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NYC Police Gathering Cellphone Logs

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the for-a-nice-toasty-fire dept.

Cellphones 122

Dupple writes "When a cellphone is reported stolen in New York, the Police Department routinely subpoenas the phone's call records, from the day of the theft onward. The logic is simple: If a thief uses the phone, a list of incoming and outgoing calls could lead to the suspect. But in the process, the Police Department has quietly amassed a trove of telephone logs, all obtained without a court order, that could conceivably be used for any investigative purpose. The call records from the stolen cellphones are integrated into a database known as the Enterprise Case Management System, according to Police Department documents from the detective bureau. Each phone number is hyperlinked, enabling detectives to cross-reference it against phone numbers in other files."

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First? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42104785)

Stole first post! Track this one NYC cops!

In other words... (3, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | about 2 years ago | (#42104795)

"Each phone number is hyperlinked, enabling detectives to cross-reference it against phone numbers in other files."

In other words, guilt by association.

Re:In other words... (4, Informative)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#42104815)

no, if you take lots of phone calls from stolen phones than chances are you're involved in something shady as well

Re:In other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42104855)

Dear Mr. Policeman. Somebody stole my phone. I urgently need it because otherwise the kidnapped kid's parents can't join me. It's a life and death situation.

Re:In other words... (2)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#42104919)

or someone involved in selling the stolen phones or other stolen property will get a lot of calls from stolen phones because the dumb criminals don't want to use their personal phones

Re:In other words... (2)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 2 years ago | (#42105945)

Dear Mr. Policeman. Somebody stole my phone. I urgently need it because otherwise the kidnapped kid's parents can't join me. It's a life and death situation.

If you have the insurance that most cell phone carriers offer then you can get it replaced if stolen. The insurers require you to file a police report to get the replacement.

Re:In other words... (2)

tompaulco (629533) | about 2 years ago | (#42106183)

If you have the insurance that most cell phone carriers offer then you can get it replaced if stolen.
However, it would be cheaper for you to put the money you spend on insurance into a savings account and just buy a new phone if you lose or break it.

Re:In other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42106355)

Actually, that isn't true for any smartphone if you do the math. Even the iPhone, which carries a higher premium and deductible, costs about 200 USD less on insurance claims than full retail. You save over 200$ worst case.

Re:In other words... (1)

JazzLad (935151) | about 2 years ago | (#42106437)

With Asurian, all replacements are (typically) refurbs (sometimes not even refurbished - still old pics, etc in it). I'd rather take my chances.

Re:In other words... (1)

j-beda (85386) | about a year ago | (#42106769)

Actually, that isn't true for any smartphone if you do the math. Even the iPhone, which carries a higher premium and deductible, costs about 200 USD less on insurance claims than full retail. You save over 200$ worst case.

But most people won't ever make a claim, so particularly if you are amortizing this expense over multiple devices (ie in a family or over a few years as you go through multiple devices) the odds are in your favour if you do not purchase insurance. Insurers make their money by charging enough so that on average their claims are less than the collected premiums. Unless you are significantly more likely to make a claim than average, buying insurance for a device that you can actually afford to replace yourself is not a good financial decision. House insurance is probably a good financial choice - due to the large price. Appliance insurance is a much less valuable commodity.

If you deal with large numbers (a company with a bunch of phones or cars or buildings for example) then "self insuring" is virtually always less expensive in the long run - you budget some replacement/repair costs into the system and save on sending money to some external insurance company. Yes, you might carry some overall insurance with a huge deductible for those truly catastrophic events, but for the smaller stuff it is cheaper to absorb the costs yourself.

Re:In other words... (1)

ultranova (717540) | about a year ago | (#42107147)

Actually, that isn't true for any smartphone if you do the math.

It is true for anything that can be insured. After all, the insurance company must pay the claims and the dividends from the premiums, thus the average person must pay more in premiums than he gets from claims.

Note that insurance can still be mutually beneficial for the insurer and insured due to the difference in their capital: what's catastrophic loss for the latter is just a bookkeeping detail for the former, allowing the insured to convert a small chance of a disaster to a regular non-ruinous payment. However, the price of a smartphone is not catastrophic loss for its intended target audience, so taking an insurance for one doesn't make sense and offering it starts crossing into scam territory.

Re:In other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42107729)

Bah. Bought new phone. Got insurance. Ordered case from Amazon. Shattered screen 4 days later. Case arrived. Got brand new replacement phone in 48 hours. Cancelled the insurance next month.

Re:In other words... (1)

Duhavid (677874) | about a year ago | (#42107281)

"Full Retail". I stumble a bit on term. There is no real market setting a price, there is just price "setting"*.

