Cellphone carriers released a report documenting that they responded to an unprecedented 1.3 million demands for subscriber information last year from law enforcement agencies, The New York Times reported. The report, which comes in response to a congressional inquiry, represents the first time data has been collected nationally on the frequency of cell surveillance by law enforcement.
According to the report, cell phone surveillance exploded in the last five years and cut across all levels of government, from street crimes handled by local police departments to intelligence investigations at the state and federal level. The increase in cell surveillance also suggests that law enforcement officials are shifting away from wiretaps in favor of cell tracking.
Warrants for wiretapping declined 14 percent last year, according to a report from the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.