A state appellate judge has reinstated a lawsuit alleging the New York City Police Department illegally keeps information on 360,000 people stopped under the department's stop, question and frisk program.
The suit was filed by two plaintiffs stopped by police in 2009, whose cases were later dismissed.
They say the NYPD refuses to seal their records, leaving them vulnerable to false targeting by police.
The New York Civil Liberties Union is celebrating the ruling.
"We and many other people are very concerned that once the police department gets information in an electronic database, you never know where it goes, you never know how they're using it," said Chris Dunn, an associate legal director at the New York Civil Liberties Union. "You never know if they actually seal it when they're required to, and that's an ongoing concern that we have about these burgeoning police department databases."
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has said the department keeps the information for use in future criminal investigations.
In a statement, the New York City Law Department says it plans to fight the case in trial court, arguing the plaintiffs' allegations have no merit.