New figures show growth in law enforcement requests for cellphone data

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WASHINGTON — The nation’s largest wireless companies are regularly sharing with state and local law enforcement authorities thousands of records of cellphone calls and customer locations gleaned from cellphone towers, part of a dramatic expansion of domestic surveillance to investigate crimes, according to new industry statistics provided to Congress.

Last year alone law enforcement agencies nationwide accessed individual cell phone records well over a million times, according to data to be released Monday by Senator Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, that he obtained from the eight largest wireless providers.

The three biggest, Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T, reported that in 2012 they also received 56,400 so-called “emergency” requests for personal cellphone information from law enforcement officials that did not require a warrant or court order.

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