T-Mobile quietly reports a sharp rise in police demands for cell tower data

TechCrunch | 7/12/2019 | Staff
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T-Mobile has reported a small decline in the number of government data requests it receives, according to its latest transparency report published this week.

The third-largest cell giant in the U.S. reported 459,989 requests during 2018, down by a little over 1 percent on the year earlier. That includes an overall drop in subpoenas, court orders, and pen registers and trap and trace devices used to record the incoming and outgoing callers; however, the number of search warrants issues went up by 27 percent and wiretaps increased by almost 3 percent.

Company - Requests - Increase - Percent - Year

The company rejected 85,201 requests, an increase of 7 percent on the year prior.

But the number of requests for historical call detail records and cell site information, which can be used to infer a subscriber’s location, has risen significantly.

Company - Demands - Call - Data - Percent

For 2018, the company received 70,224 demands for historical call data, up by more than 9 percent on the year earlier.

Historical cell site location data allows law enforcement to understand which cell towers carried a call, text message or data, and therefore a subscriber’s historical real-time location at any given particular time. Last year the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that this data...
(Excerpt) Read more at: TechCrunch
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