ACLU Seeks Details on Government Phone Tracking in Massive Nationwide Information Request

Campaign is one of the largest coordinated information act requests in American History BOSTON — In a massive coordinated information-seeking campaign, 34 American Civil Liberties Union affiliates in 31 states across the nation today are sending requests to 379 local law enforcement agencies–including 11 in Massachusetts–demanding to know when, why, and how they are using cell phone location data to track Americans. The campaign is one of the largest coordinated information act requests in American history. The requests, being filed under the states’ freedom of information laws, are an effort to strip away the secrecy that has surrounded law enforcement use of cell phone tracking capabilities. “The ability to access cell phone location data is an incredibly powerful tool and its use is shrouded in secrecy. The public has a right to know how and under what circumstances their location information is being accessed by the government,” said Catherine Crump, staff attorney for the ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project. “A detailed history of someone’s movements is extremely personal and is the kind of information the Constitution protects.” In Massachusetts, the ACLU is seeking information from the State Police, along with police departments in the following ten cities and towns: Springfield, Worcester, Pittsfield, New Bedford, Fall River, Lawrence, Lowell, Barnstable, Brockton, Newton. “In this day and age, cellphones are in the pockets and purses of most Americans, giving the government–and hackers–a quick and easy way to track all of us all the time,” said Laura R