The ACLU looked into this further and says some agencies are not turning over public records. Now the ACLU is suing the Sarasota Police Department over the public's right to know.
Sarasota, Florida -- Police are now collecting information from your cell phones, and in most cases it's being done without a warrant.
10 Investigates first brought you this story last year. The ACLU looked into this further and says some agencies are not turning over public records. Now the ACLU is suing the Sarasota Police Department over the public's right to know.
"It's our position a warrant is needed for this level of scrutiny," says Andrea Mogensen with the ACLU.
When using your cell phone, police can track your every step through a device called a Stingray. It's a device the ACLU says the Sarasota Police Department and other agencies secretly use.
Mogensen says, "SPD is telling us they don't own the technology, what they are doing is burrowing from the federal government, using that as a way to avoid going around the state regulations of transparency."
When the ACLU made a public record requests to Sarasota Police for the files and court documents Mogensen says a yes quickly turned into a no.
Mogensen says, "Those records swept up by the Federal Government in an effort to prevent the public from finding how the device is used -- it's an unprecedented level of secrecy."
Police are now collecting information from your cell phones, and in most cases it's being done without a warrant.
The ACLU is suing the Sarasota Police Department to make the documents public and prevent any more documents from being transferred.
Deputy Chief Stephen Moyer with the Sarasota Police Department says, "The Sarasota Police Department disagrees with the information that's been presented."
The brief case size device acts as a fake cell phone tower. The device tricks nearby phones into connecting to it so they feed information to the police. The 10 Investigates team revealed Jacksonville, Sunrise and Miami-Dade admit owning the stingray and records show FDLE buying 6 to use statewide.
According to the ACLU the stingray can track cell phones within a one mile radius and that can add up to a lot of cell phone users who are being unfairly targeted.
"Who's being called, who's being texted, how long the call is and the GPS information, where the person is going. It's a significant amount of information it's a significant intrusion into the privacy of all persons within range of the device," says Mogensen.