Congressman Jimmy Duncan said spying practices found in a nationwide investigation 10News worked on are something that would be done in Nazi Germany or Cold War Russia.
Gannett TV stations and newspapers across the country compiled resources. The investigation revealed some local law enforcement agencies are using technology to scoop up cell phone information from people even if they are not a suspect.
One in four law enforcement agencies have used a tactic known as "tower dump" to get the identity, activity and location of any phone that connects to targeted cell phone towers. At least 25 departments own a "Stingray" -- a suitcase-size device that acts like a fake cell phone tower. The stingray allows thousands of records to be collected without a warrant.
Neither Knoxville police nor the Knox County Sheriff's Office have the stingray device. Still it's a cause of concern for Rep. Duncan, a former criminal court judge who says he has always been a law enforcement supporter.
"I think it's excessive. Definitely a violation of people's privacy. It seems to me we're almost doing away with privacy in this country," said Rep. Duncan, (R) District 2.
Congressman Duncan said he thinks law enforcement should have to get a court order before they can tap into cell phones. He also hopes to see legislation regulating the practices.
"It's like Big Brother multiplied many times over. I think George Orwell who wrote 1984 in 1948 would be shocked. I think it's sad, unfortunate, excessive, and I think we can put some limitations on it," he said.
Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey has proposed new legislation that would require police to get a warrant before gathering phone user's GPS data and would limit how long police can keep a caller's phone records. Law enforcement agencies worry that could mean fewer crimes solved.