It may be Cyber Monday, but you can be sure no matter how many purchases you make online today that Cricket will be spending more than you. This is because it was announced earlier today that Cricket Wireless has agreed to pay just under $2.2 million dollars to the US government. This is to settle an ongoing case against Cricket Wireless in regards to wire-tapping. As you are probably aware the government uses all forms of technology at their disposal to catch criminals and one of these is wiretapping. To be clear, this is in respect to legal wiretapping in which the government has obtained a warrant to wiretap or pen register.
Thanks to Hollywood, you are probably well aware of what a wiretap is. However, if you are wondering what a ‘pen register’ is, then this simply refers to the capturing of call identifying information transmitted by a phone line. So there is no confusion, this does not capture the contents of the phone calls, just the identifying information. The issue with Cricket Wireless though, is that they seem to have been overcharging the government for this convenience. You see, although carriers are expected to comply with warrants for wiretaps or pen registers, the same telecommunications companies are permitted to claim ‘reasonable expenses’ in doing so. Whether this is for providing facilities or services needed to aid the tapping or registering of specific lines. It seems in claiming these ‘reasonably expenses’ Cricket had been overcharging the government and not just once or twice. According to the reports, Cricket was overcharging the government for these services from 2007 through to 2010. After which they eventually did lower the costs.
There is no way for sure of knowing (at the moment) how many times in this three-year period, the overcharging occurred as there is no information on what Cricket charge per wiretap or pen register. However, at nearly $2.2 million over three years it’s probably fair to say it happened quite a few times. Either way though this settlement will bring a close to the case brought again cricket Wireless. So what do you think of this? Do you think carriers should be able to charge what they like for these services? Whatever you think about the topic in general, leave a comment and let us know.