- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A local privacy activist who outed the Chicago Police Department for purchasing eavesdropping technology has now filed a second lawsuit for the department to disclose what privacy safeguards it uses when employing cellphone-tapping devices.

Software developer Freddy Martinez’s latest litigation aims to obtain all court orders where Chicago police officers used the cellphone-tapping technology, and any records discussing the constitutionality of such devices, technology website Ars Technica reported.

“The public has a right to know the extent to which the police are secretly taking information from their cell phones and whether their Constitutional rights are being protected in the process,” Mr. Martinez’ lawyer Matt Topic said in a statement, the website reported. “The Chicago Police Department has refused to produce a single document that would show the extent this is happening and with what Constitutional safeguards. This plainly violates the Freedom of Information Act and raises serious Constitutional concerns.”

Mr. Martinez filed a lawsuit in June to find out more about the department’s use of IMSI catchers — mobile devices also know as “StringRay” that can pinpoint a cellphone user’s location and listen in on conversations — after his Illinois Freedom of Information Act requests were ignored.

That lawsuit yielded three pages of invoices, dating back to 2009, that showed the department purchased a particular model of Stingray and an upgrade, according to Ars Technica. No further details were provided, and the department is working to have Mr. Martinez’s initial lawsuit dismissed.

Ars Technica attempted to speak with Harris Corporation, the makers of StingRay devices, but were told by spokesman Jim Burke, “We do not comment on solutions we may or may not provide to classified Department of Defense or law enforcement agencies.”

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