The "Full Retail" price is just a scheme to coerce you into their pricing system for both service and the phone.

*gouging, IHMO.

Re:In other words... (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 2 years ago | (#42104907)

Or you're the family of someone shady.

Re:In other words... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42104973)

Or you're the family of someone shady.

Perfect, then you probably know more about that shady person, and the police should know about you so that they can question you. Having a hard time finding a problem here.

Re:In other words... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42105113)

Never talk to the police, faggot.

How do you know they're shady? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42106133)

they don't walk round in stripey jerseys and a mask with a bag with a $ sign on it to illustrate they are shady characters, you know.

Re:In other words... (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#42108327)

Or you're the family of someone shady.

Or, you had your phone stolen by a shady person, then ported your number to a new (non-stolen) phone:

In some cases the records can include calls made to and from a victim’s new cellphone, if the stolen phone’s number has been transferred

Banish your ignorance - RTFA. [nytimes.com]

Re:In other words... (1)

Media_Scumbag (217725) | about 2 years ago | (#42105647)

"Hi, this is Rachel from Card Services..."

There's certainly another possibility, guy:

You might not be shady at all. You might be one of the millions of VICTIMs [cardratings.com] of criminals.

Re:In other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42104829)

"Each tracker is hyperlinked, enabling detectives to cross-reference it against trackers in other files."

In other words, guilt by association.

Agreed

Re:In other words... (2)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 2 years ago | (#42104889)

"Each tracker is hyperlinked, enabling detectives to cross-reference it against trackers in other files."

In other words, guilt by association.

Agreed

Woukdn't that be more 'suspect' by association? Birds of a feather fock together, many times.

Re:In other words... (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 2 years ago | (#42104937)

That should be "flock", of course, though 'fock' is funnier. Damn android keyboard has a mind of it's own, sometimes.

Re:In other words... (1)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | about 2 years ago | (#42106523)

Suspicion by association, if even that.

And properly so.

This screening identifies possible associates of the thief but also potential victims of future crimes. With this alone there would be no way to separate the sheep from the goats, though.

But should the carriers robocall every number that the stolen phone had called in the week before it was stolen? Would a heads-up be appropriate: "You are receiving this call because John Smith's cell phone was stolen and calls that you may receive from it are not from John Smith."

Re:In other words... (1)

Shavano (2541114) | about 2 years ago | (#42104853)

"Each phone number is hyperlinked, enabling detectives to cross-reference it against phone numbers in other files." In other words, guilt by association.

Evidence that may eventually lead them to rings of thieves.

Re:In other words... (2)

The MAZZTer (911996) | about 2 years ago | (#42104909)

Oh wow, they're HYPERLINKED? So you mean if you have a phone number database and a phone number you're looking for, you can query the database for records it has pertaining that phone number? Mind. Blown.

Seriously though that statement doesn't mean anything. All it is is a technological shortcut that makes it easier to use the resources that we already established they had. Making hyperlinks does not automatically add any new capabilities or information.

hyperlink != indexed (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about 2 years ago | (#42105953)

A hyperlink merely means that you can use the phone number in a browser to take you to another page. Every link on a web page means that you essentially will be taken to wherever that link points. It is in no way a guarantee that the thing that is linked is in fact in any database, indexed or otherwise searchable.

Re:In other words... (1)

bacon.frankfurter (2584789) | about a year ago | (#42107197)

Yeah, I thought the same thing when I read that. In the technical field the word "HYPERLINK" has a very specific and limited meaning, one that might be lost on even a New York Times journalist. To skilled, trained technical professionals, the first question that pops into our mind it "hyperlinked to what? a picture of a doggy or a kitty cat? who cares?"

You can sense what the article it alluding to though. Other phone numbers.

The implication then becomes: okay, cops are applying Bayesian probability algorithms to their investigations, in other words they're working with "maybe's", and not "definitely's"...

This is fine when you can identify that so and so received a call from a person using a stolen telephone on January 1st, and spoke for 120 minutes. You go and ask that person: "Who called you?"

But then, the concern grows out of: What if this is a death penalty case, because a murder was involved?

Did the person holding the phone KNOW that it was linked to a murder? Did the phone get stolen or was it dropped, and reported "lost/missing"? What if the person speaking from the stolen phone was at a party, and someone handed them the phone? How do they know who really stole it?

The second concern is: If I received a call from an unscrupulous pizza delivery boy, who used a stolen cell phone to tell me he's waiting downstairs with my pizza, does that mean MY number's now in the database, and do I now have a percentile ranking for criminal tendencies, since I have a penchant for pizza? Am I going to be put in a facial recognition database, and flagged for more frequent traffic stops, whenever my E-Z pass is detected at a toll plaza?

