What, Me Warrant?

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!)


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  1. Just to add, these hearings could get somewhere. Apparently Congress has already been trying to shut down these data collection companies.

  2. ModerateSnark says:

    What, Me Warrant?

    The headline of this item must have been uttered by Alfred E. Neo-man.

    (Might wanna move your comma, currently after the “Me,” by the way.)

  3. ModerateSnark says:

    Come to think of it, I bet there’s already someone who’s done some mashup art of Alfred E. Neuman and George W. Bush.

    Just put “What, Me Warrant?” above it, and “Alfred E. Neo-man” below it, and you’ve got a million-dollar t-shirt.

    Contact Consumerist to work out the residuals for Brownpop Leeken and me.