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Friday, July 13, 2012 - 8:00am

Police Seek More Cell Phone Data

Law enforcement agencies are increasing how much they rely on information provided by cellphone companies.

Law enforcement personnel nationwide made more than a million requests for consumer's cellphone records last year.

The data comes in response to a Congressional inquiry and details thousands of daily requests for customer locations, text messages and call details, often without warrants.

Some carriers have in-house teams to handle the rise in subpoenas from police and investigators.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation's John Bankhead says, increased requests for information are expected.

"The general population's cell phone use has gone up considerably over the last five years, and you're going to have more criminals using cell phones," Bankhead says. "So naturally, law enforcement is going to be requesting this type of information more often."

He says the information can be vital to a case.

"These records would be useful to an ongoing investigation as far as establishing the target of an investigation's connection to a particular crime," he says. "And likewise it can determine that the suspect we might be looking at might not have been involved."

The numbers are an alarming surge over previous years, reflecting the increasingly gray area between privacy and technology.

Cellphone companies say, they usually require warrants to hand over information, but not in emergencies, such as when somone's life is in immediate danger.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.