Officials from the Dept. of Homeland Security and the FBI are paying private data brokers to gather personal phone record information—circumventing the need to obtain warrants for such data.
Numerous federal and local law enforcement agencies have bypassed subpoenas and warrants designed to protect civil liberties and gathered Americans’ personal telephone records from private-sector data brokers.
These brokers, many of whom advertise aggressively on the Internet, have gotten into customer accounts online, tricked phone companies into revealing information and even acknowledged that their practices violate laws, according to documents gathered by congressional investigators and provided to The Associated Press.
The law enforcement agencies include offices in the Homeland Security Department and Justice Department ? including the FBI and U.S. Marshal’s Service ? and municipal police departments in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia and Utah. Experts believe hundreds of other departments frequently use such services.