Your cell phone may be ratting you out

July 9, 2012

Law enforcement agencies nationwide have dramatically increased surveillance of American citizens through their cell phones over the past five years. (New York Times)

With data provided by a congressional inquiry, the newspaper reported Sunday that more than 1.3 million demands by law agencies for subscriber data were fielded by cell phone carriers during the past 12 months.

That’s a five-fold increase over the period, with thousands of requests being handled by carriers each day.

Types of law enforcement making the demands, and details of their surveillance needs, were not calculated. But cell company representatives told congressional investigators that the ever-widening electronic scrutiny incorporated local police seeking information on ordinary street crimes, to financial crimes and intelligence probes by state and federal government agents.

Information provided by the newspaper suggested that most cell phone carriers frequently denied requests and took those battles to court.

“I never expected it to be this massive,” said Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., who requested the data from nine carriers.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

There has been talk about this since I was a kid. And I am 68 now. If they have tracked me over the years if my name is mentioned there is a collective yawn going on. Hope they are listening I would like to bore them to death.

God Bless all

Forget the cell phone. Sounds like we have a bunch of people here who watch Person of Interest each week on tv. Just remember that The Machine is tracking you and knows everything; you aren’t paranoid, they really ARE out to get you.

The thing that bugs me the most about this issue is that it doesn’t seem to matter which party is in the White House; very upsetting that President Bush used 9/11 as an excuse to dramatically increase the surveillance of Americans, but almost more upsetting that President Obama has kept all of those programs in place, apparently. Not too surprising though, when is the last time a president willingly gave up some power or the ability to use the national intelligence apparatus. “I love my country but fear my government” is more appropriate than ever. With the ability to edit available, how does one know that rather innocent conversations wouldn’t be edited into a recording that could implicate you as some sort of conspirator or terrorist? Prudence would suggest to always keep in mind in all electronic communications that someone may be listening or reading what you are doing. Creepy.

Old ones…NO…. new ones yes, just like the gps chip in Your dog. Always consider what Your going to say… bfore You do it.

Welcome to the police state. The noose is tightening.

at this point they aren’t recording calls, but they certainly can track who you called and how long you talk. It’s your text messages that create the biggest worries. Basically if you don’t want it stored somewhere online, just don’t put it in writing of any form on the internet or your phone. Woe to all you texters and facebook users, you really give them much more ammunition than you think. And they do know exactly who you are and where you are, so don’t think because you use a “pen name” they aren’t on to you. No need to be paranoid, just aware; because big brother is watching. Unfortunately it is what it is, can’t get the truth out of government, but they know everything they want to know about us.

Unfortunately, you are engaging in wishful thinking. At this time, they are recording everything and scanning it.

Not only cell phones, the internett is the same and surveillance cameras not to mention drones flying overhead silent and unseen.. Everything we do is monitored by something or someone. Privacy will be a luxury in years to come. Those addicted to the wireless world can’t hide anything even where the sun don’t shine.

Reason number 85 why I make less than 5 phone calls on my cell phone per month, and do not leave it turned on when it is not in use.

Consumers have become quite lazy about protecting their privacy. Anyone who says they don’t trust their government, yet leaves their cell phone on for long periods of time, is stupid.

I wonder how much data is stored on the newer vehicles that have OnStar, gps, etc.?

How long before that becomes shared property?

I just don’t get it…

I obey the law, pay my taxes and generally lead a pretty peaceful life. I have a phone w/GPS that is always on and if LE wants to pull my phone records go right ahead. The most they might find is my wife and I trying to coordinate who is picking up the kids and what is for dinner. Maybe I am naive, but I just don’t get why I should be paranoid.

I agree. If you obey the law you have nothing to worry about. I always tell my friends, if the feds want to listen in on my everyday conversations go right ahead. They may get bored real fast.

Sorry, but you are just kidding yourself. My husband and I obeyed the law to a “T” and a swat team still arrived at our house, arrested us, held us in jail for hours and then rejected all charges against us because we did not break the law, we actually obeyed it. Don’t ever forget they can do anything they want to you and never have to say I’m sorry.

That’s the classic case of why BeenThereDoneThat should be more cautious. There’s a lot of stuff on the net about abuse of police powers. It’s going on all over the place. This is just one aspect of it.

Gimlet police abuse has happened even before the net and cellphones. You are painting with a broad brush. Is there mistakes? Yes, always has been. Is there abuse? Again yes and always has been. I know a lot of people that have all the above (net cellphones) as I’m sure you do and I don’t have all my friends getting arrested or targeted. Heck they could listen in on your phones years ago when I was a kid. Nothing has changed in forty years.

You are right; police abuse of power has been going on for a long time, as long as there have been police, in fact.

But you are missing the point. Now that they have all these high-tech gadgets, they are abusing their powers more than ever. They are Big Brother on steroids.

Tool around on the net and see what they are doing to people. It’s frightening. “Your friends” constitute a very small set of people in this country. Look outside that set, and you will see things that will make you sick.

O.k. give me more information. Obviously mistaken identity. There has been cases where the cops went to the wrong address, which has nothing to do with listening in etc. Would have happened either way. So what was your instance here?

Because those things are none of their business, especially when they abuse their powers.

It may be none of their business but if you have applied for a credit card, social security card, mortgage, filed taxes, have a credit report, etc. and you don’t think the Gov. doesn’t already have a lot of info. on you with or without cells, you are living in a fools paridise.

I don’t think that at all. But those things are still none of their business.

The point of this article is about the potential abuse of power due to access to new technologies.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but can’t the cell phone provider track your phone even if it’s turned off?

As long as the battery is in the phone and charged, it can be tracked.