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Law Enforcement Demanded 1.3 Million Cell Phone Records Last Year

Sites include . Published on August 6th, 2012. Written by Anthony West.

Anyone who thought the democratization of technology in the West would lead to more freedom and privacy is surely mistaken. Now more than ever, people who use high-end communications technology are finding that their privacy is being violated every day by the authorities.

New data has revealed that AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless and five other carriers collectively coughed up over 1.3 million cell phone records to the FBI and other law enforcement authorities. The accounting for the data handed over is also very murky to say the least. Neither AT&T nor the other big carriers are able to say what type of information was actually handed over to the men in suits.

The data and privacy intrusion is so bad that even people in government are alarmed by it. Rep. Edward J. Markey recently told The New York Times that, “I never expected it to be this massive”. Jim Dempsey, VP of public policy for the Center for Democracy and Technology went even further: “This is very likely touching the average American, once you cross the million threshold, this is no longer a small possibility that your data is being scooped up.”

Naturally there are going to be those who say that if you haven’t got anything to hide, you needn’t worry about the FBI looking at your private conversations. But these people are missing the point. To begin with, ‘private conversations’ should remain just that—private. But the even bigger danger is that ‘wrong’ has a very fluid and shifting definition these days, and the people who get to define it are in congress and inside the tightly guarded walls of the Pentagon.

Privacy is dead. Americans had better get used to it. When you send a raunchy message to your girlfriend or boyfriend over the phone, just know that around 3,000 other people got the message.

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