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Verizon Employees Fired For Snooping Obama's Record 344

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the now-wait-a-minute dept.
longhairedgnome writes "The curiosity in President-elect Barack Obama's phone records came with a high price tag for Verizon Wireless employees. According to CNN, the workers who snooped on Obama's phone records have been fired. 'This was some employees' idle curiosity,' a company source told CNN and added 'we now consider this matter closed.' Justice served? What about legal possibilities?" Can we expect anyone who followed a warrantless wiretap from the Bush administration to also be fired then? I mean, they violated our privacy as well.
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Verizon Employees Fired For Snooping Obama's Record

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  • No. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Penguinoflight (517245) on Monday November 24, 2008 @01:16PM (#25874415) Homepage Journal

    It's becoming increasingly clear that only celebrities and criminals have the right to privacy.

    • by stinerman (812158)

      Point taken on the erosion of privacy, but celebrities hardly have any privacy. Many celebrities are tailed 24/7 by the paparazzi.

      Imagine every time you left your house, you had people following you around, asking you questions about what some tabloid rag said about you, and taking enough pictures of you to leave you blind.

      Yes, there is no expectation of privacy when in public, but we also don't expect to be accosted by a bunch of sleazeball photographers every time we head out to the market for a gallon o

      • by MindKata (957167)
        "but celebrities hardly have any privacy"
        That's the way many celebrities like it. Many of them want attention. Its typical HPD behaviour. (Just compare for example, the behaviour of Amy Winehouse, Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. They each show (HPD) Histrionic personality disorder behaviour, i.e.)
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Histrionic_personality_disorder [wikipedia.org]

        "erosion of privacy"
        Its disterbing this company has such useless protection on data, that employees can just lookup the details like this on anyo
      • Re:No. (Score:5, Funny)

        by cayenne8 (626475) on Monday November 24, 2008 @03:45PM (#25876373) Homepage Journal
        "Imagine every time you left your house, you had people following you around, asking you questions about what some tabloid rag said about you, and taking enough pictures of you to leave you blind."

        Well, if I had the cash that went along with that status...I think I could live with it.

        Sure makes it easier to get laid whenever you want, by just about whomever you wanted....

        Damn....wish I'd studied to be a world famous guitarist in my earlier years....I've come to find that there are just not that many great looking chicks out there, screaming your name, throwing their panties at you yelling "NICE DATABASE".

        :(

    • Re:No. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jellomizer (103300) on Monday November 24, 2008 @01:56PM (#25874957)

      I think you fail to understand the difference. The Imunity wasn't a free pass to say this was a good action. It was saying the government cohorsed you into doing this illegal action, as the government put pressure to do an illegal deed (AKA. Intrapment) they shouldn't need to suffer the legal reprocussions from it.

      However if they did it themselfs then it is a different issue.
      It is like a uniformed poice man directed traffic to go the wrong way on a one way streen then arrested you for going the wrong way on the street. However if you choose to go the wrong way the next day you are in the wrong.

      • Re:No. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Danse (1026) on Monday November 24, 2008 @02:51PM (#25875649)

        I think you fail to understand the difference. The Imunity wasn't a free pass to say this was a good action. It was saying the government cohorsed you into doing this illegal action, as the government put pressure to do an illegal deed (AKA. Intrapment) they shouldn't need to suffer the legal reprocussions from it.

        First of all, please use a dictionary [reference.com]. Second, it's not like these corporations can be tricked into doing something illegal. They have packs of lawyers roaming their halls who have been dealing with FISA cases for decades. They know the law better than the government does most likely. They knew what they were doing wasn't legal. They did it anyway.

        Your traffic analogy is very flawed. Nobody is harmed by traffic being directed the wrong way as long as it is controlled by someone. Happens all the time when there is construction. It's more like a cop asking you to do something that you know is illegal, such as shooting someone. You know it's illegal, no matter what the cop says, and once you've done it, you can't take it back. Why would you do it?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by cptdondo (59460)

        Bad spelling and grammar not withstanding....

