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Verizon refused to help police locate unconscious man unless they paid his phone bill

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posted on May, 14 2012 @ 01:38 PM
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source boingboing.net...


Nancy Schaar at the Times Reporter: A 62-year-old Carrollton area man was found unconscious and unresponsive Thursday morning during an intense search overnight by Carroll County sheriff deputies, an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper and the patrol’s airplane. [Sheriff] Williams said he attempted to use the man’s cell phone signal to locate him, but the man was behind on his phone bill and the Verizon operator refused to connect the signal unless the sheriff’s department agreed to pay the overdue bill. After some disagreement, Williams agreed to pay $20 on the phone bill in order to find the man.

Though this case is from a while ago—operators are now made available to assist emergency services—it got me thinking about what makes carriers and telcos such horrible companies to deal with once you're a customer. It's because accepting a long term cellular contract is a lot like going a couple of grand in debt.

As a result, their corporate culture gravitates toward that of a collection agency. It's inevitable, even if they try to avoid it, because that's the economic bottom line of the customer-facing part of their business. If an operator is actually having to talk to you, you must be a deadbeat or some other kind of problem.

Verizon, when asked by police to find a cellphone, suffered from a perverse blind spot: it could not see beyond the fact that the cellphone's owner owed it money.


Don't you hate a bureaucracy be it the government or a private corporation.

I do hope Verizon suffered some negative financial consequences over this. They apparently have since changed their policy with regard to assisting emergency services




posted on May, 14 2012 @ 01:46 PM
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They are evil and they know it. That's why they bought the domain name verizonsucks.com. They own several of the likes. Though there are a few along those lines they haven't obtained yet. They do NOT want people to be able to access this type of story when someone researches which company to pick. Most big companies are evil but Verizon has a reputation to uphold when it comes to bending customers over to be violated.



posted on May, 14 2012 @ 02:06 PM
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reply to post by oghamxx
 


It looks like they used the wrong protocol to be honest. I have had to do the same thing on a few occassions and we never called the phone company help line. There should be other LEO contact numbers as well as emergency paperwork that can expedite that information for emergencies.

With that being said how does the operator know the person they are speaking to is a cop?
edit on 14-5-2012 by Xcathdra because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 14 2012 @ 02:08 PM
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It costs them tens of times more than that 20 dollars to get that info in the first place, there have been quite a few threads about it, and this story sounds almost like sensationalistic misinfo/distraction...

These Are The Prices AT&T, Verizon and Sprint Charge For Cellphone Wiretaps

4/03/2012

If Americans aren’t disturbed by phone carriers’ practices of handing over cell phone users’ personal data to law enforcement en masse–in many cases without a warrant–we might at least be interested to learn just how much that service is costing us in tax dollars: often hundreds or thousands per individual snooped.

Earlier this week the American Civil Liberties Union revealed a trove of documents it had obtained through Freedom of Information Requests to more than 200 police departments around the country. They show a pattern of police tracking cell phone locations and gathering other data like call logs without warrants, using devices that impersonate cell towers to intercept cellular signals, and encouraging officers to refrain from speaking about cell-tracking technology to the public, all detailed in a New York Times story.

But at least one document also details the day-to-day business of telecoms’ handing over of data to law enforcement, including a breakdown of every major carrier’s fees for every sort of data request from targeted wiretaps to so-called “tower dumps” that provide information on every user of certain cell tower. The guide, as provided by the Tucson, Arizona police department to the ACLU, is dated July 2009, and the fees it lists may be somewhat outdated. But representatives I reached by email at Verizon and AT&T both declined to detail any changes to the numbers.

Here are a few of the highlights from the fee data.

- Wiretaps cost hundreds of dollars per target every month, generally paid at daily or monthly rates. To wiretap a customer’s phone, T-Mobile charges law enforcement a flat fee of $500 per target. Sprint’s wireless carrier Sprint Nextel requires police pay $400 per “market area” and per “technology” as well as a $10 per day fee, capped at $2,000. AT&T charges a $325 activation fee, plus $5 per day for data and $10 for audio. Verizon charges a $50 administrative fee plus $700 per month, per target.

- Data requests for voicemail or text messages cost extra. AT&T demands $150 for access to a target’s voicemail, while Verizon charges $50 for access to text messages. Sprint offers the most detailed breakdown of fees for various kinds of data on a phone, asking $120 for pictures or video, $60 for email, $60 for voice mail and $30 for text messages.

- All four telecom firms also offer so-called “tower dumps” that allow police to see the numbers of every user accessing a certain cell tower over a certain time at an hourly rate. AT&T charges $75 per tower per hour, with a minimum of two hours. Verizon charges between $30 and $60 per hour for each cell tower. T-Mobile demands $150 per cell tower per hour, and Sprint charges $50 per tower, seemingly without an hourly rate.

- For location data, the carrier firms offer automated tools that let police track suspects in real time. Sprint charges $30 per month per target to use its L-Site program for location tracking. AT&T’s E911 tool costs $100 to activate and then $25 a day. T-Mobile charges a much pricier $100 per day.


In an emailed statement to me, a Verizon spokesperson told me that the company doesn’t charge police in “emergency cases, nor do we charge law enforcement for historical location information in non-emergency cases.” He added that the company doesn’t “make a profit from any of the data requests from law enforcement.” A Sprint spokesperson sent me a statement saying that the company similarly doesn’t charge law enforcement for data requests in “exigent circumstances.”

