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Posted under: News Politics

Detroit Police Spent $622,000 On Technology To Track Citizens On Their Cell Phone

Freedom of information request show the purchase and attempted cover up.

Detroit police purchased technology allowing them to actively track people's locations through their cell phones, according to documents obtained through a freedom of information request by Shadowproof.

The technology was purchased by from KeyW corporation for $622,000 in 2016, along with a non-disclosure agreement between the two parties, instructing the city of Detroit to notify the corporation of any record request into its work so they could block the disclosure.

“KEYW shall, if it chooses, take action to prevent the disclosure and notify the receiving party of this action in no more than the time receiving party has to respond to the disclosure request,” the NDA reads.

Such technologies sparked interest and outrage across the countries, leading to many cities passing legislation requiring police departments to inform the public and gain approval of the city council before acquiring the technology. Neither Detroit or the state of Michigan require such steps.



“The fact that no public input is mandated is really problematic,” said Shelli Weisberg, political director at the ACLU of Michigan. “Having a privacy ordinance like that would be beneficial in Michigan.”

Detroit is not the only department using this technology. The Michigan State Police and Oakland County Sheriff’s Department posses similar cell-site simulators.

While a Supreme Court decision ruling cell phone data as private information law enforcement would need a warrant to access, different cities like Chicago have been able to deploy the technology without warrants by misleading courts on the capability of the technology.

Information received by Shadowproof showed the simulator was deployed 66 times between January 1 and October 31, 2018.

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