Media & Communications Law

Verizon to Feds: No Warrants, No Problem

  • Print

One of the nation’s biggest cell phone service providers has been quietly providing another service, too, for the past several years.

When asked by the federal government, Verizon Communications has handed over customer telephone records in hundreds of “emergency” cases since 2005, without requiring warrants or attempting to determine the validity of the requests, reports the Washington Post in a page one story today. Verizon said it took this approach so that undue delay wouldn’t put lives in jeopardy during criminal investigations.

The newspaper said Verizon provided this information in a letter to three Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is investigating the role of Verizon and other carriers in government surveillance programs.

“Verizon also disclosed that the FBI, using administrative subpoenas, sought information identifying not just a person making a call, but all the people that customer called, as well as the people those people called,” the Post article states. “Verizon does not keep data on this ‘two-generation community of interest’ for customers, but the request highlights the broad reach of the government’s quest for data.”

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.