Charts: If you’re concerned about privacy, don’t use your cell phone
Law enforcement and other government bodies, it seems, aren’t shy about asking for or demanding data about users from wireless carriers. In an article Monday morning, the New York Times highlighted some of the statistics about this activity, based on data several companies provided to U.S. Congressman Ed Markey (D-MA) in response to a letter from his office on the issue. All told, wireless providers fielded about 1.3 million requests for user data last year although, as the article points out, the number was almost certainly much higher due to lax record-keeping.
If you’re concerned about privacy, this should be kind of scary. There’s some solace in the fact that most providers claim they deny requests they feel are overbroad or unauthorized, but they comply with most and the numbers are rising. A couple of carriers, including Verizon and T-Mobile, noted user-data request increases in the 15 percent per-year range. Further, as some companies explain in their responses to Rep. Markey, many requests ask for information on numerous parties or location data that might identify everyone who pinged off a particular tower. Read More