Dear unclemom-ga (cool handle, by the way);
Thank you for allowing me to answer your interesting question. LUD (or
LUD?s) is an acronym for ?Local Usage Details?; a detailed record of
local calls made and received from a particular phone number. By
virtue of Title III of the 1968 Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets
Act, law enforcement officials can indeed obtain these records with a
court order provided there is enough reasonable cause to suspect that
the communication equipment was material to a specific crime.
Much to the chagrin of Civil Liberties groups, in August 1999, the FCC
began providing law enforcement authorities access to the record of
cells through which cellular phone calls are routed, essentially for
the same purpose, however, since there is a somewhat lesser
expectation of privacy in cell phone communications many of the laws
pertaining to land-line telephone calls do not apply. Often a court
will allow law enforcement agencies to subpoena these types of records
as part of a criminal investigation from the service provider and the
end-user won?t even know the incident has taken place.
As for your question about the frequency with which police use the
investigative technique, the answer is obviously relative to the kinds
of investigations that are conducted. In my own lifetime of law
enforcement experience I have not seen this done very often. I suppose
it depends on how many cases involve telephone communications and the
seriousness of the offense. One would logically conclude, of course,
that Federal law enforcement authorities probably employ this
technique more often than state or local authorities do simply by
virtue of the cross-jurisdictional nature of their frequent interstate
and internationally related investigations. Generally speaking,
however, the oft-cited term ?LUDS? is tiresomely over-used on police
shows (Law and Order? in particular) and merely seems to be one of
those familiar catchphrases that reels viewers in and makes them feel
a part of the investigation by sharing the lingo. As a matter of fact,
other viewers like you have noticed this trend too and have complained
that the term is actually being used too much. Some have even
suggested that the scriptwriters? frequent use of this term ?LUDS?
alone has marked the point at which ?Law and Order? finally ?jumped
the shark? (see more about this term in my footnote):
?L&O jumped the 500th time the cops asked for LUDs and the 100th time
the lawyers mentioned "Black Letter Law". In the horrible Big Beef
episode they were both mentioned. I'm never watching this crap again.
This from someone who watched it from the start. I need to get a
JUMP THE SHARK
So there you have it. Book ?em, Dano.
I hope you find that my answer exceeds your expectations. If you have
any questions about my research please post a clarification request
prior to rating the answer. Otherwise I welcome your rating and your
final comments and I look forward to working with you again in the
near future. Thank you for bringing your question to us.
Tutuzdad-ga ? Google Answers Researcher
Footnote: ?Jump the shark?
?Jumping the shark is a metaphor that has been used by US TV critics
and fans since the 1990s to denote the moment when a TV series is
deemed to have passed its peak. Once a show has "jumped the shark,"
fans sense a noticeable decline in quality or feel the show has
undergone too many changes to retain its original charm. The phrase
was popularized by Jon Hein on his Website jumptheshark.com. It
alludes to a scene in the TV series Happy Days when the popular
character Fonzie, on water skis, literally jumps over a shark.?
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