Compliance Management, Privacy

Judge thwarts Chicago police’s attempt to deny public stingray records

A Cook County Circuit Court Judge yesterday denied a Chicago Police Department (CPD) motion to dismiss an activist's request for public documentation pertaining to the CDP's use of stingray devices.

The case's plaintiff, activist Freddy Martinez, filed a request in September 2014 under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), seeking records on stingrays, which spoof cell towers in order to trace the location of individuals' phones and sometimes intercept calls and texts.

CPD argued that it reasonably complied, but Judge Kathleen Kennedy ruled the department's attempts at searching for relevant documentation were “inadequate” and that it failed to meet its burden of proof when claiming certain files were exempt from disclosure. Kennedy will now privately review the documents to determine if any should be withheld from the public.

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