The NYPD has taken great pains to show you how much they care about smartphone theft. But in addition to using location apps like Find My iPhone, the police are also amassing a searchable database of thousands of call logs without the victim's consent. In interviews with several former and current detectives, New York Times reporter Joseph Goldstein found that call records for stolen phones are sometimes obtained by the NYPD for a time period encompassing days or weeks from when the phone was stolen, ensnaring calls made by the victim, even after they get a new phone. Worst of all, the subpoenaed calls "seldom lead to an arrest," but the records remain in the NYPD's searchable database.
While the detectives said they weren't aware of how many logs are in the NYPD's database (referred to in the department as the Enterprise Case Management System), Goldstein obtained a document showing that in January of this year, T-Mobile alone acceded to 297 police subpoenas. Each subpoena can encompass "dozens to hundreds of phone calls."
“If large amounts of victim phone records are being collected and added to a searchable database, it’s very troubling,” Michael Sussmann, a lawyer who represents wireless companies said. Civil rights attorney Normal Siegel called it “eye-opening and alarming. There is absolutely no legitimate purpose for doing this. If I’m an innocent New Yorker, why should any of my information be in a police database?”
Shockingly, the NYPD is remaining silent on the practice: "Paul J. Browne, the Police Department’s chief spokesman, did not reply to more than half a dozen requests for comments."