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Sprint handed customer GPS data to law enforcement over 8 million times last year

Joseph L. Flatley
December 2, 2009
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Privacy advocates and career criminals alike are in a lather over reports that between September 2008 and October 2009, Sprint Nextel ponied up customer location data to various law enforcement agencies more than 8 million times. Speaking at ISS World 2009 (a conference for law enforcement and telecom industry-types responsible for "lawful interception, electronic investigations and network Intelligence gathering"), Sprint Nextel's very own Paul Taylor, Manager of Electronic Surveillance, lamented on the sheer volume of requests the company's received in the past year for precise GPS data for Sprint customers. How did the company meet such high demand? Apparently, his team built a special "web interface" which "has just really caught on fire with law enforcement." We're glad that Sprint's plans to streamline the customer service experience don't stop short of those who serve and protect, but as the EFF points out, plenty of nagging questions remain, including: How many individual customers have been affected? Is Sprint demanding search warrants? How secure is this web interface? Check out an excerpt from Taylor's speech after the break.

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