Feds Monitoring Verizon Cell Phones

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

(Memphis) Some cellphone users are ringing with outrage at the news the federal government is collecting cellphone data from one of the country’s largest providers.

In April, a federal judge signed an order demanding Verizon Wireless hand over the personal records of millions of their customers to the government every day.

“You don’t find out about anything until it becomes a public issue. They don’t consult us about anything. They don’t ask the consumers they just up and do it because they think they can,” said Czenzie Smith.

Under the court order, Verizon must turn over the numbers of both people on a phone call, how long the call is, what times the call is placed and any other questionable information.

This includes calls made within the country and abroad.

According to the order, the conversations themselves are not turned over, but Marcus Lomex says there’s no way to really know what the government is getting.

“I’m not for that at all. That’s invasion, but they tap into stuff all the time so it doesn’t surprise me,” said Lomex.

Verizon didn’t return News Channel 3’s call for comment and told CBS News they are declining to comment all together.

The government has been doing this since 2009, but the courts must re-approve it every three years.

The White House said Thursday they are doing this for national security reasons.

Taneisha Sanders says the government has to walk a fine line between keeping us safe and invading people’s privacy.

“That’s probably a double-edged sword. If you get into that type of thing you’re going to invade privacy, but you’ve got to keep the people safe,” said Sanders.

So far, Verizon has been the only carrier made to turn over information, but all carriers are impacted because the government collects calls made between Verizon phones and others.