        In a military trial, 'following orders' is not a valid defense. In other words, if I am your commander, and I issue a direct order for you to kill the prisoner, you will still be up on murder charges (along with me.) An illegal order is an illegal order. This has been established many times in military and civilian courts.

        Apprantly, though, when the commander-in-chief issues an illegal order, he can then get the law changed to make it legal after the fact, and

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by yttrstein (891553)
      5 insightful points for parroting every revolutionary from Socrates forward?
  • Justice Served (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 24, 2008 @01:16PM (#25874421)

    Can we expect anyone who followed a warrantless wiretap from the Bush administration to also be fired then? I mean, they violated our privacy as well.

    No, you can expect President Bush to be fired for ordering the wiretap.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mfh (56)

      No, you can expect President Bush to be fired for ordering the wiretap.

      No, you can expect President Bush to be fired because his term is over and it's time for him to GTFO. The Republicans were fired by the American people, although most of them hold key positions near Obama (keep your friends close, and your enemies closer).

      • by Hal_Porter (817932) on Monday November 24, 2008 @01:41PM (#25874805)

        (keep your friends close, and your enemies closer).

        What if your enemies have FUCKING SWORDS?

      • Re:Justice Served (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AmericanGladiator (848223) on Monday November 24, 2008 @01:55PM (#25874949)

        No, you can expect President Bush to be fired for ordering the wiretap.

        No, you can expect President Bush to be fired because his term is over and it's time for him to GTFO. The Republicans were fired by the American people, although most of them hold key positions near Obama (keep your friends close, and your enemies closer).

        I would expect you to complain about Obama now, too. He voted in favor of extending the warrantless wiretapping legislation when in the Senate. I would expect him to continue the status quo. If you don't rail against him I would infer you care less about privacy and more about your favorite politician.

      • Re:Justice Served (Score:5, Insightful)

        by rhsanborn (773855) on Monday November 24, 2008 @01:58PM (#25875013)

        The Republicans were fired by the American people, although most of them hold key positions near Obama (keep your friends close, and your enemies closer).

        Or maybe he's keeping qualified people with diverse opinions close so that he doesn't pigeon-hole himself with people who tell him things he already knows. Several of the background stories on him covered his period at the Harvard Law Review where he upset many people because his election to that post didn't give all the open positions to people of the same political affiliation. He's doing the same here.

      • If you are ordered by the government to commit an act that is legal given a set of circumstances, and they inform you that those circumstances have been met, and you have no way to independently verify whether or not they have been met, only a COMPLETE FUCKING IDIOT would draw a comparison to snooping carried out on an individual's own whim.

        Seriously, did I emphasize that enough? The complete fucking idiot part?

        If you need to pull your assmongering little petty partisanship into this, at least make an equa

        • by SoupGuru (723634)

          Asking to tap a person's phone is probably a lot more routine than "Excuse me, could just install a couple things in that closet over there that you're not using? Oh, and let's bring every call through that closet while we're at it."

    • The thing is, even if we were living in some parallel universe where Bush wasn't about to leave office, and this kind of thing could happen, it wouldn't be that great a loss for him. In the UK, at lot of politicians who leave their office for whatever reason end up either working on the board of some big company, or making loads of money on the speaking circuit.
      • by daem0n1x (748565)
        I don't see him standing a chance in the speaking circuit, so he' better stick to the corporate board thing.
    • Re:Justice Served (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ScentCone (795499) on Monday November 24, 2008 @01:40PM (#25874787)
      No, you can expect President Bush to be fired for ordering the wiretap.

      Unfortunately, we can't expect people like Nancy Pelosi - who has always been fully briefed on such things - to be fired for being such a hypocrite about it.
      • Re:Justice Served (Score:5, Insightful)

        by aaandre (526056) on Monday November 24, 2008 @02:36PM (#25875463)

        Being a hypocrite is a requirement of the job. Being caught committing illegal activities should get someone fired, though. Polititians being above the laws of the people is at the core of corruption and lack of accountability. Leads us back into monarchy, where the King's word is law and the King is above the law.

        Who keeps the government accountable? One minute of choice every four or so years certainly does not work very well.

