Skip to comments.Cellular companies assist police by locating phones (Connecticut)
Posted on 05/13/2010 7:00:59 AM PDT by Graybeard58
Cell phone companies are making it easier for authorities to solve cases when time is of the essence, turning a simple device most of us keep in our pocket or purse into a potential clue.
Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile confirmed Wednesday that divisions within their companies now specifically deal with calls from police to find missing people or crime victims. They'll provide authorities with call records and even locations of cell phones should police demonstrate that finding the person is an emergency.
Two companies, AT&T and T-Mobile, also confirmed their staff is on hand around the clock to deal with calls from police.
In at least two recent, high-profile cases, cell providers have coughed up records in an expedited process, allowing investigators to gather clues that eventually have contributed to the filing of criminal charges, including a murder charge levied last week against a Wolcott father.
Cell phone companies can disclose to investigators which of their towers was used to provide service to a given cell phone. This information allows police to follow a digital trail. But if police don't have a search or seizure warrant or a subpoena, they need to show exigent circumstances, such as that a person's life is in danger and that the information is vital to ensuring the person's safety.
During the investigation of Leslie Williams, a former Waterbury resident who police say murdered and raped a woman in New Britain and shot her friend in the head in the course of a 2008 home invasion, AT&T gave police the location of the murdered woman's cell phone.
I think they used the cell phone of the teenage girl that was kidnapped from Target a few years back to help in that case.
>> If you’re going to do the crime, don’t take your cell phone with you.
Yep, they make it sound like it’s “for the victims”, but it’s really all about tracking down “persons of interest” to the police.
And these days, with so many laws to run afoul of, pretty much everyone is a “person of interest” to the police.
Especially those of us who oppose big government and illegal immigration and abortion and such.
Officers had been searching the woods and lake area in suburban Kansas City since Tuesday after investigators traced two signals from Smith's cell phone to that area. It's believed those signals were from incoming calls to Smith from her boyfriend, who she was supposed to meet that night.
Tim Miller, founder of the search group that found Smith, said law enforcement put search teams within a four-mile radius of where the body was found, based on the cell phone signals. The searcher who found the body yelled to everyone else to "get back" so as to not contaminate the crime scene.
Ditto. No, double ditto what you said.
Your GPS cell phone could also be used in accident investigations. Speed, location, etc.
It helps victims and helps catch and convict serious criminals on a pretty regular basis. On the other hand, I’ve never heard of a case where it was used to find someone who didn’t want to be found.
As long as the phone companies are doing this voluntarily, and it doesn’t conflict with anything in their contractual agreement with the customer, then it’s a good thing. I do think, however, that the phone companies should 1) make clear in their contracts that they reserve the right to do this at their discretion (so people can choose a different company if they don’t want this), and 2) make police seeking such information sign an agreement that if they use the information to find the person and discover the person didn’t want to be found, they will destroy any information about where the person was found and not disclose it to anyone.
I favor requiring a court order, myself.
I do not trust the government. Not anymore. They do not have my best interests at heart.
Getting a court order often takes time, though, and time is often the difference between life and death when someone has been abducted. If you’re hiding from the government, use a prepaid phone that doesn’t have your name connected to it, and only give the number to people you really trust.
>> If youre hiding from the government, use a prepaid phone that doesnt have your name connected to it
Of course! The burden should be on the citizen. If one hasn’t done anything wrong, why would one fear government intrusion? And anyone who doesn’t want the government nosing about in their business — well, obviously, that one is (gasp) HIDING FROM THE GOVERNMENT.
That’s what our founding fathers, the authors of our beloved Constitution believed, and they were very wise men, yes?
You seem to be forgetting that cell phone service providers are PRIVATE companies, and as such should be free to have whatever policies they like about sharing information with law enforcement. Consumers should be (and are) free to select a cell phone service provider whose policies they are comfortable with. If there’s enough demand, then some provider will offer regular service (as opposed to prepaid) that is contractually protected from having information transmitted to law enforcement without a court order. My guess is that there’s currently very little demand for such a service, but that if instances of abuse of this policy came to light, that demand would surge and be met.
If you want an iron-clad alibi - just make sure your cell phone is somewhere else when something goes down.....
The authorities won’t bother looking deeper than that.
That’s a valid point.
....or, compiling all data from all cell carriers in a certain location radius to obtain witnesses (and suspects)
Crime solving can be little more than correlating cellphone locations with cameras - all accessible from your desktop.
Sounds like a job for “Google Crimesolver”
I make those every once in a while :-)
To my mind, it’s really a huge problem that virtually every private enterprise in the country is buried in government regulations that control their actions. I’m actually pleased to learn that cell phone service providers are still *free* to choose to provide such information to law enforcement without a court order, based on their own discretion — free to exercise their First Amendment right to free speech.
I’m pleasantly surprised to learn that the federal government hasn’t already outlawed that via some FCC-promulgated regulation re “privacy”. Just like the feds have outlawed medical professionals and college administrators from choosing to share “medical” (read: psychiatric) information about their patients and students — this is what enabled that patently insane Virginia Tech student to blithely continue pretending to be a “student”, living in a college dorm and attending classes and being subject to no formal restrictions whatsoever on his activities, when various medical professionals, the college’s faculty and administration, and at least one court knew that he was dangerously unstable.
Doesn't sound like a bad idea so long as "demonstrate" != "assert".
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