By David Rosen.
Over 1.3 million Americans have been electronically “searched and frisked.”
Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) has had enough of the nation’s law enforcement establishment and its utter disregard for privacy protections. On Monday, July 9, he released the first set of findings from the House’s Bipartisan Congressional Privacy Caucus and a summary of it was published in the New York Times. “Law enforcement agencies are looking for a needle, but what are they doing with the haystack?” he asked.
Markey’s revelations are pretty alarming: approximately 1.3 million federal, state and local law enforcement requests for cell phone records were made to wireless carriers in 2011. As he points out on his Web site, in 2010, there were approximately 3,000 wiretaps issued nationwide. As he acknowledges, “There is no comprehensive reporting of these information requests anywhere – this is the first ever accounting of this.”
A wireless customer’s personal information provided to law enforcement entities is fairly comprehensive. It includes geo-locational or GPS data, 911 call responses, text message content, billing records, wiretaps, PING location data and what are known as cell tower “dumps” or (i.e., a carrier provides all the phones numbers of cell users that connect with a discrete tower during a discrete period of time).
The question that needs to be asked – and answered – is why has there been an such an explosive increase in law enforcement snooping on American people? Something is going on that threatens traditional civil liberties and notions of personal privacy. And this something involves not only…
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