Florida Judge Holds Cell Phone Searches Not Subject to Sunshine Law

Cell Phone Searches: We’ve written before about the federal government’s seizure of the records of “stringray” cell phone intercept devices. The ACLU filed an emergency motion in state court to try and enforce the records disclosure mandated under Florida’s public records law. Yesterday, the state court held that, because the police were using the stingray device at the behest of the federal government (as “sworn deputies”), and because Florida’s public records law doesn’t apply to the federal government, disclosure of the stingray records cannot be compelled.

While this is not an appellate court opinion, and is therefore not technically binding on other state courts in Florida (it’s considered persuasive, but not controlling) this sets a dangerous precedent for efforts to obtain law enforcement records for these technologies.