Offering asides, recommended links, blogworthy quotations, and more, In Brief is the Northwest Progressive Institute's microblog of world, national, and local politics.

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U.S. Marshals seize local cops’ spying records to keep them from ACLU

In a move that staff for the American Civil Liberties Union are calling “beyond the worst transparency violations” they’ve seen, the U.S. Marshals Service has seized documents belonging to the police department of Sarasota, Florida, merely to prevent the ACLU from looking at them. The documents pertain to a case in which the Sarasota police used a device that simulates a cell tower to locate and track smartphones without obtaining a probable cause warrant. The device, called a stingray, works by tricking mobiles into believing they’re connecting to a carrier’s tower.