The fast pace of technological progress over the last two decades has led to a growing lag between the introduction of new communications devices and the privacy laws that regulate their usage. This has allowed law enforcement authorities to exploit the situation.
The New York Times recently reported that several major cellphone companies have been receiving an increasing number of requests for data from legal authorities at every level.
A congressional inquiry led by Rep. Edward Markey (D., Mass.) found that the cellphone companies received 1.3 million demands for information last year, and that such demands have been increasing at rates climbing up to 16 percent over the past five years.