Police departments are increasingly using advanced technology to track cellphone data and monitor the activity of American citizens. Civil liberties and privacy advocates object to the widespread use of devices used for this type of surveillance, and have filed several public records requests with Florida law enforcement agencies.
In one case, hours before a city police department was scheduled to release public records to a representative of the American Civil Liberties Union, the Marshals Service intervened to claim the records. The federal agency said it had deputized the local officer who created the records, and therefore the documents were federal property not subject to state public records law.
Media Partner Scott Ponce described the intervention as “gamesmanship,” adding, “We deal frequently with state agencies giving copies of documents to federal agencies, and incorrectly claiming that something about the transfer makes them exempt from state public records law, but I have never seen the transfer of the creator of the records.”
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