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News Link • Surveillance

In First U.S. Accounting of Wireless Phone Surveillance...

• http://www.popsci.com, By Dan Nosowitz
They released this information only after an inquiry by Congressman Edward J. Markey. This is the first time we've had any overarching glimpse at how (and how often) the carriers work with law enforcement.
 
This is a major step forward towards transparency. It received a front-page New York Times story, and certainly a fair bit of coverage elsewhere. It provides much more information than we've ever had before, especially from AT&T, which lists a few categories of requests as well as the specific (very tiny) number of requests AT&T refused to honor. But! That 1.3 million number leaves out some legitimately important information. Most important: what information is revealed, exactly, and how often do the carriers comply? 
 
 As much as these findings should and do freak us out a little, the carriers are no happier about them. These law enforcement agencies are not good to work with, it seems; they are supposed to pay the carriers for their time in digging up this information, and often don't. The carriers hire staffs of people just to handle the requests (AT&T has over 100 dedicated to this task full-time).

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