Groups Sue U.S. for Records on Cell-Phone Tracking

WASHINGTON - The American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a lawsuit in federal court on Tuesday, seeking records related to the U.S. government's use of cell phones as tracking devices.


The suit was filed under the Freedom of Information Act.


According to published reports, the ACLU filed a FOIA request with the Department of Justice in November 2007, seeking records regarding the policies for tracking people through their cell-phone use. The request also asked for information on how many times the government tracked people through their cell phones without first determining probable cause that a crime was taking place.


Department of Justice representatives have declined to comment on the case, but a spokesman said "law enforcement has absolutely no interest in tracking the locations of law-abiding citizens." Instead, he said, tracking through cell-phone use is done to "lawfully obtain data to help locate criminal suspects, sometimes in cases where lives are literally hanging in the balance, such as a child-abduction case or a serial murderer on the loose."


A hearing date for the lawsuit was not immediately available.