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Carriers Selling Info About You To Government

The companies you use to access the internet, both household broadband as well as wireless, have an incredible amount of information on your online habits. They know where and when you to go to sites and in the case of wireless carriers, they usually know where you are in the real world. To supplement their revenue, they are apparently selling this information to the government.
The companies you use to access the internet, both household broadband as well as wireless, have an incredible amount of information on your online habits. They know where and when you to go to sites and in the case of wireless carriers, they usually know where you are in the real world. To supplement their revenue, they are apparently selling this information to the government.It is no surprise that the carriers have this kind of info on you. Sites like Google, Facebook and MySpace likely have as much or more. Perhaps I am naive, but I just assumed that they kept this info for their own market research to build better products and to pitch additional services. I knew they would turn over info on you to the government but I assumed it was with a subpoena. The reality is, they don't need a subpoena at all, just a request and they willingly disgorge this info for a fee.

PhD candidate Christopher Soghoian has put his research and data on his blog site in order to get back some constructive criticism. There is enough there on the first few screens to scare you from ever opening your browser again but what really got me was the info he gathered on Sprint Nextel. Here is what Paul Taylor, Electronic Surveillance Manager of Sprint Nextel said on a new tool that they have made available to law enforcement. The requests Sprint was getting was so large, they just delivered a web interface allowing any governmental agency to pull all sorts of data.


"[M]y major concern is the volume of requests. We have a lot of things that are automated but that's just scratching the surface. One of the things, like with our GPS tool. We turned it on the web interface for law enforcement about one year ago last month, and we just passed 8 million requests. So there is no way on earth my team could have handled 8 million requests from law enforcement, just for GPS alone. So the tool has just really caught on fire with law enforcement. They also love that it is extremely inexpensive to operate and easy, so, just the sheer volume of requests they anticipate us automating other features, and I just don't know how we'll handle the millions and millions of requests that are going to come in."