In 2008, Sprint turned over customer GPS locations to the government over 8 million times. Christopher Soghoian, blogger and doctoral candidate, discovered this during a closed-door conference called ISS World. At that meeting, Sprint Nextel’s electronic surveillance manager Paul Taylor explained an automated system that law enforcement agencies could use to determine where a subscriber was located.
Taylor stated that these services were provided to the police only in cases were it was deemed absolutely necessary. It was also mentioned that this information was only provided upon the conditions that a subpoena warranted its release.
Taylor also stated that Sprint keeps 24 month long URL records on some of its devices but this is done for marketing reasons and not law enforcement. They also stated that even though there were 8 million requests for customer information, most were for emergency situations.
One tech writer stated that this type of information is commonly collected by cell phone agencies. Customer information is constantly being collected by either law enforcement agencies or marketing agencies.
A Sprint Nextel representative named Matt Sullivan was quick to state that the 8 million requests for customer information did not represent 8 million individual customers. Through out the year law enforcement may request information on one customer and request that information over large periods of time thus generating thousands of separate indications of information sharing.
Because of this it is important to note that these 8 million locations searches happen between a few thousand customers. This is nothing out of the ordinary seeing as how Sprint services 47 million customers daily.