        • Re:Justice Served (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Androclese (627848) on Monday November 24, 2008 @02:57PM (#25875719)
          I'm hoping the public will get smart and start demanding term limits on the Senate and House so that we have a better handle on the morons in there.

          I'm talking both sides... *ANYBODY* making a career of politics is going to lose touch with the people he is supposed to represent after a period of time. By forcing them out after a set period of time, they might actually try to get something *real* done instead of constantly trying to stay in office.

          Oh wait, this is the public we're talking about... *sigh*
          • Re:Justice Served (Score:4, Insightful)

            by mattwarden (699984) on Monday November 24, 2008 @05:39PM (#25877791) Homepage

            > I'm talking both sides... *ANYBODY* making a career of politics is going
            > to lose touch with the people he is supposed to represent after a period
            > of time. By forcing them out after a set period of time, they might
            > actually try to get something *real* done instead of constantly trying to
            > stay in office.

            In general I am on board with this suggestion. However, there are two issues. The good ones are SO RARE that if they do happen to get into office, I would like to keep them there. For example, Ron Paul has been in Congress since he was 5 years old, and whatever you think about him specifically, you have to admit he sticks to principles and brings a valuable diversity to the discourse. Same, for the most part, with Kucinich and a few others.

            The other issue has to do with problems that have a broader horizon than 4-6 years. For example, in the short term, deficit spending and borrowing from other nations are not problems. A $x billion deficit is not going to bite a 4-6 year politician in the ass. The shorter the term, the less motivation a politician will have for attacking issues that have a longer-term payoff. However, this is a problem anyway... I just feel like it would get worse.

            And, anyway, what good does it do to oust Face #19583 of the Republicrats just to replace her with Face #983025? I think there is a problem with diversity of discourse in general in our political system, and I'm not sure that term limits will get us anything but fresher idiots.

  • Privacy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mfh (56) on Monday November 24, 2008 @01:18PM (#25874437) Journal

    The article says that the employees did not access the "contents of the calls"... wait does that mean that Verizon has stored electronic recordings, or transcripts?!?! of all of Obama's calls?!?!

    Or does this mean that Verizon does not store that information? And who here believes them?

    • Re:Privacy (Score:5, Informative)

      by MozeeToby (1163751) on Monday November 24, 2008 @01:25PM (#25874567)

      More likely it means that the Verizon rep was trying to be exceedingly clear about what was and wasn't accessed, and in the process mucked up the waters somewhat.

      As for your other questions, I do not believe that they store records of what was said unless they are ordered to by the government. The hardware and software necissary to do so would be expensive and would provide no business advantage to them, unless you think they go around blackmailing people or something. I'm not saying they haven't been so ordered, only that it would be a net loss for them to do it otherwise.

      • Re:Privacy (Score:4, Informative)

        by MobyDisk (75490) on Monday November 24, 2008 @01:30PM (#25874655) Homepage

        My understanding is that the phone companies (or the government, on their behalf) now store all phone calls for a short period of time. Then, if there is reason to tap the phone call they can go back to the recording. It allows them to tap phone calls after they happen, so long as they decide to do so within the window of opportunity before the recording is recycled.

        • Re:Privacy (Score:4, Informative)

          by Anonymous Psychopath (18031) on Monday November 24, 2008 @01:50PM (#25874895) Homepage

          Your understanding is not correct. The infrastructure necessary to do so would be very, very expensive. Implementing something along these lines would also require an awful lot of people to be "in on it", thousands or more. These two considerations count for more than my third point, which is that it isn't legal.

