(AllGov) The San Diego Police Department (SDPD) does not deny having and deploying Stingray technology that mimics cell towers and allows law enforcement to track people. Then again, they don’t admit it either. Mostly, officials don’t talk about it because they, and other departments in a similar situation, signed an agreement saying they wouldn’t.

Last week, the First Amendment Coalition filed a lawsuit (pdf) against the department and the city asking them to disclose any information they have about the possession and use of International Mobile Subscriber Identity Catchers (IMSI), better know in the trade as Stingrays.

The device has been around for years and has mostly been used domestically by the FBI. But the accelerated militarization of local police since 9/11 has contributed to the widespread use of the technology by local cops, raising serious questions about privacy and abuse of civil liberties. An estimated 40-50 law enforcement agencies use them.

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