It's clear that local police use advanced cell phone tracking — finding out where you are, who you are with, who you're talking to — a lot more than we know, and that they're holding on to that data with little or not oversight.
Now, with a crowdsourced project to file targeted records requests across America, you can help fix that, in as little as 30 seconds.
The Associated Press recently detailed the lengths to which the federal government is going to keep these programs secret, coaching local agencies to keep programs quiet, and even going so far as to seize records if it believes that these documents will bring these programs to light.
This not only violates local public records law across the country, but a circuit court has found that many of these same techniques violate the Fourth Amendment. Un-Constitutional practices are being kept hidden from both democratic debate as well as court oversight.
With your help, we can change that. First, Beacon Reader has adjusted our campaign minimum, and now we're just $1,250 away from funding original reporting into how far these practices have gone, and where they are taking place all across America. Over the past two years, MuckRock's Drone Census has shown, time and time again, the power of public records requests and original reporting to spark transparency and meaningful debate.
Early indications are that cell phone tracking by local police is far more prevalent than drone usage — and far less reported on. Without your help, literally no one will be asking these questions in the hundreds of the cities and towns you're helping investigate.
Even just $5 can make a huge difference in helping us reach our funding goals and helping us continue to file, track, and share our original reporting on this issue. So if you can, please donate today. It makes a real, tangible difference.
And whether you can or can't afford to financially contribute, we need your help in deciding where to file and what tips to follow up on. Use the form below to submit a local agency's information if you think we should file there — we're primarily interested in law enforcement, but just like the Drone Census, the results can be surprising. And email firstname.lastname@example.org with tips on news stories, police reports, and other information on cell phone tapping in your home town and around the country.
*Image: jscheib via Creative Commons
Want to learn more about public records? Join MuckRock and start submitting requests for government documents today. Stay on top of FOIA news by signing up for our mailing list, follow us on Twitter, or "Like" us on Facebook.