State Police Using Cellphone 'Extraction' Device
DETROIT -- The Michigan chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is questioning the Michigan State Police's use of cellphone "extraction" devices.
The ACLU said MSP has used the devices to access information from cellphones that officers ask drivers they have pulled over to give them.
"It can contain information that many people consider to be private, to be beyond the reach of law enforcement and other government actors," said Mark Fancher, an ACLU attorney.
The ACLU is asking why the state police is using devices that can gather data stored on cellphones, and why it is not telling the public about it. The ACLU said the devices could violate Fourth Amendment rights.
"There is great potential for abuse here by a police officer or a state trooper who may not be monitored or supervised on the street," Fancher said.
MSP released a statement this week that said it is working "in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act."
"The State Police will provide information in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act ... there may be a processing fee to search for, retrieve, examine and separate exempt material ... ," MSP said in a statement.
Fancher said MSP priced that information, pertaining to five devices, at about $500,000.
"This should be something that they are handing over freely, and that they should be more than happy to share with the public -- the routines and the guidelines that they follow," Fancher said.
The national ACLU has asked similar questions about the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's use of devices to gather information from travelers' computers and cellphones.