Is the system smart enough to ignore the receiver of the call, and prune those numbers from the database, anfter a case is closed, or gone cold? Can we trust them when they say "OF COURSE!!!"

Re:In other words... (1)

fibonacci8 (260615) | about 2 years ago | (#42104911)

Find a way to work the Miranda warning into general cell phone use and that could actually happen.

Re:In other words... (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 2 years ago | (#42105481)

Everybody in this database is there because they've used a stolen cell phone. Thus, every one of them is guilty of receiving stolen property, at the very elast.

Re:In other words... (1)

BLKMGK (34057) | about 2 years ago | (#42105501)

Unless of course a stolen phone called YOU. Or perhaps the new owner of the phone didn't realize it was stolen. Lots of possibilities. I'll admit though that I'm also having a tough time finding a problem with this scenario...

Re:In other words... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42105627)

So receiving a phone call from a stolen phone makes you guilty? By that logic every pawnshop is illegal and should be immediately closed, raided, and have the items cataloged. The next step is going through those sales records and rounding up all those terrible 'customers'.

Re:In other words... (1)

MrNaz (730548) | about a year ago | (#42108349)

That's not really a bad idea, given that the whole business of pawn brokering is based on a mix of brokering sales of stolen goods and feeding on the needs of the most vulerable members of society.

Personally, I think pawn brokers should be summarily shot.

Re:In other words... (1)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#42106537)

No. Everybody in this database is there because they received a call from a stolen phone. By itself, not a crime. But it can reveal a pattern of criminal activity. Lets say the criminal kingpin orders his underlings never to call him from their own (traceable) phone, but to obtain one not tied to them. Supposedly, that would make tracing communications much more difficult. But many criminals, being criminals, may just steal a phone when they need one. So if a large number of calls are placed to some individual from stolen devices, it probably is an indicator of some sort of criminal activity on his/her part.*

No arrests of alleged kingpins will be made at this point. But it does give the police some intelligence on who's who in the underworld.

* Interesting anecdote: You don't even want to know what happens to the received/placed call logs and contact lists on hookers' phones when they are picked up.

Re:In other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42108285)

Everybody in this database is there because they received a call from a stolen phone.

No. Some people in this database are there because they received a call from the phone's owner earlier in the day before the phone was stolen.

Re:In other words... (1)

thoughtlover (83833) | about a year ago | (#42106753)

Everybody in this database is there because they've used a stolen cell phone. Thus, every one of them is guilty of receiving stolen property, at the very elast.

Errm... Those peoples' names are in the database because they reported their cellphone stolen, not because they used a stolen one.

Re:In other words... (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about a year ago | (#42107157)

Allegedly.

Re:In other words... (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#42108413)

Everybody in this database is there because they've used a stolen cell phone. Thus, every one of them is guilty of receiving stolen property, at the very elast.

Incorrect - according to the LEOs running the show (who are always, always completely honest and forthcoming with the public), everyone in this database is there because their phone number was, at some point, linked to a reportedly stolen phone.

Say, for example, that your phone is stolen. You report it, head to the Verizon store, and have your number ported to a new one. Guess what? All your calls on your new phone are included in the police database, because they associate the database with the phone number, not the IMEI.

From TFA:

According to documents reviewed by The New York Times, the police subpoenas seek call records associated with the telephone number of the stolen phone.

As a result, three detectives said in interviews, the phone companies’ response sometimes includes call records for not only the stolen phone, but also the victim’s new phone, depending on variables like how quickly the victim transfers the old phone number to a new handset and how many days of calls the subpoena seeks.

Re:In other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42105977)

Im pretty sure Apple has a patent on that auto hyperlinking.

Subpoenas/Court Order (4, Informative)

Matt_Bennett (79107) | about 2 years ago | (#42104805)

Isn't a subpoena a court order?

Re:Subpoenas/Court Order (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42105235)

You forget which forum you are on. This story should be such a non-issue, but not for the new slashdot!

Re:Subpoenas/Court Order (4, Informative)

cdrudge (68377) | about 2 years ago | (#42105357)

It's an court order, but it may not be an order specifically by the court. The subpoena in some areas may be issued by an attorney without any immediate judicial oversight. The subpoenaed individual then could challenge it to have due process and judicial oversight. A court clerk also can issue the subpoena, but it too may not have any judicial oversight.

Re:Subpoenas/Court Order (1)

arekin (2605525) | about 2 years ago | (#42105417)

Presumably "subpoena" means "DA office asked the person whose phone was stolen for permission to acquire the phone records from day of theft onward". Seeing as the victim willingly gave up their phone records to catch the thief and has likely already received a new phone whose call log is not being forwarded to the police, I don't see this as an issue. These are all legally collected records and they are only affecting the criminals who stole the phone, or the people who were stupid enough to buy a iPhone from a street vendor for $100.

