Not that I didn't suspect they were doing this, but it's a bit overwhelming to find out just how routine it is:
An anonymous hacker has released records of 70 million phone calls by inmates in United States prisons and jails to the press—and it suggests that attorney-client privilege has been routinely violated on a huge scale.
On Wednesday, The Intercept's Jordan Smith and Micah Lee published a story saying they had been furnished with tens of millions of call records, along with links to download the content of the calls themselves. The data apparently comes from Securus Technologies, a company that provides tech to U.S. prisons and jails.
Significantly, at least 14,000 of the calls included in the cache are between prisoners and their lawyers. This, The Intercept says, is "a strong indication that at least some of the recordings are likely confidential and privileged legal communications—calls that never should have been recorded in the first place.
"In fact, the actual number of calls with attorneys may well be even higher, because the 14,000 number was reached by cross-checking the hacked data with only the known landline numbers of lawyers—not accounting for mobile phones.
Business Insider has reached out to Securus for comment.
The point of attorney-client privilege is that it gives people a safe space to discuss their case with their lawyers. It is hard to formulate a strong legal strategy if the state (or private companies) could be listening in to exactly what you're saying, so such communication is generally protected from such prying.