Judge Says Cell Phone Tracking Device Details Can Stay Secret

Published: Monday, December 15, 2014 - 3:17pm

The Pima County Superior Court has ruled that Arizonans are not entitled to details on a device that allows police to track cell phone data. The decision blocks the public from viewing things like training manuals for a device called the “StingRay."

The StingRay is a portable device that mimics a cell tower. Cell phones in range log in, providing police data like numbers called and call duration.

Superior Court Judge Douglas Metcalf said revealing more details on the device would give criminals a road map on how to defeat it.

The Tucson City Attorney calls the ruling “reasoned," but Daniel Pochoda, an ACLU attorney representing a reporter seeking the documents, said he disagrees and he’s unsure if there will be an appeal.

The legal fight has revealed some additional information. Officials in Tucson have admitted to using the device at least 5 times without obtaining warrants in those cases.

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