By Jasmin Melvin
REUTERS Tuesday July 10, 2012
WASHINGTON — Mobile phone carriers received more than 1.3 million requests last year from U.S. law enforcement agencies for their customers’ phone records and the requests are on the rise, according to data gathered as part of a congressional inquiry into cellphone surveillance.
Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., released data yesterday from nine wireless carriers revealing the number of requests in 2011 for cell phone records. Neither law enforcement nor companies are required to report such requests, making the inquiry and release of information from the companies the first public accounting of law enforcement’s use of cell phone surveillance.
Markey sent letters to nine wireless carriers last month asking for information on the volume and scope of the requests after The New York Times reported in April that cellphone tracking had become a common practice for police with little or no oversight.
According to the data, No. 1 U.S. carrier Verizon Wireless reported an average spike in requests of about 15 percent a year over the last five years, with around 260,000 requests last year. No. 4 carrier T-Mobile USA said it has seen a 12 percent to 16 percent increase each year, but it did not provide the number of requests it received annually.
The companies said they maintain teams to deal with the requests, and said they only release the information when ordered by subpoena or if law enforcement officials certify there is an emergency involving danger of death or serious physical injury.
Is Your Fleet Protected????
As a company that specializes in telematics and GPS tracking solutions for fleet based companies, I am increasingly being asked if we can help ensure that a companies drivers do not text and drive.
In a conversation with an insurance company yesterday, I was told about one of our new clients, which has a fleet of 700 vehicles, that was sued in 2007 for close to 5 million dollars as a result of a traffic fatality.
While neither of were sure if telematics would have prevented the accident, the insurance agent commented that, “The difference today versus five years ago, is law enforcement immediately subpoenas the drivers cell phone records to compare time lines.”
Another client, a over the road trucking company was commenting to me the other day, that a driver caught texting and driving while operating a company vehicle is subject to a $2000 fine, while the company is subject to an $11,000 additional fine.
The fact is, that texting and driving is still a growing epidemic and is still costing lives.
At Lynx Telematics, when we sat down and went to the drawing board to produce a fleet based product, we realized that there were hundreds of fully robust GPS tracking solutions already in the market place.
We wanted to create the first, truly “Plug N Play” solution that also gave fleet managers the ability to eliminate texting while driving among their fleet drivers.
The Lynx Telematics Fleet solution gives Fleet Managers and company owners the ability to either block texting and driving or monitor which employees are violating the company anti texting policy.
I was driving into my office in Milford, Ohio one day when I came upon a grey Ford Fusion with the Liberty Mutual Insurance logo on the drivers door and a driver that was texting on his Blackberry with his left hand and driving with his right. Unlike the picture above, of the Franklin County Deputy that apparently was using both hands and driving with his knees
If there is any company that would have a STRICT ANTI-TEXTING POLICY….it would be an insurance company.
What are you doing to take control and protect your company’s assets and reduce risk liability?