          Some companies might have a policy like this. For example, many call centers record all calls (and notify you that they do). But the entire US telephone infrastructure? Please put your tin foil hat on the table and back away slowly.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward
            Your logic is not correct. The infrastructure for implementing this feature, though expensive, is funded by the government because it is mandated by the government. I cannot speak for landline calls but as far as cell phone calls go, I know first-hand that vzw as well as every other carrier authorized to carry a signal in the USA stores its calls and vzw _is_ the central repository for these calls for North America. France Telecom is the central repository for EU(I CBF to cite this. If you care enough about
        • There is a pretty big problem with what you say, since "recording it" is tapping it. Try taping a tape recorder under a judges desk, and when s/he finds it tell him or her that you didn't tap their conversation because you haven't actually listened to the tape yet. I'm sure it will work out fine, and you and the Judge can do lunch on your release date.
    • Re:Privacy (Score:5, Informative)

      by JohnSearle (923936) on Monday November 24, 2008 @01:36PM (#25874737)
      As a former rep for Sprint, I can say that Sprint reps don't have access to voice recording of anyone's calls. And the only people who could possibly have access is a special department that deals with police issues.

      What we did have access to, and what these people probably access, was just a regular calling list (numbers who called the phone, and numbers called from the phone).

      And from what I was told while working there, the company didn't record any calls unless specifically ordered to by authorities.

      - John
      • Re:Privacy (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) <obsessivemathsfreakNO@SPAMeircom.net> on Monday November 24, 2008 @02:18PM (#25875251) Homepage Journal

        And from what I was told while working there, the company didn't record any calls unless specifically ordered to by authorities.

        Why not. It's perfectly feasible for a large telcom to do this. Because it's illegal? Phhft! Here's a modest proposal I drafted some time ago, based on some conservative estimates. Not sure if I already posted this, but since it's not entirely off topic, what the hell. I'll indulge my inner conspiracy nut.

        Average US telephone usage: 600 minutes month, say 900 mins
        = 30 mins/day = 1800 sec/day
        Telephone Codec data rate: ~10KB/sec
        => Average user needs 18000 KB/day to store conversation ~1.76 MB/day

        For one million users ~ 1.68 TB/day

        Approximate cost per Terabyte(Hard Disk) as of 2007 ~ $300USD per TB
        => Give 2x data redundancy ~ $600USD per TB
        => ~$1,008 USD per one million users per day

        World population ~7 billion

        => ~$7.1 million USD per day

        => It would cost approximately $2.6 billion USD per year to permanently store all the telephone conversations of everyone in the entire world. Assuming talktime rates of ~900 mins per month.

        Addendum:
        Approximate NSA budget (estimated) ~$3.6 billion USD

        So for the paranoid amoung you, don't worry about people listening in on your phone calls. They probably already have.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by maxume (22995)

          Yeah, because if corporations are going to be corrupt, they are going to do it in a way that costs them money.

    • Re:Privacy (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Zakabog (603757) <[moc.guamj] [ta] [nhoj]> on Monday November 24, 2008 @01:36PM (#25874745)

      The article says that the employees did not access the "contents of the calls"... wait does that mean that Verizon has stored electronic recordings, or transcripts?!?! of all of Obama's calls?!?!

      No, it means that the employees only looked at who called the phone, and who was called from the phone. Basically all of the information listed on Obama's phone bill.

      Or does this mean that Verizon does not store that information? And who here believes them?

      I don't think anyone here honestly believes that Verizon would store every phone conversation made over their network. It would cost way too much money, and it would be a complete waste of resources.

      • From a legal perspective, wiretapping to listen to the audio of a call is more more serious than looking at the records. On the other hand, it's also a lot easier to access the records, if you've got permission; wiretaps are something that have to be explicitly set up. (CALEA makes it easier to do the wiretap, but very few employees would have access to that kind of thing, as opposed to the FBI accessing it.)

  • ... what ever happened to the information they snooped? If I remember correctly it was just call records and no text message content or anything of the sorts.
  • by shawnmchorse (442605) on Monday November 24, 2008 @01:19PM (#25874449) Homepage

    I used to work doing telephone customer service for First USA Bank. In our training class, they actually encouraged us to look up the accounts of random celebrities. My whole class would come up with names and type them in to see if they had an account with us. We'd also frequently show each other particularly bad credit reports that came up on applications.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      So, you're asserting big companies encourage bad business tactics? That's horrible!
      • by ebuck (585470)

        Big companies are not that much smarter than small companies in this respect, because the goal is to keep your class's attention.

