Why does one California county sheriff have the highest rate of stingray use?

San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon speaks with the media regarding the shooting that occurred at the Inland Regional Center on December 2, 2015 in San Bernardino, California.

Enlarge / San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon speaks with the media regarding the shooting that occurred at the Inland Regional Center on December 2, 2015 in San Bernardino, California.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has sued the San Bernardino County sheriff over what the advocacy group says is a failure of the law enforcement agency to adequately release public records relating to its use of cell-site simulators, or "stingrays."

The lawsuit, Electronic Frontier Foundation v. County of San Bernardino et al., which was filed in county court on Tuesday, explains how a 2015 state law requires that law enforcement agencies in most cases seek a warrant to use the surveillance devices. Prior to the law's passage, Ars reported that since the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department (SBSD) acquired a stingray in late 2012, the agency has used it 303 times between January 1, 2014 and May 7, 2015, all without seeking a warrant.

The SBSD is the law enforcement agency for the entire county, the twelfth-most populous county in the United States, and the fifth-most populous in California.

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