US lawmakers to ask Department of Homeland Security for data on cell phone use


A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Wednesday is calling for a full accounting of how often police officers use cell phones in their vehicles.

The bill, introduced by Reps.

Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Zoe Loeffler (D -Calif.) and Nita Lowey (D –N.Y.) calls for a review of how frequently police officers are using their cell phones and whether the federal government has data on how often they are using them.

The lawmakers also want to see more detailed information about how often officers use the technology to obtain information about people and events in public.

The federal government would be required to share data about use of cell phones by law enforcement agencies with the Justice Department and the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.

The Justice Department has said it plans to begin providing such information within 90 days.

The Privacy and Privacy Oversight Board has said the data would only be available to law enforcement.

The Privacy and Technology Task Force, an independent bipartisan commission, said last year that its goal was to get to a point where law enforcement would share information about cell phones with the Privacy & Civil Liberties Act, the federal data law.

The panel’s report in 2014 also called for a national data pool for law enforcement and the Department of Defense to make that information publicly available.

But the panel said the government needs to ensure that police agencies share data on use of their devices with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration, the two agencies that oversee national security.

Law enforcement officials say their use of the devices is necessary to respond to real threats to public safety and that their use in public places, including schools and places where children congregate, can be a way for them to communicate information about those threats.

Law Enforcement Officers Association spokesman Chris Woods said the group is supportive of the legislation.

“The public deserves to know exactly what kind of information is being collected, what type of data is being used and how often,” Woods said.

The FBI has said that it will collect information on the number of times a cellphone is used, how often it is used and who uses it, as well as how frequently the phone is tapped, but it has not provided details on the kind of data it collects.

The agency said it is not legally required to provide such data, but said the bureau is using the data to help protect the public.

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