departments had borrowed the cell phone trackers from the US Marshals Service (USMS), which requested that they hide the use of the Stingrays from judges and defendants. The issue was discussed in the e-mails when the Sarasota Police Department realized that a North Point detective had been too explicit in a probable cause affidavit (PCA), specifically detailing “the investigative means used to locate the suspect.” The Sarasota Police asked that the North Point Police seal the old affidavit and submit a new, more vague one.
The e-mail continues:
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