Re:Subpoenas/Court Order (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42107725)

If you have reported the phone as no longer in your possession, then obviously the calls being made are no longer yours. I would argue that the call record being kept in fact 'belongs' to whoever stole the phone and is now using it, and collecting their data without a proper warrant is illegal.

Re:Subpoenas/Court Order (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#42108447)

Presumably "subpoena" means "DA office asked the person whose phone was stolen for permission to acquire the phone records from day of theft onward". Seeing as the victim willingly gave up their phone records to catch the thief and has likely already received a new phone whose call log is not being forwarded to the police, I don't see this as an issue. These are all legally collected records and they are only affecting the criminals who stole the phone, or the people who were stupid enough to buy a iPhone from a street vendor for $100.

Seriously, does anyone besides me RTFA anymore?

The subpoenas not only cover the records of the thief’s calls, but also encompass calls to and from the victim on the day of the theft. In some cases the records can include calls made to and from a victim’s new cellphone, if the stolen phone’s number has been transferred

i give my permission (5, Insightful)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#42104827)

if my phone is ever stolen i give the NYPD permission to monitor the calls the scumbags make off MY PROPERTY

and one of these days i need to go down to the police station and have the NYPD engrave my phone like they do with cars

Re:i give my permission (4, Insightful)

Splab (574204) | about 2 years ago | (#42104887)

Yeah, not sure what the big issue is here.

Granted, I live in a country where evidence obtained illegally is a matter between state and police, said evidence is still evidence against you. Just because the dimbwitt who collected it missed some part of the paperwork doesn't mean you get a free pass...

Re:i give my permission (1)

jthill (303417) | about 2 years ago | (#42104953)

Missing some part of the paperwork isn't enough here, either. It has to be on the order of outright lying to get a warrant or some such.

Re:i give my permission (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 2 years ago | (#42105181)

How is this evidence illegal if the owner of the phone gave them permission?

Re:i give my permission (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42107783)

Because 'owner of the phone' does not equate to 'owner of the data'. If I steal your paintbrush and use it to paint a masterpiece, you don't own the masterpiece. You can't give permission for the police to intercept the thief's calls, they have to get a warrant for it.

Re:i give my permission (1)

Calydor (739835) | about a year ago | (#42108105)

What if you steal Person A's paintbrush, his paint, and his canvas, then draw your masterpiece using only things belonging to him?

Re:i give my permission (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42106341)

You have to give a "free pass" or the police have no motivation to stop breaking the rules. A rule or law has no meaning if it doesn't have real consequences.

Re:i give my permission (5, Interesting)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 2 years ago | (#42104951)

Indeed. No one has a right to privacy when using a phone that they stole.

The submitter has clearly overdosed on YRO and can't see the woods for the trees any more.

Re:i give my permission (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about 2 years ago | (#42105337)

No one has a right to privacy when using a phone that they stole.

But what about the rights of the person that they stole the phone from? Such as when their friends attempt to call (not knowing that the phone is stolen).

Or (in the lucky event where the thief is found and the phone is returned) the calls that the owner makes after police have "forgotten" to switch of the trace?

Re:i give my permission (1)

arekin (2605525) | about 2 years ago | (#42105465)

The phone will be replaced before its recovered. The only reason that the police report is required is so that the insurance company that the phone provider uses can file charges for damages against the thief. If the phone is recovered it will sit in an evidence locker. What if the person didn't have insurance on their smartphone? Well then they are stupid and deserve to have to use a dumb phone for not insuring their expensive, often stolen, piece of equipment.

PHONE. NOT SIM. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#42105995)

at least thats what I think it is. so the victims friends would be calling a simcard that was blocked by the operator minutes after the owner had reported it stolen - so they wouldn't be calling him.

they'll potentially have logs of people not having anything to do with it, since they can record the calls from the operator based on the phones identity - so if you unknowingly buy a crappy stolen phone from a phone shop then they can listen to your calls. then they can cross link that data with other sims that have been used in it.

Now if you do the same thing in Finland the operators can be asked to put the phone on a blacklist - making it unusable as a mobile phone(at least locally and with co-operating countries) - the NYPD seem to treat it as an intel source rather than as something they should make unusable for the thief (the phone could just as easily be blocked from the networks as it could be tapped - and that would deter thieving at least for local sales purposes).

point being, don't mix your stolen phones used for something shady with your legit sims - ever. ..but still, I think the thing that bothers most people here about this is that they will not lift their finger to retrieve that stolen phone even if they knew exactly in where it's used and by who.

