A New York State judge found that Stingray-related documents held by the Erie County Sheriff’s Office must be disclosed under New York’s open records laws. See Matter of New York Civil Liberties Union v. Erie County Sheriff’s Office, No. 2014/000206 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Erie Cnty. Mar. 17, 2015).

Originally developed for military use, the Stingray (also referred to as an IMSI catcher) is an electronic surveillance device used by law enforcement to simulate cell sites. By simulating a cell phone tower, the Stingray allows law enforcement to target and locate cell phones. Besides displaying information about the targeted cell phone, however, information about cell phones being used nearby also is collected.
Continue Reading New York’s Freedom of Information Law Requires Sheriff to Disclose Information about Stingray Surveillance Device

To deter identity theft and other abuses, New York state courts are now requiring litigants filing papers in civil actions to omit or redact certain confidential personal information. These new requirements are similar to the privacy protections effective in federal courts since 2007.  See Fed. R. Civ. P. 5.2.

By statute, New York has long required Social Security numbers to be removed or redacted from court filings. See N.Y. Gen. Bus. Law § 399-ddd(6); N.Y. Pub. Off. Law § 96-a(1). The new privacy rule now addresses these additional types of personally identifiable information:

  • taxpayer identification numbers, including not only Social Security numbers but also employer identification numbers;
  • dates of birth;
  • minors’ names; and
  • financial account numbers, including credit card, debit card, bank account, investment account and insurance account numbers.

Continue Reading New York State Courts Increase Privacy Protections for Litigation Filings