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States Seek to Limit Use of Cell Phone Surveillance Tools

June 16, 2014  | 

Nine states this year placed new legal limits on police cell phone surveillance after revelations that law enforcement agencies across the country are gathering cell phone data of thousands of people at once, reports USA Today.

At least 10 more legislatures weighed similar legislation after USA TODAY and affiliated newspapers and TV stations reported in December about widespread local and state police use of technology to gather cell phone records in bulk. Some individual police agencies tightened internal oversight, too.

Meanwhile, federal law enforcement agencies continue to intervene to help local and state governments prevent release of public records about the use of cell phone surveillance tools.

In Florida, court records show the U.S. Marshals Service seized city police records about use of cell phone surveillance devices, which had been sought under the state's open records law. The parties were in court Thursday, as debate continues about whether the records belong to the Sarasota (Fla.) Police Department or the Marshals Service.

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