In security researcher Christopher Soghoian's [2009 blog post, "8 Million Reasons for Real Surveillance Oversight"], then later in [his Ph.D. dissertation, "The Spies We Trust: Third Party Service Providers and Law Enforcement Surveillance"], Soghoihan reported on a Web interface created by Sprint to allow government agents easier access to their customers' private data.
At the 2009 ISS World (Intelligence Support Systems for Lawful Interception, Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Gathering) conference, Sprint's Electronic Surveillance Manager Paul Taylor said the site had been "pinged" more than 8 million times in a 13-month period. "We turned it on the Web interface for law enforcement about one year ago last month, and we just passed 8 million requests. So there is no way on earth my team could have handled 8 million requests from law enforcement, just for GPS alone," Taylor said. "So the tool has just really caught on fire with law enforcement. They also love that it is extremely inexpensive to operate and easy, so, just the sheer volume of requests they anticipate us automating other features, and I just don't know how we'll handle the millions and millions of requests that are going to come in."
This implies that Sprint violates its customers' trust not only when forced to do so by court order, but also when law enforcement agents simply desire to examine customers' records, without regard for the urgency of circumstances or for the lack thereof.
Customers of Ting and of other mobile carriers willfully provide vast quantaties of information about those people with whom we communicate, about those Websites which we visit, and about our precise locations. We carry tracking devices called "mobile phones" that also happen to facilitate communication. Will Ting, like Sprint (and likely other carriers), offer easy access by government snoops to the information with which your customers entrust you?