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AT&T Cellphones Crime Privacy Verizon Your Rights Online

Cell Carriers Responded Last Year To 1.3M Law Enforcement Data Requests 155

Posted by timothy
from the surely-it's-because-the-requests-were-well-formatted dept.
Stirling Newberry writes "The New York Times reports: 'In the first public accounting of its kind, cellphone carriers reported that they responded to a daunting 1.3 million demands for subscriber data last year from law enforcement agencies seeking text messages, caller locations and other information in the course of investigations.' One stinging statistic: AT&T responds to an average of 700 requests per day, and turns down only 18 per week. Sprint gets 500,000 requests per year. While many requests are backed by court orders, most are not. Some include 'dumps' of tower data, which captures everyone near by at a certain time."
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Cell Carriers Responded Last Year To 1.3M Law Enforcement Data Requests

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  • by olsmeister (1488789) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @09:47PM (#40587573)
    230*24*365=2,014,800 [google.com]. TFS says they the industry responded to 1.3M. Can they possibly have that many pending? Where are Verizon's stats?
  • In Soviet ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xtal (49134) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @09:48PM (#40587579)

    Damn, it's not funny anymore.

  • by Attack DAWWG (997171) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @10:14PM (#40587763)

    Most means more than 50%.

    You could have 660,000 requests of the 1.3 million not backed by court orders, and that would be just over 50%, so it would be "most."

    The rest, 640,000 or so, would still certainly qualify as "many." Even if there were only 100,000 requests backed by court orders, that would still be "many." It may be way way too few, but that's beside the point.

    I don't know what the real numbers are in this case, but technically, you are incorrect.

  • More Prisons! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fullback (968784) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @10:26PM (#40587845)

    Aren't 25% of all the prisoners in the world already in American prisons? The police are just trying to stimulate the economy by improving the top line in the prison and criminal court industry.

    Hey, it's not personal; it's business. Wars, invasions, thousands of otherwise unemployable feeling you up at airports (and bus and train stations soon!), militarized police forces, small town sheriffs with tanks and full battle gear and tens of thousands of people listening to all of your conversations and reading your email.

    Land of the free, my ass. Land of the pansies who won't stand up to anyone.

  • Frog's Almost Done (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuperCharlie (1068072) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @10:38PM (#40587935)
    You know how to boil a frog..you put him in cold water an slowly raise the temperature until he's boiled.. well.. if they didnt want us to know this, we wouldnt. Its just another step in boiling the frog, and I gotta tell ya.. Im seein bubbles down here..
  • Re:In Soviet ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ThePeices (635180) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @11:02PM (#40588121)

    In Soviet ... Damn, it's not funny anymore.

    Anymore?

  • by jcr (53032) <jcr.mac@com> on Sunday July 08, 2012 @11:05PM (#40588137) Journal

    The PATRIOT act doesn't trump the fourth and fifth amendments. Any one of these "requests" that isn't an actual warrant issued by a neutral magistrate is a crime, and every government obedience enforcement operative (I will not call them "law enforcement" officers when they're breaking the law), has participated in depriving people of their civil rights under color of authority, which is a federal crime.

    Anyone who votes for either Ruling Party candidate this time around, keep this in mind.

    -jcr

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @11:37PM (#40588319) Journal
    It's a surprisingly common problem, unfortunately. People with the nucleus of an actual point 'Yo, the onrushing surveillance state is bad, m'kay', then encounter some sort of strange cognitive hiccup that causes them to latch onto the nearest potentially-hostile object like a belligerent drunk at closing time, rather than something much more plausible that doesn't make them sound like a drooling nutcase.

    Had the grandparent poster simply ranted about the CALEA(which did include some direct state funding of infrastructure 'upgrades' to support wiretapping, and obviously serves to bundle buying telecommunications services with paying for wiretapping infrastructure) and has been in play since 1994 he would have been on totally solid ground.

    If he wanted something a little more sweeping, he could have discussed the 1970's and earlier situation(which, while technologically crude, was so bad that FISA, in 1978, counted as 'reform'...), then gone on to FISA, ECHELON should probably show up somewhere, possibly given the whole 'Clipper' situation a nod, then done CALEA, and then finished with an overview of how post-2001 has been an energetic sprint downhill, with substantial(but largely classified) evidence of extralegal surveillance, despite generous boundaries for what constitutes 'legal', the 2008 retroactive immunity bill, and so forth.

