Markey expands probe into police access to cellphone data

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“While mobile phone data should be accessible for appropriate law enforcement purposes, it is important that protections are in place for innocent Americans," Markey said in a statement. "There are legal, constitutional and privacy implications of sharing consumers’ mobile telephone information. We need to know what is being collected and the legal authorities by which law enforcement is requesting the records, possibly of innocent people being swept up as part of these digital dragnets."

Markey asked the companies to provide statistics on the different kinds of data they turn over to the government and whether they require a warrant.

He also asked how many requests the companies received under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which the National Security Agency has acknowledged using to obtain records on virtually all U.S. phone calls. But the provision includes a gag order that prevents companies from acknowledging whether they have received an order.