Law Enforcement Requests For Cell Phone Records At All-Time High

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: (202) 675-2312 or media@dcaclu.org WASHINGTON – A New York Times story today revealed that telecommunications companies are receiving more far-reaching cell phone information requests from law enforcement than ever. The companies revealed they have received approximately 1.3 million such requests for customer information just in 2011. The information was provided in response to letters from Reps. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton (R-Texas). Bills that would require a warrant for location records, both named the Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance (GPS) Act, are currently pending in the House and Senate. The ACLU strongly supports the legislation, which was introduced by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah). “Whether they realize it or not, Americans are carrying tracking devices with them wherever they go. Today’s new information makes it clear that law enforcement has carte blanche to follow the trail they leave behind,” said Christopher Calabrese, ACLU legislative counsel. “The cell phone data of innocent Americans is almost certainly swept up in these requests. Without clear safeguards and standards for how law enforcement gathers and stores location information, there is a massive privacy gap that leaves all of us vulnerable. It’s time for Congress to get serious about protecting our cell phone data and pass the GPS Act.”

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