The NYPD was backed down by a state judge who ruled that the department must answer to a public records request about its surveillance of Black Lives Matter protesters’ cell phones and social media activities.

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State Supreme Court Justice Arlene Bluth agreed with members of the civil group on Monday, rejecting the NYPD’s argument that releasing the information would compromise its counterterrorism and criminal investigations, the New York Times reported.

In 2017, the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) filed a Freedom of Information Law request on behalf of Millions March NYC, a group that’s linked to the Black Lives Matter movement.


The department initially rejected the request for information with the blanket statement that it could “neither confirm nor deny” the existence of those records, citing what’s known as a “Glomar response” that’s mostly used in national security surveillance cases, according to the NYCLU.

Bluth warned the department that it’s violating the law if the police used cell-site simulator technology and “cannot hide exposure of that fact through a Glomar response.”