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.