...

that last quoted paragraph makes me question what I said above, but at the same time I don't believe the carriers would tell us the 100% truth of the matter in the first place...



posted on May, 14 2012 @ 02:32 PM
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But if Verizon allowed them to find you when there was a warrant out for your arrest, you'd be flipping your tits.



posted on May, 14 2012 @ 02:35 PM
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I didn't realize it was normal procedure that a Sheriff's Office could request a corporation "track" a person for them, without a warrant?

Am I supposed to expect this as "a given" now, or am I missing something.



posted on May, 14 2012 @ 02:38 PM
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I use a "pay as you go" phone, pay maybe $80 a yr total.

I refuse to deal with the telco mafia and get stuck into some long term contract.



posted on May, 14 2012 @ 02:39 PM
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reply to post by cetaphobic
 


Good point.

It is still amazing to me how easily we can be located with technology today. I know I am preaching to the choir on ATS but when you step back and actually look at how difficult it is to completely disappear you have to stand back in awe of the beast that has risen in the 21st century. It is only going to get worse too. Fortunately behind much of this technology will be poorly paid employees with #ty attitudes. That will refuse to help the police to save their $10/hr job. Maybe just maybe human laziness and incompetency will save us all.



posted on May, 14 2012 @ 02:46 PM
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Originally posted by SyphonX
I didn't realize it was normal procedure that a Sheriff's Office could request a corporation "track" a person for them, without a warrant?

Am I supposed to expect this as "a given" now, or am I missing something.


Actually one is required (example of my situation).

What occurs is the agency contacts the appropriate phone carrier. If its an emergency situation there is an affidavidt sent to dispatch, its signed and sent back. It essentially states the reason for requesting the information is because of a life or death situation (suicidal / kidnapping / etc).

The only info provided is the location of the signal. To my knowledge it does not include any phone records / test messages etc. Its just the triangulation.

Once the situation is overwith the phone company papwerwork goes into the offical police report to document justification for the request and waiver of the provacy policy phone companies have in place. That way if the phone company is ever challenged for their action, they refer them to the requesting agency and go from there.

Thats been my experience and I am sure others have had differing encounters. This has been around for a long time and because of the emergency nature required in order to actually get it done, its not to often it happens.

Hope this clears some of the confusion up.
From a non cell phone point of view GM's On-Star can do the same thing.
edit on 14-5-2012 by Xcathdra because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 14 2012 @ 02:51 PM
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What if the police have their own, mobile, tracking units?

"'Stingray' Phone Tracker Fuels Constitutional Clash"
www.abovetopsecret.com...

Originally posted by Domo1

'Stingray' Phone Tracker Fuels Constitutional Clash


online.wsj.com

Stingrays are designed to locate a mobile phone even when it's not being used to make a call. The Federal Bureau of Investigation considers the devices to be so critical that it has a policy of deleting the data gathered in their use, mainly to keep suspects in the dark about their capabilities, an FBI official told The Wall Street Journal in response to inquiries.

The sheriff's department in Maricopa County, Ariz., uses the equipment "about on a monthly basis," says Sgt. Jesse Spurgin.
(visit the link for the full news article)


and yes, they use them without warrants



posted on May, 14 2012 @ 02:56 PM
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When I worked for Sprint, any police requests went to a specialized department that dealt with them.

I'm assuming Verizon had something similar, and the employee the police dealt with probably didn't know or bother to look up correct procedure.



posted on May, 14 2012 @ 03:13 PM
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reply to post by 1825114
 


You article is from 2011 -
here is the updated info -
Supreme Court rules GPS tracking unconstitutional - January 2012

That ruling should apply to the FBI.... If it does not then we would need to check FCC regulations, specifically the part about modifiying a device to intercept / track phone calls / coordinates for purposes other than maintenance etc etc etc...

Its like the 800mghz scanners... Sometime back public safety used the lower 800mghz bands and some cell phone companies used the upper. The 800 scanners could be modified to listen in on those phone calls and there were laws in place to prevent it / prvent a eprosn from modifying a device to circumvent the lockouts in place.
edit on 14-5-2012 by Xcathdra because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 14 2012 @ 04:36 PM
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reply to post by oghamxx
 


I'm not buying this story.There's something off about it.I went to the link that's provided in the article and it just seems odd.Probably because both are poorly written.

I don't know it seems to me that this article was just written to bash Verizon.It's completley irrelavant to the story.It's focusing more on doing that than actually telling us what happened with this dude.



posted on May, 15 2012 @ 02:04 AM
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Originally posted by nightstalker78
reply to post by oghamxx
 


I'm not buying this story.There's something off about it.I went to the link that's provided in the article and it just seems odd.Probably because both are poorly written.

I don't know it seems to me that this article was just written to bash Verizon.It's completley irrelavant to the story.It's focusing more on doing that than actually telling us what happened with this dude.


What you have to consider is that there is no more information to give the full picture of the story because it was probably restricted and sealed with the case, and my guess is that there was a warrantless inquiry, and Verizon was probably going through an internal audit at the time, which forced them into compliance with the law, when more times than not, they would forsake disclosure laws and do it on the "sly" and leak the info to the cops.



posted on May, 15 2012 @ 01:18 PM
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Originally posted by babybunnies
When I worked for Sprint, any police requests went to a specialized department that dealt with them.

I'm assuming Verizon had something similar, and the employee the police dealt with probably didn't know or bother to look up correct procedure.


ATT has a similar, when I would get these I just past them to my boss. I have gotten about 3 or 4 of those type of calls a year. I know where the box is that they use to track you down. FYI their are GPS chips in all cell phones how do you think you those location based services know what show you.




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