HOW TO SERVE LEGAL PAPERS ON VERIZON

By Akanksha A. Panicker

Smartphones have connected billions of people together, drawing the world to the touch of one’s fingertips.  Telecommunications companies have consequently boomed and Verizon has been one of them. Telecommunications companies have thus had the benefits of hosting the networks for these smartphones. 

Verizon Communications Inc. is an American international telecommunications corporation and a Dow Jones Industrial Average member. Verizon Communications (formerly Bell Atlantic) is a company providing communications, information, and entertainment products and services. Verizon currently  operates as two strategic business units: [A.] Verizon Consumer Group (Consumer) and [B.] Verizon Business Group (Business).

Verizon’s Consumer segment offers wireless and wireline communications services and equipment as well as sells residential fixed connectivity solutions, including Internet, video and voice services, and wireless network access to resellers on a wholesale basis. However, the Business segment provides wireless and wireline products and services organized by the primary customer groups, being Global Enterprise, Small and Medium Business, Public Sector and Other, and Wholesale as the groups.

[1.0] HISTORY OF VERIZON

AT&T’s anti-trust lawsuit meant that the United States Department of Justice directed the  Bell System to be split into seven entities, each one a Regional Bell Operating Company (RBOC), colloquially known as ‘Baby Bells.’ Bell Atlantic, one of the Baby Bells, was established in 1984.

Many of Bell Atlantic’s service firms took on the identity of the parent firm as a key component. This was especially so since there was an entire overhaul of the Baby Bells throughout the 1990s. Bell Atlantic merged with partner Baby Bell NYNEX to spread into New York and the New England states. The remaining corporate name was Bell Atlantic, and the combined company relocated its headquarters from Philadelphia to NYNEX’s former headquarters in New York City. 

Post the 1990s and into the new millennium, Bell Atlantic purchased GTE, consolidating the network of telecommunications firms from the areas of the world beyond Bell Atlantic.  Bell Atlantic then changed its name to Verizon, a portmanteau of veritas (Latin for ‘truth’) and horizon.

Verizon moved into copyright ownership in 2015 with the acquisition of AOL, and two years later with the acquisition of Yahoo! Later,  AOL and Yahoo were merged under a single division called Oath Inc., which is now branded as Verizon Media. Verizon has been one of the remaining three businesses with origins in the old Baby Bells. The other two, including Verizon, are the product of mergers between former Baby Bell participants. SBC Communications purchased the Bells’ previous parent company, AT&T Corporation, and adopted the AT&T branding.

[2.0 PROCESS SERVICE ON VERIZON

[2.1] THE VERIZON SECURITY ASSISTANCE TEAM (VSAT)

The Verizon Security Assistance Team (VSAT) ensures court orders, search warrants, subpoenas, and other legal demands served upon Verizon are processed confidentially and in compliance with all applicable laws, and coordinates court appearances for Verizon Custodian of Records. Correspondence can be communicated with the address provided for the VSAT specifically for records. 

Verizon Security Assistance Team only accepts some legal process which would include subpoenas, court orders, or search warrants for records. Most legal requests would have to be specifically addressed to the entity. However, legal demands for Subpoena can be faxed to VSAT at a specific number, distinct to the court orders or search warrants number. 

For Verizon Wireless, the mailing address is where the relevant documents may be provided. VSAT has a web-based interface that enables users to upload legal demands and receive responsive records via fax, secure email, or secure portal. Verizon encourages interested parties to inquire about this service.

[2.2] VERIZON INTERNET SERVICES

Verizon Internet Services- dubbed Verizon Online-provides wholesale online dial-up, remote Internet access, and high bandwidth dedicated access.  Information from Verizon Online may be requested by the individual as long as it is accompanied by court order, considering that the information is highly sensitive. 

If the legal demand for IP information is required, often information like the IP address or the date of connection and time zone information is in question.  Consequently, Verizon cannot provide information that is not highly specific in its breadth and explicitly sought by court order for content information.   

Verizon’s Electronic Surveillance assistance team is also the team that deals with court requests. It aids in law enforcement and processes court-ordered traps and traces, which would also include features like 48-hour emergency court orders or pen registers. The Verizon Electronic Surveillance Assistance Team processes all court orders, which would also include information like Caller ID. Verizon’s ESAT is thus responsible for these specific requests and is responsible for court-ordered requests for pen registers and wire intercepts. 

