The American Civil Liberties Union recently released a wealth of information obtained from over 200 police departments across the country. The data shows a history of tracking mobile phones and collecting call logs without warrants but perhaps the most disturbing information has to do with the cost associated with wiretaps.
Information gathered by the ACLU from the Tucson, Arizona police department shows that AT&T charges law enforcement a $325 activation fee in addition to daily rates of $5 for data and $10 for audio transmissions. T-Mobile charges a flat fee of $500 per target while Verizon commands $700 per month in addition to a $50 administrative fee.
The rates are even higher for specific data requests like voicemail and text message access. AT&T requires $150 for voicemail access while Verzion nets $50 per target for text message access. Sprint has a complete breakdown that includes $120 for pictures or video, $60 for e-mail messages, $60 for voice mail and $30 for text message access.
In addition to individual tracking, law enforcement can also “rent” a cell tower, known as a tower dump, which allows them to see every number that accessed the tower. This service is typically offered at an hourly rate as follows: $75 per tower for AT&T with a minimum of two hours, $30-60 per hour for Verizon, $150 for T-Mobile and $50 for Sprint, although the latter doesn’t seem to have an hourly rate.