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Police In Anaheim, Home Of Disneyland, Have Been Spying On Cell Phones

If you've used a cell phone at Disneyland in the last few years, chances are the Anaheim PD knows about it. (Tim Boyle/Getty Images)
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A new report from the American Civil Liberties Union has found that the Anaheim Police Department has spent years conducting secret cell phone surveillance.According to Buzzfeed, the device, called a "Dirtbox," was mounted to an airplane, and allowed the police to "collect information about thousands of phones at once." That information includes content, digital voice data, and text messages.

"[These devices range] from devices that can be placed in an airplane and flown above the city, or put in a van and driven around buildings or through neighborhoods," ACLU of Northern California attorney Matt Cagle told KPCC. "We think that because these devices can peer inside of constitutionally-protected spaces, such as homes, they risk invading reasonable expectations of privacy that our Constitution protects."

According to documents acquired by the ACLU, the surveillance dates back to 2009. And in 2011, the Anaheim Police Department even upgraded their equipment, purchasing a "Stingray," a land-based device that simulates a cell phone tower that the ACLU described as "military-grade."

"This cell phone spying program—which potentially affects the privacy of everyone from Orange County's 3 million residents to the 16 million people who visit Disneyland every year—shows the dangers of allowing law enforcement to secretly acquire surveillance technology," Cagle wrote in a blog post

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The City of Anaheim and the police department have not yet commented on the case, citing pending litigation with the ACLU.