April 21, 2011, 1:15 PM — On Wednesday I and others reported that Michigan State Police were using data-extraction devices (DEDs) to pull information from the cell phones of drivers during routine traffic stops.
The MSP says it ain't so.
In a press release on Wednesday, the police group said:
The MSP only uses the DEDs if a search warrant is obtained or if the person possessing the mobile device gives consent. The department*s internal directive is that the DEDs only be used by MSP specialty teams on criminal cases, such as crimes against children.
The DEDs are not being used to extract citizens' personal information during routine traffic stops.
The MSP also said it "has worked with the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) to narrow the focus" of that organization's Freedom of Information Act request regarding how the DEDs were being used by State Police.
The ACLU filed an FOIA request in August 2008 for records and logs documenting how the MSP was using the devices. The police responded by saying it would be happy to comply, but only if the civil rights group paid $554,680.
Talk about taking the "free" out of Freedom of Information!
No word yet from the ACLU about the MSP's recent statements.
If any readers are from Michigan and have experience with the MSP and their DEDs, please leave a comment below. Let's get some information from the field.