Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Public Access Counselor Declines Reporter's Public Records Request For Indiana State Police's Use Of Warrantless Tracking Technology

An Indianapolis Star reporter's public records request of the Indiana State Police to produce purchase orders and invoices regarding any technology it may have purchased from Florida-based Harris Corporation that can be used to conduct warrantless mobile phone tracking was denied on the grounds that public disclosure of the police agency's use of the technology would have "a reasonable likelihood of threatening public safety." Hah! It's public knowledge that the FBI uses Harris' Sting Ray mobile phone tracking system, but Indiana's Public Access Counselor Luke Britt agrees with Capt. David Bursten that it's none of your damn business what kind of warrantless tracking devices the police agency is using. While he agreed with the Star reporter's contention that "contracts and other vital financial information that show how government agencies spend tax dollars and are traditionally among the most readily available public documents at an agency," he's giving ISP the benefit of the doubt because "the nature of this records request is particularly sensitive." Courts are still trying to sort out the potential for Fourth Amendment violations as a warrantless search. The ACLU applauded a decision of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals today holding that the Fourth Amendment requires law enforcement agencies to obtain a search warrant based on probable cause to attach a GPS tracking device to a car.

Hat tip to Indiana Law Blog.

1 comment:

Kenneth Barn said...

I hope that this issue would be settled soon.