The U.S. Justice Department will begin disclosing more information about how law enforcement officials use secret cellphone tracking devices and is reviewing how the technology is deployed, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.
The newspaper, quoting Justice Department officials, said senior officials had determined they must be more open about the way the devices are used and why, although there was no agreement about how much to disclose or how quickly.
Asked about the report, Justice Department spokesman Patrick Rodenbush said: “With regard to this particular technology, the Department of Justice is in the process of examining its policies to ensure they reflect the department’s continuing commitment to conducting its vital missions while according appropriate respect for privacy and civil liberties.”
The Journal said the FBI had begun getting search warrants to use the technology that traces criminal suspects through their cellphones. For years, the bureau did not get such warrants, the paper added.
Inside the Justice Department, the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service and Drug Enforcement Administration deploy the technology, the Journal said, with each agency having its own rules about how to use it.
The technology was created over a decade ago to help hunt militants and spies abroad. The Journal said many local police departments were now using it to track criminal suspects they are investigating.
(Reporting by Peter Cooney; Editing by Eric Walsh)