Re:i give my permission (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42105495)

I have to agree, it seems that they got a subpoena, had reasonable suspicion (owner of phone said it was taken from them), thus the phone records from the point of theft onward would seem to be legal evidence. If many of these are cross-referenced and a pattern emerges, that would again seem to be reasonable suspicion and a new warrant could be issued for getting evidence on those implicated by the patterns.

As long as the police are getting the required warrants/subpoenas, I don't see this as an issue. The police are supposed to be allowed to gather evidence, they just have to convince the judiciary that the evidence they expect to find is worth the intrusion. I would say that in this case the judge would be right to give the go ahead.

Re:i give my permission (1)

somersault (912633) | about 2 years ago | (#42105717)

Report the phone stolen, have the IMEI blocked. Then nobody gets to use it.

Re:i give my permission (1)

JazzLad (935151) | about 2 years ago | (#42106491)

Except on cricket or other bottom-rung carrier that is a haven for stolen phones.

Re:i give my permission (1)

gsslay (807818) | about 2 years ago | (#42106069)

From TFA;

The subpoenas not only cover the records of the thiefâ(TM)s calls, but also encompass calls to and from the victim on the day of the theft. In some cases the records can include calls made to and from a victimâ(TM)s new cellphone, if the stolen phoneâ(TM)s number has been transferred, three detectives said in interviews.

That means they have records of YOUR phone calls as well, the ones YOU made before the phone was stolen, and possibly ones after as well. Still happy for the police to be storing up that data?

Re:i give my permission (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#42108475)

Thank $deity for you, man.

I was starting to think I was the only person here today who actually read the fucking article.

this is called good police work (3, Interesting)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#42104875)

the cops aren't really that smart

good police work has always been about going through mountains of data and finding one or two clues to catch the scumbags. most criminals are morons as well and leave lots of clues that have to be found and identified.

a few years back a doctor was killed near the elementary school i went to. the cops caught the guy in georgia. the scumbag tried to jump a subway turnstile years ago and was caught. the cops got a partial print from the bullet and went through the old arrest records paper finger prints manually to catch the guy. turns out he was related to the doctor's soon to be ex-wife and there were lots of cell phone records and now she's in jail as well

in the 21st century we have computers and the police don't have to do a lot of repetative work anymore

Re:this is called good police work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42105861)

Most DETECTIVE work you mean. Most police work is issuing traffic tickets, crowd control, and taking statemwnts from peopele reporting low-level crimes.

Re:this is called good police work (1)

sabt-pestnu (967671) | about 2 years ago | (#42106277)

People keep saying "found a print on a bullet".

Either they are talking about bullets not-yet-fired, or they are talking about the spent casings rather than the bullets themselves. The spent bullet itself is generally going to be fragmented or at least deformed by its travails, presenting an unhelpful surface for fingerprinting.

Heck, when my apartment was broken into a few years ago, the officer who came around told me that getting prints off even the glass door or the door handle was problematic.

Of course, in a murder case, they make a greater effort than for a simple B&E.

Transfer Service... (1)

zenrandom (708587) | about 2 years ago | (#42104903)

So this all seems well and good, until you think that these folks probably then walk down to their store and ask for a new phone. The number gets transferred to the new phone, and the NYC police are now monitoring all of your calls because you reported your phone stolen.

Re:Transfer Service... (4, Insightful)

blueg3 (192743) | about 2 years ago | (#42105013)

"Monitoring" is an active, ongoing process. Obtaining call records is a one-time request for a static set of data. Not the same.

Re:Transfer Service... (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 2 years ago | (#42105217)

Also, if you don't want the police to track your property, don't report it as stolen. If you reported your phone as stolen and got a new phone, tell the police the number you provided is no longer stolen (the device still is, though).

Re:Transfer Service... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42105041)

So this all seems well and good, until you think that these folks probably then walk down to their store and ask for a new phone. The number gets transferred to the new phone, and the NYC police are now monitoring all of your calls because you reported your phone stolen.

This is another retarded inflammatory slashdot submission. While it IS important to make sure that the cops are not getting to "grabby" with your data, here's what the article actually says.

First, they request the call logs starting from the day the phone was reported stolen. The end date appears to be as follows:
"the subpoenas from recent cases typically requested about four days of phone records, but documents reviewed by The Times indicate that the subpoenas can cover longer periods, sometimes as much as two weeks or more. "

It also says:
"Chief Pulaski’s memos from Sept. 28 instruct detectives to use any tracking or location application on the victim’s phone to track down a suspect. Victims are asked to immediately call the phone carrier and learn the details of any phone calls placed after the theft. In addition, detectives ask the victim not to transfer their phone number to a new phone for about four days. Finally, detectives are then required to prepare a subpoena, the results of which usually take a few weeks."