It is imperative for court orders to layout the information that Verizon would have to furnish in order to be considered viable.  Typically, all court orders should include the following information, [A.]  specific information, facilities and details with regard to the form of assistance that would be imperative to undertake the installation of the wire intercept to the trap and trace or the pen register, [B.] the identity of the individual whose name has been specified with the telephone line or the intercept’s target as well as the identity of the individual who is at the center of the criminal investigation, [C.] the identity of the agency that has been authorized to collect the information from the interception as well as the agency that is to be billed for these interceptions, if they were not the same, [D.]  the contact telephone numbers, with each number being listened once only, with multiple numbers to be referenced under the same heading. 

Verizon cannot disclose the information as asked by the court order to anyone unless specifically mandated by the court and signed by the appropriate authority. Verizon also has a certain number of policies for the provision of information, wherein the law enforcement will not be provided with actual equipment like dial number recorders (DNRS) or Caller ID blocking units. Additionally, Verizon cannot allow for equipment to be connected inside central offices. 

It must be noted that Verizon will accept court orders via facsimile, mail, or in person.  Additionally, if necessary, Verizon Security can be allotted court order extensions n comply with the order if the original order expires before the interception has been completed, as long as the particular law enforcement submits the necessary documentation in time and prior to the expiration date of the original order. Verizon is liable to be compensated for the court order services or any other additional services. 

[2.3] HOW DOES VERIZON DEAL WITH SURVEILLANCE CAMERA REQUESTS 

Verizon requires a court order for any attachments to Verizon-owned poles, including surveillance cameras.  For installations involving connection to the Verizon network, on a pole that is wholly owned by another utility company, Verizon requires a letter from the utility, advising that they have approved the installation.  

The Verizon Legal Compliance Team is a point of contact for processing legal requests concerning telephone records as set forth in Title 18, United States Code, Section 2703(c)(2), the main criminal code of the federal government of the United States. These requests concern information like the basic subscriber information like their name and address and the basic billing information and usage records. These also involve toll records that can be applied to the particular customer. 

The legal compliance team also deals with miscellaneous requests for records and specifiable compliance records. This would include employee records and Verizon Business records. Special computer searches can also be applicable here, wherein they process the incoming and outgoing calls for a highly specific telephone number on a particular day or time. Special Computer Searches are processed to identify available incoming or outgoing calls for a particular telephone number on a specific day or period of time. These calls are not usually kept through the normal course of business which is why there is a charge for this service, as records of these calls are not kept in the normal course of business. The governing statute is Section 2706(a) of the Stored Communications Act.  

A Special Computer Search will produce a report displaying the date, time, and duration of the available calls found and is verified as they are depicted upon the report. These verifications are also done with regard to other carriers.  For Verizon Wireless, the Corporate name will usually be required for serving subpoenas, search warrants, and court orders. It is necessary to provide specific requests as well as the timeframe for which the information may be provided.   For subpoenas, wording like ‘any and all records cannot be conducive to an adequate legal process. Specific information would include subscriber information.  If this subscriber information involved information like call details and records, this could likely entail the outbound digits, inbound numbers, and the date, time, and length of the call. This would also include address location information and even the payment history of the customer.  

Verizon’s subsidiary Verizon Wireless is the second-largest wireless carrier in the United States, Additionally, Verizon also is also the second-largest telecommunications company by revenue after AT&T. It also commercializes communications products and enhanced services, including video and data services, corporate networking solutions, security, and managed network services, local and long-distance voice services, and network access to deliver various Internet of Things products and services.

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Sources

1. Bell Atlantic comprised the operating companies New Jersey Bell, Bell of Pennsylvania, Diamond State Telephone, and C&P Telephone, with a trade region spanning New Jersey to Virginia.

