Cell phone carriers issued 1.3 million cell phone records in 2011
Cell phone carriers recently issued a report of the number of requests they received from the U.S. law enforcement involving cell phone records in 2011, and the figure was staggering - 1.3 million, according to Reuters.
The high number also shows a sharp increase year over year. Verizon Wireless, the biggest cell phone carrier, saw an annual 15 percent boost, and T-Mobile saw between a 12 to 16 percent increase each year. These figures were released after Representative Edward Markey of Massachusetts requested the information to raise awareness of cell phone privacy issues, according to the publication.
"We cannot allow privacy protections to be swept aside with the sweeping nature of these information requests, especially for innocent consumers," Markey, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, told the news source. "Law enforcement agencies are looking for a needle, but what are they doing with the haystack?"
The cell phone carriers claim they only release information if it is subpoenaed or the situation is considered an emergency. However, the American Civil Liberties Union saw several inconsistencies in its standards of releasing this information, according to The New York Times. The organization has been pushing for strict guidelines so there will be no misuse of cell phone records.
"The standards really are all over the place," Chris Calabrese, a lawyer for the ACLU, told the new source. "Nobody is saying don't use these tools. What we're saying is do it with consistent standards and in a way that recognizes that these are tools that really can impact people’s privacy."