So from what the article says, it seems that the victims of the theft are not just getting data-raped with no knowledge that it's happening. It also seems to cops are only interested in gathering call logs from the timeframe during which the number is assigned to the stolen device.

The big question which has gone unasked and unanswered is why the cops aren't requesting any data regarding the stolen phone's unique ID number, regardless of what phone number may or may not be tied to it.

Re:Transfer Service... (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 2 years ago | (#42105359)

I've learned to instantly ignore any slashdot post that uses the words "retarded" and "faggot". I don't even bother to read it any further, saves me from mindless babble.

Re:Transfer Service... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42105433)

I have the same policy. Unfortunately it only allowed me to read half your post.

Re:Transfer Service... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42107433)

Ignorance is bliss, they say.

.

Also, you're a retarded faggot.

This is a problem how? (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | about 2 years ago | (#42104929)

In the past, people have been kidnapped and it's take days to get phone records. Since a criminal will rarely stop at stealing just one cellphone, tracking stolen phones seem like a good idea.

I've heard news reports of people's phones and credit cards being stolen, and the police having them immediately canceled. Bad Idea(tm). If an easily traceable item is stolen, it should be flagged in the system. You don't have to automatically authorize large purchases or long calls, but allowing some activity on the stolen item could lead to it's recovery. A deactivated device will be quickly discarded. With a cell phone, you could easily send it a signal to pretend to drop calls and have lousy service while you are tracing it.

Re:This is a problem how? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42105261)

If your card is stolen, or there are even suspect transactions the credit card freezes the account, and they do it almost instantly.

If it is in the evening they don't even end up telling you until the next day. In my experience it's a phone call the next morning, plus a text at about noon.

The company doesn't care about getting the item back, they care about limiting THEIR cost & liability. Best way to do that is to aggressively shut them down.

Insurance fraud? (2)

vlm (69642) | about 2 years ago | (#42104939)

My guess is insurance fraud reasons. So you want a new phone, report the old one stolen, get the official theft report from the cops, but are dumb enough to keep using the old phone to call the same people until you visit the local dealer (phone dealer, just another branch of organized crime) to get a replacement under your theft insurance contract.

In the old days this happened when you'd get a $1000 bill for calling guatemala for 8 hours... Um uh that wasn't me, uh, um stolen yeah thats it ... "so why, after the thief ran up the international bill, did the thief call your mom and talk to her for 15 minutes?" "...."

Re:Insurance fraud? (1)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#42106325)

did the thief call your mom and talk to her for 15 minutes?

That couldn't be be, your honor. My mother will testify under oath that I never call.

Re:Insurance fraud? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42107091)

My guess is insurance fraud reasons.

Insurance fraud? A smart phone cost less than my insurance deductible. Only an idiot would have a deductible that small. Anyway, if I wanted to commit that kind of fraud, I'd follow the advice here. Get a replacement policy and break the phone (say with electric shock).

Re:Insurance fraud? (1)

meta-monkey (321000) | about a year ago | (#42107879)

"so why, after the thief ran up the international bill, did the thief call your mom and talk to her for 15 minutes?" "...."

Because he wanted a hooker?

This is why I never 'password lock' my cellphones (2)

MichaelDelving (546586) | about 2 years ago | (#42104971)

My family has lost (had stolen) two iphones. I recovered both by seeing who was texted and phoned. This was before find-my-iphone apps were available. My experience so far is that perps are stupid, and will call and text everyone they know. You can probably call up current usage info and logs online at your service provider.

Hello, this is MichaelDelving. I think someone called you from my iphone last night at 8:37... Do you remember? Well, I'm going to call these 5 other numbers, and see if any of these other people know... I just want to get my phone back, not get anyone in any trouble...

Start nice, and then go through the list more angry (or resigned to just giving over phone call and text info to police). Eventually, either someone fesses up, or scares the perp into contacting you.

Arrange to meet somewhere nonscary, like the customer service desk of Walmart.

Re:This is why I never 'password lock' my cellphon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42105139)

Bullshit on your entire post. You are posting to slashdot and claim to have the balls to confront someone that should pop a cap in yer ass.

Re:This is why I never 'password lock' my cellphon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42105249)

Bullshit on your entire post. You are posting to slashdot and claim to have the balls to confront someone that should pop a cap in yer ass.

I would understand if you said "could pop a cap", but why "should"? Are you defending cell phone thieves, or just asshats in general? Just curious.

