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Use by law enforcement agencies of commercial telephone data sparks the fight against surveillance

In January 2020, a 14-year-old girl was reported missing from her Missouri home and classified as a runaway by local police. His phone had been wiped from the data and left behind, leaving little clue as to his whereabouts.

Several hundred miles away in Fayetteville, Ark., A local prosecutor named Kevin Metcalf heard about the teenager through his professional network and suspected that she might have been kidnapped or brought to go. Using widely available business data, he pursued that intuition in a way that is now in the sights of privacy advocates and lawmakers on both sides.