Congressman Demands Cellphone Firm Data on Police Surveillance


U.S. Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) is demanding information from the country's biggest cellphone companies about their role in helping local police departments conduct surveillance and tracking of suspects and others in criminal investigations, the New York Times reports. Markey, co-chair of the Congressional Bipartisan Privacy Caucus, said he was “deeply concerned” that routine tracking of cellphone use by law enforcement officials in many departments “may violate the privacy rights of Americans.”

Markey sought data from cellphone carriers on the number of requests for help they have received from law enforcement officials in cell tracking and surveillance operations, policies on whether they require the authorities to secure court warrants, the use of cellphone surveillance in nonemergencies, the fees they charge the police and other information. The letter was prompted by an April 1 Times article on the routine use of cellphone surveillance by local police departments.

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