        Actually getting a training class involved in not zoning out and absorbing 0% of the material is not very difficult, but it is not easy either. Too many years of high school conditioning, I guess. If you have ever had to train a group on a less than facinating subject, it is obvious that at least 30% of the class will never pay attention. That's why teachers have to sell the ed

    • I love First USA (Score:5, Informative)

      by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Monday November 24, 2008 @01:47PM (#25874873)

      I used to work doing telephone customer service for First USA Bank. In our training class, they actually encouraged us to look up the accounts of random celebrities. My whole class would come up with names and type them in to see if they had an account with us. We'd also frequently show each other particularly bad credit reports that came up on applications.

      That's interesting. I believe that's the same bank that opened a credit card account for me without my knowledge, and sent me a collections notice for the annual fee plus late fees 6 months later, totaling hundreds of dollars. I'd never received an offer from them, let alone a card, nor would I accepted the thing had they done so. Oddly enough, making it go away only took about an hour on the phone, which leads me to believe it wasn't the first time they'd done this. Worse, the same thing happened the next year, making the "accident" angle a little tough to believe. I'm guessing those clowns lean on employees to basically make up accounts and forge signatures. Really cute. I regret not contacting the attorney general, because that stuff is outrageously illegal.

      So basically, what you were seeing looks to have been the least illegal thing happening there. ;)

    • I did tech support for Dell and in our training we would look up customers. It turns out we were in a demo training environment with demo customers. I bet you were also in a demo training environment.
  • by Bonewalker (631203) on Monday November 24, 2008 @01:21PM (#25874481)
    Can we expect anyone who followed a warrantless wiretap from the Bush administration to also be fired then? I mean, they violated our privacy as well.

    Do we really need this politicized to have a discussion about the topic at hand? Which is thoughtless employees snooping around where they have access but apparently no ethics or morals. Something not even close to the situation with warrentless wiretapping, and in no way related? Do we really need this, Taco?
    • I am, to say the least, a strong Obama supporter. But I think this is very relevant. It is true, there is a difference between snooping out of curiosity and snooping due to national security concerns. But the security freaks didn't have enough merit to their case to get a warrant, which meant there was no reason to consider this a national security issue, in my legally clueless opinion. So both cases are a matter of violating privacy for no reason. The only difference is in the FISA case, the telco employee
    • by TheCarp (96830) *

      > Do we really need this politicized to have a discussion about the topic at
      > hand? Which is thoughtless employees snooping around where they have access but
      > apparently no ethics or morals. Something not even close to the situation with
      > warrentless wiretapping, and in no way related? Do we really need this, Taco?

      Right, whereas in the other case we have thoughtful employees snooping arounf where they have access but apparently no ethics or morals - like the ethics and morals involved in keeping

  • Can we expect anyone who followed a warrantless wiretap from the Bush administration to also be fired then? I mean, they violated our privacy as well.

    No, because that was a case of national security to find terrorists.

  • Not likely illegal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by travisd (35242) <travisd&tubas,net> on Monday November 24, 2008 @01:22PM (#25874503) Homepage

    Why would it be illegal? Disclosure, yes. But these were VZW employees who were given the ability to look at records as part of their job. VZW's policy though is that they only look at records that they have a reason to - for customer service, billing, etc.

    Unless they turned these over to an outside party (media, government, etc) then there's probably nothing illegal happening. Completely different from the wiretaps.

    It's amazing though that the employees are still dumb enough to not realize that their actions, even if they don't change anything, can be tracked.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DM9290 (797337)

      But these were VZW employees who were given the ability to look at records as part of their job.

      the ability to do something does not equal authorization to do it. By your logic cops aren't breaking the law if they start shooting people randomly on the street, and surgeons are free to do anything they want to you once they get you under the knife.

      • By your logic, Billy is breaking the law by stealing a cookie out of the cookie jar.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by aztektum (170569)

        You should have finished reading the entirety of his comment. He went on to say that VZW's policy is that they only do so as required to for their job. They upheld their policy by punishing these employees as severely as they could (by firing them).

    • But these were VZW employees who were given the ability to look at records as part of their job.

