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The Courts Government Privacy News

US Judge Bars Unauthorized Sales of Phone Records 69

The Register delivers the good news that a US federal judge had slapped down the practice of pretexting and ordered a Wyoming company to pay almost $200,000; AccuSearch was also permanently barred from selling individuals' phone records without their permission. The FTC had filed suit in 2006 against the company and four others. AccuSearch had advertised a service that made phone records of any individual available for a fee. The current article makes no mention of whatever became of the other four accused data brokers.
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US Judge Bars Unauthorized Sales of Phone Records

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  • Re:Wtf (Score:3, Informative)

    by ( 1195047 ) <philip DOT paradis AT palegray DOT net> on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @01:54AM (#22218374) Homepage Journal
    Please do not feed the trolls. It only incites them to further stupidity. Please reference the official Wikipedia article [] on the topic for further information. You may also be interested in The Psychology of Trolling []. This has been an online discussion tactics PSA. Thank you, HAND, YMMV, IANAL, FWIW.
  • Re:Paint me stupid. (Score:3, Informative)

    by CodeBuster ( 516420 ) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @02:37AM (#22218604)
    Indeed this is what is meant by "pretexting" in the summary. For more detailed information, including sample conversation transcripts and other stories of pretexting and the early hacking days of Kevin Mitnick [], you may want to take a look at The Art of Deception []. The more recent examples of similar types of activities include spamming and phishing of course, but the old phone pretexting techniques are still just as serviceable today as they were before, during, and even after the golden age of phone preaking [] because many people (unfortunately) simply never learn.
  • Re:Paint me stupid. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Doc Daneeka ( 1107345 ) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @02:41AM (#22218642)
    The company, AccuSearch, was calling up phone companies and pretending to be certain persons in order to gain their account information. They then sold the relevant information to an interested third party. The private firm was misrepresenting itself in order to gain sensitive information.

    "FTC attorneys argued that using false pretenses, fraudulent statements and fraudulent or stolen documents to induce carriers to disclose records was illegal."

    So, they didn't need a warrant because they were pretending to be a customer trying to access their account records.
  • by servognome ( 738846 ) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @02:55AM (#22218698)
    Sorry to dash your hopes, but there are a bunch of ways you "willingly" authorize companies to sell your number. Just look at the little text on cell phone bill/credit card application/airline ticket/etc.
  • See laws on CDR's (Score:3, Informative)

    by thule ( 9041 ) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @03:52AM (#22218862) Homepage
    I wish I could find the article I read awhile back that explained the law around log files. Traditionally, call detail records (CDR's) were not owned by you, the customer. CDR's were/are owned by the phone company. They could use the data anyway they wanted, including selling it. There are some states (Washington?) that created laws that stated that CDR's are not owned by the phone company, but are partially owned by the customer and are therefore considered private information.

    If you run a web server, who owns those log files, you or the person that connects to your server? If some officer called up asking if some IP address connected to your server, you could request a warrant for this information or just turn it over.

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