Re:This is why I never 'password lock' my cellphon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42105649)

I did something similar. Police came to my house and we called the last numbers the phone had called (Sprint gave it to me). It was some kids father who lived in a different state. He gave us his sons moms number who lived in our area. The police called her. She said her kid alonbg with a buch of other kids found the phone laying on the ground outside the mall, they made a few calls with it and then threw it down a sewer drain.

Case closed and we never got the phone back. Your plan to meet somewhere and get your phone back is never going to happen unless you lost or it is eventually found by an honest bored person with nothing better to do wants to spend his/her time helping you get it back.
I am a very honest and caring person but to deal with the hassles of tracking someone down and negotiating a meeting to swap the phone back is just not worth it. I'll always do what I've done before when I find a wallet, phone etc. Take it into the nearest store and hand it to the customer service person or cashier and go about my business.

And have they EVER used this to bust a criminal? (1)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#42104977)

When a cellphone is reported stolen in New York, the Police Department routinely subpoenas the phone's call records, from the day of the theft onward.

And I presume they then go and immediately arrest these cellphone thieves, no? I mean, that's ostensibly what this is ability is FOR, right?

Re:And have they EVER used this to bust a criminal (1)

mrquagmire (2326560) | about 2 years ago | (#42105993)

Exactly. They couldn't care less about actually tracking down your cell phone and busting the person who stole it. All they want is the data.

Re:And have they EVER used this to bust a criminal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42106029)

When a cellphone is reported stolen in New York, the Police Department routinely subpoenas the phone's call records, from the day of the theft onward.

And I presume they then go and immediately arrest these cellphone thieves, no? I mean, that's ostensibly what this is ability is FOR, right?

Of course that's not what this is for. If you RTFA you'd know that NYPD has already shelved as dead nearly every one of these cases before the subpoena results come back.

Re:And have they EVER used this to bust a criminal (1)

meta-monkey (321000) | about a year ago | (#42107949)

Police? Spending their valuable time to track down thieves and recover property for citizens? Are you new to this country...?

Limit the subpoenas? (1)

jenningsthecat (1525947) | about 2 years ago | (#42105055)

FTA: "Mr. Sussmann suggested that the Police Department could limit its subpoenas to phone calls beginning on the hour, not the day, of the theft, and ending as soon as the victim has transferred the number to a new phone."

Somehow I don't think that will happen. Information is now the world's most valuable currency - with the devolution from a 'real economy' to a financial economy, data has taken the place of gold as a prime currency, and everyone who can is hoarding it. Corporations, governments, and, yes, law enforcement agencies are gathering all they can, saving it for a rainy day, trading it, and buying livelihoods with it.

Whether or not the players conciously realize it, it's now an information economy, and those with reserves of data and the means to gather more of it will defend them just as they would defend their jobs or the cash in their mattresses.

Hmm (1)

jovius (974690) | about 2 years ago | (#42105149)

Am I the only one who came to see logs from a police gathering?

Replacement SIM (1)

welshie (796807) | about 2 years ago | (#42105165)

I take it that the police's interest in the call logs should stop the moment the SIM is blocked (on networks with SIMs), and a replacement SIM issued to the correct user of that phone number.

So what happens when... (2)

poofmeisterp (650750) | about 2 years ago | (#42105205)

What happens when the phone is recovered? Do they stop monitoring or continue? What happens to the old data? Is the phone number itself included as part of the cross-referenced net, ergo in the future your phone number could be linked to a murder/drug deal gone sour and you're the only primary suspect because of your phone number?

To clarify, your phone number is in "the net". The phone is used to call a drug store (Walgreens, CVS, etc) while stolen. The phone is recovered. Crime happens somewhere between phone recovery and you calling the same drug store. You are now a primary target with the cops not thinking about this kind of slim situation...

Re:So what happens when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42105881)

Yes and when they investigate they find you have an alibi and they move on, where is the problem. Or you don't have an alibi and they look a little deeper and find you have no motive/no relationship with the victim and move on to more likely suspects. Do you really think the police are going to waste a lot of time a one questionable piece of evidence, especially if you had reported your phone stolen (either to the police or your carrier).

Re:So what happens when... (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | about 2 years ago | (#42106147)

Yes and when they investigate they find you have an alibi and they move on, where is the problem. Or you don't have an alibi and they look a little deeper and find you have no motive/no relationship with the victim and move on to more likely suspects. Do you really think the police are going to waste a lot of time a one questionable piece of evidence, especially if you had reported your phone stolen (either to the police or your carrier).

Wha? Of course that's the case; this isn't about your possibility of conviction, it's about the crap that is a result of the process.

The problem is with the jail time you might face during the investigation, the inconvenience the investigation presents, and the possible bad rap to your name that idiot neighbors apply to you with a lack of information on their part (called small talk, back-stabbing, etc).