    It Isn't. That. Bloody. Difficult. While parts are formally classified, or just-not-talked-about in public, large swaths of the US surveillance apparatus were simply built right in the open, with publicly available laws, phone-tapping technology advertised on the vendors' web sites, and NSA datacenters too large to hide from orbital observation. And yet, no matter how easy we make it, people just will not be satisfied without some sort of shadowy conspiracy that makes them sound totally nuts...
  • Re:In Soviet ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pitchpipe (708843) on Sunday July 08, 2012 @11:42PM (#40588359)
    It hasn't been funny for a while. The law enforcement class is becoming a separate body from the average citizen class. (I know this through personally speaking with a friend who is a law enforcement officer, he has changed in a way that separates him from the way your average person thinks. It has made him paranoid of your average person.) It is becoming more of an enforcing arm of the aristocracy, bringing in funds for the state and prisoners for the aristocratic owners of the private prisons. If things keep heading down this path I fear they are going to get seriously out of control. I wish the ruling class could see this, and had the will to do something about if before that happens (because god damn, voting doesn't seem to do anything anymore). I don't want to live in those kinds of "interesting times".
  • Re:In Soviet ... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 09, 2012 @12:28AM (#40588575)

    I wish the ruling class could see this, and had the will to do something about if before that happens

    Yeah, those stupid rulers. How could they get themselves into this situation??

  • Re:In Soviet ... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rsmith-mac (639075) on Monday July 09, 2012 @12:40AM (#40588625)

    It has made him paranoid of your average person.

    If you're not paranoid of the average person, you either live in a bubble or haven't been paying attention to the rest of the world.

    The average person will gladly lie, cheat, and steal (or worse), and is only stopped by immediate negative consequences for those actions. The average person should not be trusted - they'd take everything you had if they reasonably believed they could get away with it forever.

  • Re:In Soviet ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DerekLyons (302214) <(fairwater) (at) (gmail.com)> on Monday July 09, 2012 @01:44AM (#40588861) Homepage

    It hasn't been funny for a while. The law enforcement class is becoming a separate body from the average citizen class. (I know this through personally speaking with a friend who is a law enforcement officer, he has changed in a way that separates him from the way your average person thinks

    Most geeks think differently than your average person. So do most accountants. So do most veterans. (Though how they think differently varies wildly depending on the branch they served in and/or their specific specialty.) So do most engineers. Etc... etc... I suspect you suffer from confirmation bias.

  • Re:In Soviet ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Monday July 09, 2012 @06:27AM (#40589843)

    The average person will gladly lie, cheat, and steal (or worse), and is only stopped by immediate negative consequences for those actions. The average person should not be trusted - they'd take everything you had if they reasonably believed they could get away with it forever.

    That is an argument that leads to fascism via technocracy. If it really were true we would never have developed as a civilization because the one thing necessary for civilization to work is trust. Not trust based on some version of hellfire and brimstone but the trust that while men are imperfect, we are fundamentally good-natured. [psych.ubc.ca]

  • Re:In Soviet ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dgatwood (11270) on Monday July 09, 2012 @06:34AM (#40589867) Journal

    When was the last time you heard of a CEO getting a traffic ticket?

    Someone told me once that S.J. got them almost weekly for driving around without a license plate. Eventually, all the Cupertino cops recognized his car and didn't bother pulling him over anymore, but that took a few years.

  • I'd consider %18 a significant amount. What if your wallet magically lost %18 of your money.

    Every week. And that's just what the fed takes!

  • Re:In Soviet ... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by strikethree (811449) on Monday July 09, 2012 @10:27AM (#40592225) Journal

    The average person will gladly lie, cheat, and steal (or worse), and is only stopped by immediate negative consequences for those actions. The average person should not be trusted - they'd take everything you had if they reasonably believed they could get away with it forever.

    Hm. I saw your post and knew immediately something was wrong but it took a bit of reflection to really nail it.

    The average person would do what you claim to "outsiders" but the numbers change dramatically when talking about "insiders". Insiders are friends, family, other people in a group that they belong to (such as a city, state, or country). An outsider is someone who is specifically excluded from at least one group. Your perceptions demonstrate how many groups you are included and excluded in/from.

    Outside of group mechanics and psychology, I still suspect your numbers are off. I suspect less than 10% of the population would intentionally cause serious harm to you without provocation even if they thought they could get away with it. For more minor infractions (saw you drop a $20 and do not return it) the number may indeed be high enough to say things like, "the average person".

    Ultimately, I do not think your post should be modded down. The perception you have appears to be growing and people need to be aware of it and address it so it does not become a divisive force. Ultimately friendliness is the only thing that will keep this world a pleasant place to live.

You see but you do not observe. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in "The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes"

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