Maine State Police May Be Spying on You

Portland Press Herald
February 9, 2020

Police and governments are increasingly turning to new tracking and monitoring methods in their efforts to prevent and record evidence of crimes. A Portland Press Herald investigation examines these expanding law enforcement abilities and the constitutionality of surveillance technology.

An Excerpt

The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram requested a range of public documents relating to facial recognition technology and cell site simulators from the Maine State Police under Maine’s Freedom of Access Act. . . . Christopher Parr, staff attorney for the Maine State Police, issued formal denials to both requests. . . . “Answering your inquiry would require us to confirm the existence or nonexistence of records and information relating to the type of technology that is the subject of your email,” Parr said in November. “As a matter of law, we are unable to confirm the existence or nonexistence of such records and information.”

Sigmund Schutz, an attorney for the Press Herald and Telegram, is challenging that interpretation and asking the state to reconsider its denial. He noted that the request does not pertain to a specific investigation or person, nor does it pertain to a type of technology that is unknown to the public.

“Based on the nature of the records sought, it is not plausible that disclosure of any or all of the requested records would cause any of the harms that would warrant confidentiality,” Schutz wrote.