Thu, Mar 18, 2010 - Page 3 News List

NCC concerned about rise in requests for call records

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

National Communications Commission (NCC) statistics showed yesterday that the police topped government agencies in the number of requests made for individuals’ telephone records, filing 2.3 million applications between 2007 and last September under the category of criminal investigation.

The commission ruled yesterday to lower the application fee for the call records of a telephone number from NT$120 per day to NT$100 per day.

The statistics came to light when the commissioners reviewed the case at their weekly meeting.

PRIVACY CONCERNS

Commission spokesperson Chen Jeng-chang (陳正倉) said the commissioners had reservations over the number of applications filed for call records.

He said that applicants should balance the use of those records with concern for the preservation of personal privacy and freedom of communication.

Commission statistics showed that telecom carriers received 2.3 million applications for call records between 2007 and last September, which included mobile phone and land-line phone numbers.

Each application represents one case under investigation, the commission said. The call records of approximately 2.2 million numbers were investigated, it said.

The telecom carriers were also requested to submit the user information of 3.5 million phone numbers. The commission said a suspect could use several different telephone numbers, and the same number could be used by a suspect to commit different crimes.

FORMAL REQUESTS

When requesting call records, the applicant must submit a formal application to the telecom carrier to which the telephone number belongs.

On average, the number of applications for call records increased from 25,000 per month between 2002 and 2006, to 70,000 per month between 2007 and last year.

Revenues collected by the telecom carriers for offering the call record service increased from NT$70 million (US$2.2 million) in 2007 to NT$140 million last year.

The statistics also showed that within the two years under review, 67 percent of the applications were filed by the police and 27 percent were filed by prosecutors.

The rest were filed by other agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Administration and the Coast Guard Administration.

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