Investigation Reveals More Than One Million Requests By Law Enforcement for Americans’ Mobile Phone Data

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on December 9, 2013

“As part of his ongoing investigation into wireless surveillance of Americans by law enforcement, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today released responses from eight major wireless carriers that reveals expanded use of wireless surveillance of Americans, including more than one million requests for the personal mobile phone data of Americans in 2012 by law enforcement. This total may well represent tens or hundreds of thousands more actual individuals due to the law enforcement practice of requesting so-called “cell phone tower dumps” in which carriers provide all the phone numbers of mobile phone users that connect with a tower during a specific period of time. Senator Markey began his investigation last year, revealing 1.3 million requests in 2011 for wireless data by federal, state, and local law enforcement. In this year’s request for information, Senator Markey expanded his inquiry to include information about emergency requests for information, data retention policies, what legal standard –whether a warrant or a lower standard — is used for each type of information request, and the costs for fulfilling requests. The responses received by Senator Markey reveal surveillance startling in both volume and scope. ”

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