Washington (December 19, 2013) – Senator Edward J. Markey, a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, released the following statement after Verizon agreed to publish a transparency report disclosing law enforcement requests for customer information in the wake of his ongoing investigation of wireless surveillance by law enforcement. For the past two years, Senator Markey’s investigation revealed expanded use of wireless surveillance of Americans, including more than one million requests for the personal mobile phone data of Americans in 2012 by law enforcement. Senator Markey began his investigation last year, revealing 1.3 million requests in 2011 for wireless data by federal, state, and local law enforcement. The Senator soon will introduce legislation to require regular disclosures from law enforcement on the nature and volume of requests, curb bulk data requests, require warrants for geolocation information requests, as well as other protections for wireless phone information.
“Verizon is taking an important step toward transparency, and I call on the other wireless carriers to follow its lead and regularly disclose their law enforcement requests for wireless information. We clearly need more sunlight in this area, and I soon will introduce legislation to strengthen privacy safeguards for consumers. Reporting is a critical first step towards informing Americans about the nature and extent of wireless surveillance. We need to put rules on the books that protect Americans’ privacy and rights.”
Senator Markey sent letters to U.S. Cellular, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile USA Inc., Leap Wireless Inc./ Cricket Communications, Inc., MetroPCS, Verizon Communications Inc., AT&T, and C Spire Wireless.