The AP reports that federal and local law enforcement agencies routinely circumvent warrants and acquire citizens’ phone records from private information collectors, often for free.
Police said they turn to the private sector sources because it’s not so much of a hassle as subpoenas. Says the AP:
- “James Bearden, a Texas lawyer who represents four such data brokers, compared the companies’ activities to the National Security Agency, which reportedly compiles the phone records of ordinary Americans.
“The government is doing exactly what these people are accused of doing,” Bearden said. “These people are being demonized. These are people who are partners with law enforcement on a regular basis.”
Reportedly, the law enforcement agents’ lawyers told them it was okay.
Many of the witnesses called for congressional inquiries this week are expected to show show a greater familiarity with the 5th Amendment than the 4th.
“Police got phone data from brokers” [AP] (Thanks to Andrew!)