An open government group has sued the San Diego Police Department for information about high-tech surveillance devices called Stingrays that indiscriminately gather large amounts of cellphone data in order to locate a target.
The First Amendment Coalition, a nonprofit legal advocacy organization, filed a lawsuit Monday in San Diego Superior Court compelling the release of training materials, policy guidelines and judicial authorizations for the surveillance tool.
So far, the Police Department has refused to release any information, with the exception of a heavily redacted $33,000 purchase order made out to the company that manufactures the Stingray.
Peter Scheer, a First Amendment lawyer and executive director of the First Amendment Coalition, wants more.
“I just think they’re making a mistake by not trying to be as forthcoming as they can,” said Scheer about the San Diego police. “Yes, some information is sensitive. Yes, we don’t want to disclose a lot of details about some things which would enable bad guys to figure out how to evade detection.”
“But that doesn’t mean you can’t say anything,” he said.