      Maybe they shouldn't have that ability? If I was Verizon I would design the system such that the Level 1 CSRs don't see any details about the account until they enter some verification info provided by the customer. They always ask you for your account password or SSN to verify who you are when you call -- so why not design the system such that they don't see anything either until that information is entered?

      I can't think of a ligitmate reason that a typical call center person would have for needing to ac

  • Profit?? (Score:2, Funny)

    by gammygator (820041)
    1. Get hired at Verizon.
    2. Snoop president to be's call records.
    3. ???
    4. You're a bad toad. Fired! No profit for YOU!!!
  • How many? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by evanbd (210358) on Monday November 24, 2008 @01:24PM (#25874549)
    Apparently it's pretty easy to snoop on a random person's phone records over there. How many employees have snooped on someone less noteworthy -- a friend, a possibly cheating spouse, etc.? Are there policies in place to catch more mundane privacy invasions and fire those people as well, or does it only matter if the person in question is politically relevant?
    • Re:How many? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Monday November 24, 2008 @01:42PM (#25874813)

      Snooping is easy, getting away with it is not. A friend of a friend was a telecom employee snooping on records and got fired (girlfriend looking up her ex-boyfriend's phone log and possibly text messages).

      I don't know how it works, but queries like that into the customer records throw up flags that management can see. Apparently, they're not doing a good enough job instructing employees that these safeguards exist since it happens so often.

      • I would rather the employees weren't instructed. If they don't know about it, they won't try and circumvent it. This way, they can perhaps weed out dishonest employees (now whether they do or not, who knows).

  • A private affair (Score:4, Interesting)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Monday November 24, 2008 @01:25PM (#25874569)

    The employees were fired for violating company policy (ie, without management approval). As company policy is to assist police in warrantless wiretaps, employees who helped with those would not be fired. This kind of thing happens in hospitals, debt collection businesses, and government all the time. It is not really newsworthy unless a pattern of abuse can be demonstrated.

  • Ironic... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nebaz (453974) on Monday November 24, 2008 @01:26PM (#25874585)

    I have generally been an Obama supporter, but was very disappointed that he voted for telecom immunity in the FISA bill last year. Apparently it is ok for corporations as a whole
    to snoop on your calls, but not for individual employees to snoop on his. (Note: I am not condoning the action of the employee, it just seems interesting at what level justice applies).

    • by Shakrai (717556)

      Apparently it is ok for corporations as a whole to snoop on your calls

      No, it's ok for the Government to snoop on your calls to people who are overseas. Mind you, I don't think thats any better, but we should at least be aware of what the FISA bill actually does when we are discussing it......

  • by madcat2c (1292296)
    They are from the Government, and they are here to help us!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The people who did this at verizon should not only be fired, they should be facing prosecution. If they had been law enforcement officers, then snooping without a warrant should carry greater penalties: "conspiracy to deprive of a constitutional right under color of authority" is a felony. While we're at it, I'd hand out the same penalty to anyone who violated "joe the plumber's" privacy rights.

    • by Quila (201335) on Monday November 24, 2008 @01:53PM (#25874931)

      They only were the government violating the public trust by abusing their ability to access confidential records on private individuals for partisan political reasons. They keep their jobs.

      These guys were just with a company that anyone can decide to stop using. They get fired.

      So we can take one or both of two things from this based on the case differences:
      - Companies are better at ridding themselves of bad people.
      - The government workers were Democrats working in a Democrat-run state, trying to help the Democrat presidential candidate, so they get a pass.

  • by MindlessAutomata (1282944) on Monday November 24, 2008 @01:30PM (#25874659)

    Obama voted for FISA after saying he wouldn't. He and his cronies really don't have any room to complain. Why should Obama be able to snoop on "the people" when "the people" cannot snoop on him? Obama is potentially (being president at all) the most dangerous man in the nation as he is Commander-In Chief and probably the most powerful man in the world.

    I'm not saying there shouldn't be any military secrets or stuff, of course, but the irony is just rather amusing.

    • Because there's a huge difference between authorized government agents looking for criminal activities and regular employees looking through clients' records as mere entertainment.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Tablizer (95088)

      Obama voted for FISA after saying he wouldn't. He and his cronies really don't have any room to complain.

