Mobile Carriers Gladly Give Your Data to the Cops, But Not to You

By » Tue, July 3 2012
847992535 9915965547 450x299 Mobile Carriers Gladly Give Your Data to the Cops, But Not to You

This thing tells the cops where I’ve been and who I’ve been talking to! (img by Braden Kowitz)

tl;dr The headline says it all.


The nation’s major mobile carriers have amassed a treasure trove of sensitive data on their customers that they share with police and advertisers — but keep hidden from the consumers themselves.

The major carriers, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon, store who you texted, the content of texts and locational tracking information such as cell-site data, which identifies the cell tower to which a customer was connected at the beginning of a call and at the end of the call. Different companies hold your data for different times. Sprint hoards information the longest, according to a Justice Department survey, keeping your call records for an average of 18-24 months.

But, according to a survey by Pro Publica, the major carriers won’t disclose the data to their customers, for a host of reasons — nonsensical ones at best. But they will gladly hand it over to the authorities, even without warrants.

The survey comes as the government is increasingly looking to use cell-site data to bolster prosecutions in the aftermath of a Supreme Court ruling that said the government must obtain a warrant to affix a GPS device to track a vehicle’s every move.

Read the rest.

You’ve heard this before, but we’re going to keep reminding you because it’s easy to forget. If you want privacy, you’re probably going to have to go analog. And don’t talk about your illegal exploits online.

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