Ten days after the American Civil Liberties Union sued Anaheim to produce documents about the use of cellphone snooping technology, Anaheim Police Department Chief Raul Quezada issued a “letter to the community” explaining why his department uses the technology.
Quezada said he intended to “provide clarification as the use of this technology the Anaheim Police Department to reinforce the high level of trust and transparency we have forged through strong police/community relationships.”
Quezada said police need a court order from a judge before using the so- called Stingrays. Quezda emphasized the snooping device does not “retain third- party information that it encounters in the process of locating the targeted cellphone.”
Quezada added the “device does not create or feed any sort of database.”
A StingRay “cannot identify the operator of a cellphone, cannot intercept the content of calls or texts, and our personnel do not have the ability to listen to calls or read text messages using this device,” Quezada wrote.
Quezada said the device “enhances our ability to deliver (the highest level of public safety service), and measures are in place to ensure its use is appropriate, measured, and in accordance with the law.”
The ACLU filed a lawsuit March 10 in Orange County Superior Court alleging that Anaheim police were refusing to produce documents about the use of cellphone snooping technology.
The ACLU submitted public records requests last year to Anaheim seeking more information on the police department’s use of StingRays, a surveillance device that can be used to track cellphone movements.
ACLU attorney Peter Bibring said the “chief provided some useful information. Too bad the department didn’t supply that in response to our public records requests… It forced us to sue the department to disclose that information.”
Bibring added, “the information the chief does provide leaves a lot out.”
—City News Service
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