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Tacoma police using surveillance device to sweep up cellphone data

The Tacoma Police Department apparently has bought — and quietly used for six years — controversial surveillance equipment that can sweep up records of every cellphone call, text message and data transfer up to a half a mile away, according to The News Tribune.

You don’t have to be a criminal to be caught in this law enforcement snare. You just have to be near one and use a cellphone.

Officials initially told the Tacoma City Council that the device would be used to find and prevent improvised explosive devices, but an assistant police chief later said it has never been used in that way.

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