Friday, March 28, 2014

Cities reluctant to reveal whether they’re using fake cell tower devices

Cities reluctant to reveal whether they’re using fake cell tower devices

Earlier in March, the ACLU filed a motion for public access request, requesting documents and information related to stingray use by nearly 30 Florida police and sheriff’s departments.

Among the responses published for the first time on Tuesday was the curious reply from the city of Sunrise, Florida, a town of about 88,000 people, just northwest of Miami.

Through its lawyers, Sunrise officially denied the request, noting that the city would neither confirm nor deny “whether any records responsive to the Request exist and, if any responsive records do exist, cannot and will not public disclose those records.” (In a footnote, the lawyers also cited this Ars story from September 2013 detailing stingrays and other related surveillance devices.) The ACLU published its response to the city’s denial on Tuesday.

As the ACLU points out in a Tuesday blog post, the city of Sunrise has already published an invoice from Harris on its own website dated March 13, 2013, showing that the city paid over $65,000 for a stingray. That document clearly states, in all-caps on each page, that “disclosure of this document and the information it contains are strictly prohibited by Federal Law.”

Sunrise’s attorneys did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment explaining this discrepancy.