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ACLU Makes Cell Phone Tracking Request to Maui Police

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The map details which states the ACLU filed requests for cell phone data tracking from authorities. Photo courtesy of ACLU.

By Sonia Isotov

This week, in a massive coordinated information-seeking campaign, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is sending 379 requests to local law enforcement agencies, including the Maui Police Department, demanding to know when, why and how they are using cell phone location data to track Americans across the country.

The requests are being filed under the states’ freedom of information laws and are an effort to strip away the secrecy that has surrounded law enforcement use of cell phone tracking capabilities.


The campaign is reportedly one of the largest coordinated information act requests in American history with over 34 ACLU affiliates filing 379 requests in 31 states across the country.

“The ability to access cell phone location data is an incredibly powerful tool and its use is shrouded in secrecy. The public has a right to know how and under what circumstances their location information is being accessed by the government,” said Catherine Crump, staff attorney for the ACLU Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, in a written statement. “A detailed history of someone’s movements is extremely personal and is the kind of information the Constitution protects.”

In Hawaii, the ACLU requests for information on cell phone tracking are being filing at the following agencies: Department of Land and Natural Resources, Hawaii County Police Department, Honolulu Police Department, Kauai Police Department, Maui Police Department, and the Hawaii Sheriff’s Department.


The requests seek information from local law enforcement agencies, including:

  • whether law enforcement agents demonstrate probable cause and obtain a warrant to access cell phone location data;
  • statistics on how frequently law enforcement agencies obtain cell phone location data;
  • how much money law enforcement agencies spend tracking cell phones and
  • other policies and procedures used for acquiring location data.

In a statement today, the ACLU explained that the public has a right to know how and under what circumstances their location information is being accessed by the government – and that is exactly what they hope these information requests will uncover.

More information about the requests is available at:

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