By Andy Greenberg – Phone companies are the middlemen of modern surveillance. They collect communications and location information from users on an unprecedented scale. Then, when governments come calling, they turn it over with a greater frequency and volume than ever before in history. And to a large degree, they do it voluntarily.
Here are five ways phone carriers could act now to rein in the mobile device surveillance explosion.
- Store less data, and delete it earlier.
- Share information about government requests with one another and determine the minimum standard of cooperation.
- Publish annual reports about their compliance with surveillance.
- Take a stand against legislation that hurts users’ privacy.
- Fight gag orders, and tell individual users about requests for their information.
A few companies such as Twitter, Sonic.net and the soon-to-be-relaunched Internet provider Calyx have fought those gags in court. There’s little evidence that phone companies have taken the same stands on behalf of their users, and there’s no way to know how many surveillance orders have been issued in secret. more> http://tinyurl.com/dy5x9hk
- Wireless Firms Flooded by Requests to Aid Surveillance, Law Enforcement… (nytimes.com)
- Government Surveillance of Cell Users: 1.3 Million Annual Requests and Rising (cato-at-liberty.org)
- State of surveillance: Wireless carriers fielding more requests (blogs.siliconvalley.com)
- Surging Surveillance: Shocking Number of Cell Users’ Data Tracked | Common Dreams (2012indyinfo.com)
- United Kingdom of surveillance (thehindu.com)
- The top privacy threat for cell phone users (sovereignman.com)
- How Many People Phone Companies Hire to Give Away Your Information (theatlanticwire.com)
- Is the Digital Data Boom Creating a Surveillance State? (bigthink.com)