Verizon has a nice little business going in wiretaps. It charges the federal government $775 to tap a customer’s phone and then $500 a month after that to maintain it, making it the most expensive of the government’s wireless service intelligence assets, according to the Associated Press.
Here is how the companies named in the NSA’s PRISM domestic surveillance scandal stack up against each other, as ranked by what they charge for intelligence requests:
- Phone taps
- Verizon: $775 startup fee then $500 per month
- AT&T: $325 “activation fee” and $10 a day afterward (~$310 per month)
- Cricket: ~$250 per wiretap
- U.S. Cellular: ~ $250 per wiretap
- Sprint: $30 per month
- Email access:
- Microsoft, Yahoo and Google: ~$25 per account
This is a real business, by the way. The AP says AT&T collected $24 million in government fees between 2007 and 2011. Verizon collects $3-5 million.
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