The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia has sent a Freedom of Information Act request to Hampton, Newport News, Suffolk, Chesapeake and Norfolk for information on the Hampton Roads Telephone Analysis Share Network, a database formed two years ago to help police scour personal telephone data for potential criminal activity.
The five cities participating in the program, known as the Hampton Roads Telephone Analysis Sharing Network, are Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Chesapeake and Suffolk, according to the memorandum of understanding that established the database. The effort is being led in part by the Peninsula Narcotics Enforcement Task Force, which is responsible for a “telephone analysis room” in the city of Hampton, where the database is maintained.
The unusual and secretive database contains telecom customer subscriber information; records about individual phone calls, such as the numbers dialed, the time the calls were made and their duration; as well as the contents of seized mobile devices. The information is collected and shared among police agencies to enhance analysis and law enforcement intelligence.
The legality of the database is in question, however, and at least one law enforcement agency has declined to participate in the program due to such concerns.
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