Every day that passes, the citizens of our Republic come under increasing surveillance by our government. As one reads of the crescendo of new and more intrusive means used by Washington to monitor citizens of this nation, one awakens to the sense that these activities will never end, and that soon there will be no phone call, no text message, no blog post, no social media update that will not be received and recorded by agents of our own intelligence community.
Take for example the story published Monday in the New York Times. In a report issued by cellphone carriers, described in the Times article, the mobile phone providers indicated that last year they received 1.3 million demands from “law enforcement agencies” for access to the text messages and locations of subscribers to the cellphone companies’ service.
The Times article provided the following breakdown of the requests for information received by the various cell companies:
AT&T alone now responds to an average of more than 700 requests a day, with about 230 of them regarded as emergencies that do not require the normal court orders and subpoena. That is roughly triple the number it fielded in 2007, the company said. Law enforcement requests of all kinds have been rising among the other carriers as well, with annual increases of between 12 percent and 16 percent in the last five years. Sprint, which did not break down its figures in as much detail as other carriers, led all companies last year in reporting what amounted to at least 1,500 data requests on average per day.
As for the police, they insist that using a cell signal or a record of text messages or data received or sent using a phone makes tracking a person so much simpler.