If you get your cell phone stolen in NYC, the police will help you find it. Great. But not so great? They're going to subpoena all your call records from the day it was swiped onward and add them to a searchable database.
The justification is the NYPD will have the calls the thief made and received to help officers track the person down. But they'll also have the calls you made, before your phone was stolen. All this data is integrated into something called the Enterprise Case Management System, where they're hyperlinked so they can be cross referenced to other cases. It gets more troubling—these records are obtained without your knowledge, and the phone companies are complying. There's also no deadline for which the police department has to get rid of them. And if your number has been transferred, they can get their hands on your new digits, too.
So how often is it happening? Police aren't talking, but the Times says that T-Mobile, for example, cooperated with 297 subpoenas last January alone. And that's just one smaller carrier. While police also haven't said explicitly whether or not they've actually used victim call records, the perplexing thing is they can. [New York Times]