More than 1.3 million requests for information about mobile telephone subscribers came from police and other law enforcement agencies last year, the New York Times reported.
Citing data furnished to Congress, the Times also said some requests for inappropriate information were forwarded to the FBI. Nine carriers were polled, including the largest, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), the No. 1 telecommunications carrier, and the Verizon Wireless unit of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ), the No. 2 U.S. carrier.
Meanwhile, as requests for mobile phone spying increased, court warrants for wiretapping by federal and state officials decreased 14 percent last year, to only 2,732, the paper said, suggesting police agencies are finding it easier to monitor subscribers using extra-legal methods.
Shares of AT&T fell 14 cents to $35.30 in premarket Monday trading.
David Zielenziger is a veteran editor and journalist who has written for newspapers including the Baltimore Sun, Asian Wall Street Journal and EETimes, as well as for...