The national advocacy organization for private investigators, NCISS, has issued a position statement that argues for restrictions on the sale of telephone subscriber records, while pressing for the cool headed recognition that PIs provide a public benefit in accessing this information for legal purposes.
Historically, the lawful, legitimate acquisition and use of telephone records – both cellular and land line – have proven to be an invaluable and cost effective asset in the processing of many types of investigations. Investigators from both the public and private sectors have used phone records as a tool to assist in investigating allegations of ID theft, fraud, abuse, parental and stranger abductions, to trace connections in drug transactions and follow stolen goods, to locate witnesses, runaways and debtors, as well as an aid in collecting judgments and for many other critical purposes. The legitimate and lawful use of phone records as an investigative tool provides the investigator with a cost effective, accurate and expedient method of confirming or denying critical thinking in many areas, and offers a focus for further investigative methods. For these reasons, NCISS supports the commercial provision of these records to licensed, fully vetted investigators who establish permissible purpose and are held accountable for the lawful and ethical use of such records.