recommended reading

Police surveillance of cell phones is skyrocketing

Aleksandr Markin/Shutterstock.com

A Congressional report on the relationship between cell phone carriers and law enforcement agencies shows that the companies are responding to thousands of requests per day from criminal investigators asking for text messages, call records, location data, and other information on customers. The nation's carriers answered 1.3 million requests last year, revealing how cell phone surveillance has now become a routing part of police work. 

The report also concluded the actual number of requests is probably much higher (but is under-reported due to bad record-keeping) and the number of customers affected is actually "several times" higher, because a single request can involve multiple callers and numbers. Police can even request a "data dump" for an entire cell tower, asking and getting the names and numbers of anyone who happened to be near a certain location at a certain time of day, even people who aren't suspects.

Requests for information usually require a search warrant, but in certain circumstances police can declare it to be an emergency, expediting the process without court orders. AT&T says they get more than 700 requests every day, with around 230 of them being regarded as emergencies. Several of the companies did say that they frequently reject many of the requests that they deemed unjustified. T-Mobile even claims to have reported two law enforcement agencies to the FBI, because their requests were considered inappropriate. 

Read the rest at The Atlantic Wire.

(Image via  Aleksandr Markin /Shutterstock.com)

Threatwatch Alert

Network intrusion / Stolen credentials

85M User Accounts Compromised from Video-sharing Site Dailymotion

See threatwatch report

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.