      The real problem is the granularity of many bills is too large. That is NOT Obie's fault. You have to vote Yes or No on a big blob of stuff. Line-item veto's don't exist. He stated he did not like the immunity portion of the bill, but felt the other parts outweighed that. Plus, the relationship between the immunity portion of the bill and employees misbehaving is slim to none. You are oversimplying a com

  • the workers who snooped on Obama's phone records have been fired

    I can't believe that someone would be so stupid as to use their own upass when digging up Obama's phone records. This is not only grounds for termination but I'm certain that if he wanted to Obama could seek criminal charges. Does anyone know if he's planning on going that route?

    Obviously these people knew that they would get caught -- so who really did it? If I was their attourney I would be looking for indications of whether a Deny-deny-deny

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pauljlucas (529435)

      Obama could seek criminal charges.

      And those would be... what? Regardless, it's up to the local district attorney to seek criminal charges.

      Does anyone know if he's planning on going that route?

      Given that he's about to become the POTUS, I think he's got more important things to worry about. Plus, it would seem rather petty by presidential standards.

  • Least privilege (Score:3, Informative)

    by kanwisch (202654) on Monday November 24, 2008 @01:31PM (#25874673)

    This is a non-event. Any quality employer will have pretty specific policies about accessing business data on a need-to-know only basis.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 24, 2008 @01:48PM (#25874883)
    Importance of privacy of customer accounts has always been stressed. I heard it on every orientation, despite the fact that I don't have any interactions with customers or their records. In internal security reports I see people fired for looking up unlisted numbers or going through wife's phone logs. So those employees were warned many times. They had to know that all account accesses are logged with their usernames.
  • That doesn't seem fair.

  • Obama says no. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Punto (100573) <puntob@ g m a i l . c om> on Monday November 24, 2008 @02:04PM (#25875087) Homepage
    No, you can't "expect anyone who followed a warrantless wiretap from the Bush administration to also be fired" becase Obama voted for the law that gives them inmunity, remember?
  • by rickb928 (945187) on Monday November 24, 2008 @02:04PM (#25875093) Homepage Journal

    I'm at a major financial institution. technically, I have fairly broad access to records that could include payment and credit information, personal information, and even a great deal of info on the places people shop.

    It would not only not occur to me to look up someone's records just because they are a celeb etc, but if I had a case involving a recognizable person or business, I would be very careful and keep my inquiries to a minimum. I would expect our security teams to be watching accesses to any number of accounts.

    And I wouldn't be whining if in a moment of weakness I went too far. There are some things you just don't do. Someone is watching. Count in it.

    I also know a few people who provide services or support to the sort of customer you would consider a person of note. We don't discuss anything of a sensitive nature, though I offer them congratulations when I recognize they did something exceptional for a customer that made our newsletter. If we are working on issues that disclose sensitive data, I just work the issue and keep my comments to myself. And I secure any data I work with temporarily, destroying it when I don't need it any more.

    Seems incredibly stupid, on a par with the ID10Ts looking through Britney's medical records not so long ago. I hope these VZW ex-employees find work, but perhaps a stint at McDonalds will give them the proper perspective on privacy. An expensive lesson, and one earned from the sounds of it.

    There is no excuse.

  • The amorality of the always-wired new generation is appalling to their seniors. Although there may be a case for obnoxious digital copyrights, this "free" attitude pervades classroom cheating and is graduating into professional life. Although thieving business executives are a terrible examples, it is not an excuse. Watch me modded down for saying this!
  • "

    Can we expect anyone who followed a warrantless wiretap from the Bush administration to also be fired then?

    "

    I believe that's called "an election."

    So yes then.

  • When you screw up in the private sector you get fired.

    If you are a state or fedral employee and dig though the private records of a plumber you get paid leave then go back to work after the election.

    So far the 21 or so state and federal employees that dug into "Joe" got paid leave and still ahve jobs.

    Private Sector = Accountability for Staff
    Public Sector = Paid Leave, Paid HR Training, Promotions...

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