Oblig. Bad Car Analogy (1)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#42106217)

So what happens when someone steals your car, uses it to hold up a liquor store and then abandons it. When its recovered, do the cops hold you responsible for a crime if you visit the neighborhood liquor store?

Re:Oblig. Bad Car Analogy (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | about a year ago | (#42106885)

So what happens when someone steals your car, uses it to hold up a liquor store and then abandons it. When its recovered, do the cops hold you responsible for a crime if you visit the neighborhood liquor store?

Hardly the same. In your case, there is a witness.

Re:Oblig. Bad Car Analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42107275)

All they saw was someone wearing a balaclava and your shitbox Honda's plate number.

Something Fishy About This... (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#42106087)

OK, hypothetical here:

- Phone gets stolen

- Owner reports phone stolen

Here's where the disconnect is - according to everything I've read, all US cellular providers have agreed to blacklist the IMEI of any phone reported stolen, thus rendering it virtually useless (at least, to a thief or fence)...

So, then, how are the cops building a database of call logs from after the reported theft of the phone, when the phone should, for all intents and purposes, be a brick?

I can think of a few possibilities...
1) the cops are not reporting the status of the stolen phones to the telco, so they can use the stolen phones as a sort of warrantless bugging device
2) The telco's aren't really blacklisting IMEI's, they just claim they do to keep Uncle Sam off their backs
3) "We only log calls from stolen phones" is a convenient cop-out for when the media gets wind of the likely fact that the NYPD is actually going through the logs of every phone they touch, stolen or otherwise (stop n' frisk) obtained.

1 I would find acceptable (don't steal phones if you don't want to be bugged), 2 would piss me off (at the telcos), and 3... 3 seems the most likely circumstance, considering this is the same region that banned "too-big" sodas, allows it's LEOs to randomly violate the civil liberties of anyone within city limits, and wants to turn the 1st Amendment from a right into a privilege.

Re:Something Fishy About This... (1)

blueg3 (192743) | about a year ago | (#42107025)

There's a gap between when the phone is stolen and when the IMEI is blacklisted. At the very least, this gap must exist since you can't report the phone stolen at exactly the same time someone stole it. They can make calls during this time.

Call records are strictly retrospective -- they're not a monitoring of future calls, but a record of past calls. So you report your phone stolen, the police request a call log for the stolen phone, and they get a log of calls made before the IMEI was blacklisted. In theory, the ones of interest are those in the window between the time that you claim it was stolen and the time service was cut off.

Re:Something Fishy About This... (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#42108181)

There's a gap between when the phone is stolen and when the IMEI is blacklisted. At the very least, this gap must exist since you can't report the phone stolen at exactly the same time someone stole it. They can make calls during this time.

Sounds logical.

Call records are strictly retrospective -- they're not a monitoring of future calls, but a record of past calls. So you report your phone stolen, the police request a call log for the stolen phone, and they get a log of calls made before the IMEI was blacklisted. In theory, the ones of interest are those in the window between the time that you claim it was stolen and the time service was cut off.

Not according to TFA:

The subpoenas not only cover the records of the thief’s calls, but also encompass calls to and from the victim on the day of the theft. In some cases the records can include calls made to and from a victim’s new cellphone, if the stolen phone’s number has been transferred, three detectives said in interviews.

Sounds like a continually running capture to me.

Re:Something Fishy About This... (1)

blueg3 (192743) | about a year ago | (#42108377)

What they are undoubtedly requesting is a CDR or equivalent. Particularly for so minor a crime as a stolen phone, they are not going to pay the very substantial fees phone companies charge for ongoing monitoring.

What TFA is referring to is almost certainly a race condition: The victim reports the theft to both (a) the police and (b) the cell company, and then gets a new cell phone and has the number transferred to it. The police eventually request call records from the cell company, and the cell company eventually services the request. The servicing of the request can easily take place after the number in question has been transferred to a new phone controlled by the victim, so necessarily, the requested logs will include calls made by the victim on his new phone.

A moot point soon? (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 2 years ago | (#42106357)

Major American carriers will start disabling and blacklisting stolen phones soon.

This means there will only be a few days' worth of logs for such phones in most cases.

They are pulling call RECORDS, not just numbers. (1)

Lashat (1041424) | about a year ago | (#42107675)

Which means the police will also have the necessary location data.

With simple numbers they would probably only see a lot of stolen phones calling other stolen phones. With location data they can profile geographic locations where both stolen phones are being used. Then a focused effort in that area can be made to determine who is using the stolen phones.

To police the bigger fish here are the people using the stolen phones to facilitate "more important" criminal activity.

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