Josh Gerstein of Politico reports that the Department of Justice has lost part of its fight to keep secret the identities of individuals prosecuted and convicted of crimes where their cellphones were tracked without a warrant. Individuals whose cases were filed under sealed or acquitted were not subject to the release as their identies were protected by FOIA exemptions 6 and 7(C).
However, according to the decision of U.S. District Judge James Robertson for the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, those convicted of a crime had a lesser privacy interest in their identies than the public interest in the release of their names. Thus, the court ordered the disclosure of the names to plaintiffs' Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union.
The judge further concluded that the templates used for the cellphone authorizations were protected under FOIA exemptions 2 and 7(E) and the Department of Justice properly searched for the requested records.