2. Later,  CenturyLink purchased Qwest (formerly US West) in 2011 and then rebranded as Lumen Technologies in 2020.

3. Address- Attn: VSAT

180 Washington Valley Road

Bedminster, NJ 07921

4. Subpoena faxing number: 1.888.667.0028

5. Search warrants number: 1.888.667.0026.

6. For accurate results, Verizon often specifies: 

  1. Internet Protocol (‘IP’) address 
  2. Date of connection 
  3. Time of connection  
  4. Time zone (time zone information is critical, as the time zone is determined by the machine on which the connection is logged, regardless of the geographic location of the machine or of the end-user)

7. Electronic Surveillance Assistance Team (ESAT)  800-483-0722

8. The capacity of the ESAT would also include, DNR/Pen Registers, Feature Checks, Caller ID, Title 3 Oral Intercepts, FISA Orders, CALEA Solutions, and 48 Hour Emergency Court Orders.  

9. At the federal level the All Writs Act, 28 USC Section 1651, provides a basis for court orders for surveillance cameras.

10. Verizon Legal Compliance Team: 888-483-2600

11. 18 U.S.C. § 2703 – U.S. Code – Unannotated Title 18. Crimes and Criminal Procedure § 2703. Required disclosure of customer communications or records

(c) Records concerning electronic communication service or remote computing service.–(1)A governmental entity may require a provider of electronic communication service or remote computing service to disclose a record or other information pertaining to a subscriber to or customer of such service (not including the contents of communications) only when the governmental entity–(A)obtains a warrant issued using the procedures described in the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure (or, in the case of a State court, issued using State warrant procedures) by a court of competent jurisdiction
(B)  obtains a court order for such disclosure under subsection (d) of this section;
(C)  has the consent of the subscriber or customer to such disclosure;

(D)  submits a formal written request relevant to a law enforcement investigation concerning telemarketing fraud for the name, address, and place of business of a subscriber or customer of such provider, which subscriber or customer is engaged in telemarketing (as such term is defined in section 2325 of this title);  or
(E)  seeks information under paragraph (2).
(2)  A provider of electronic communication service or remote computing service shall disclose to a governmental entity the–
(A)  name;
(B)  address;
(C)  local and long-distance telephone connection records, or records of session times and durations;
(D)  length of service (including start date) and types of service utilized;
(E)  telephone or instrument number or other subscriber number or identity, including any temporarily assigned network address;  and
(F)  means and source of payment for such service (including any credit card or bank account number), of a subscriber to or customer of such service when the governmental entity uses an administrative subpoena authorized by a Federal or State statute or a Federal or State grand jury or trial subpoena or any means available under paragraph (1).

12. Special Computer Searches were  also formerly known as files, AMA searches, data dumps UMS searches, and tape edits

13. 18 U.S. Code § 2706 – Cost reimbursement

(a)Payment.—

Except as otherwise provided in subsection (c), a governmental entity obtaining the contents of communications, records, or other information under section 2702, 2703, or 2704 of this title shall pay to the person or entity assembling or providing such information a fee for reimbursement for such costs as are reasonably necessary and which have been directly incurred in searching for, assembling, reproducing, or otherwise providing such information. Such reimbursable costs shall include any costs due to necessary disruption of normal operations of any electronic communication service or remote computing service in which such information may be stored.

(b)Amount.—

The amount of the fee provided by subsection (a) shall be as mutually agreed by the governmental entity and the person or entity providing the information, or, in the absence of agreement, shall be as determined by the court which issued the order for production of such information (or the court before which a criminal prosecution relating to such information would be brought, if no court order was issued for the production of the information).

(c)Exception.—

The requirement of subsection (a) of this section does not apply with respect to records or other information maintained by a communications common carrier that relates to telephone toll records and telephone listings obtained under section 2703 of this title. The court may, however, order a payment as described in subsection (a) if the court determines the information required is unusually voluminous in nature or otherwise caused an undue burden on the provider.

14. Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless Mailing address:   

180 Washington Valley Road                            

 Attn:   Custodian   of  Records 

 Bedminster, NJ  07921

15. Subpoenas normal business hours are usually accepted from  7 a.m. – 8 p.m. from

Sunday – Saturday 

Court Orders normal business hours:  7 a.m. – 8 p.m. Sunday – Saturday Exigent situations

16. Fax numbers:  888-667-0028 for subpoenas and search warrants 908-306-7491 & 908-306-7492 for court orders and exigent situations

17. name, address, social security number, contact numbers, activation date and number of mobiles

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