EFF is seeking to make public court records that would show how law enforcement in San Bernardino County, California use cell-site simulators and other invasive surveillance technologies. In 2019, EFF petitioned the San Bernardino County Superior Court to review and unseal 22 search warrants that appear to be sealed in violation of California’s penal code. EFF filed its petition after an earlier lawsuit it filed under the California Public Records Act showed that law enforcement in the county were disregarding the transparency measures baked into the California Electronic Communications Privacy Act (CalECPA) and improperly sealing search warrant records indefinitely.
After filing our unsealing petition, law enforcement agreed to unseal one search warrant in its entirety as well as parts of the other search warrants EFF sought. Authorities, however, refused to release the affidavits written by law enforcement in support of eight search warrants, arguing that they must remain sealed in their entirety to protect law enforcement investigations and the identities of confidential witnesses. In January 2021, the trial court hearing EFF's petition agreed with law enforcement and ruled that the search warrant affidavits must remain sealed indefinitely. EFF has appealed that ruling to the California Fourth District Court of Appeal.
EFF is litigating the case along with co-counsel from the Law Office of Michael T. Risher.