In response to a recent lawsuit, the Anaheim Police Department (APD) in Southern California has released a short one-page letter attempting to explain how it seeks permission for and uses stingrays, the surveillance devices often used to track criminal suspects by locating their mobile phones. The letter was distributed to media and posted (PDF) on the APD’s site last Friday.
But after some online searching, Ars located a similarly publicly available document posted on the website of the city attorney of San Diego (PDF) that has near-identical language to the Anaheim letter. That document’s format indicates that it was authored by a federal agency. Another version of this stingray letter was released in February 2015 by the Gwinnett County Police Department in Northern Georgia.
When asked about the template, Lt. Eric Trapp, an APD spokesman, confirmed late Monday: “FBI material was consulted and considered. Some of that material was included in the content of the letter.”
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