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Obama's Mobile Phone Records Compromised, Shared 278

Tiger4 writes "Verizon has confirmed that some of its employees have accessed and perhaps shared calling records of President Elect Barack Obama (coverage at CNN, Reuters, AP). Verizon says the people involved have all been put on leave with pay as the investigation proceeds. Some of the employees may have accessed the information for legitimate purposes, but others may have been curiosity seekers and may have even shared the information around. The account was 'only' a phone, not a BlackBerry or similar device, and Verizon believes it was just calling records, not voicemail or email that was compromised. The articles do not mention the similarity to the warrantless wiretapping or hospital records compromises of recent months. But that immediately sprang to mind for me."
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Obama's Mobile Phone Records Compromised, Shared

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  • by sakonofie ( 979872 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @10:19AM (#25844999)
    FT CNN article:

    McAdam said the device on the account was a simple voice flip-phone, not a BlackBerry or other smartphone designed for e-mail or other data services, so none of Obama's e-mail could have been accessed.

  • Re:What A Joke (Score:4, Informative)

    by nbvb ( 32836 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @11:12AM (#25845729) Journal

    Thank you.

    For all the crud that comes around here about how Verizon Wireless is an evil company, I can tell you, they are a very fair and honest company. They truly believe in doing what's right - both by customers, and by employees.

    Obviously, things like call records and such need to be kept for some amount of time, both for troubleshooting as well as legal issues (court orders, etc.) That's a pretty serious responsibility. That's why you have audits logs every time that data gets accessed.

    The system works, apparently. The folks who got suspended with pay all had their hands in the cookie jar. From what it sounds like, they're going to be sorting out who was there for legit purposes (i.e. a technical issue, billing question, etc.) and who was doing something they shouldn't have been.

    I think suspending with pay is quite fair. If you were in those records, doing legitimate work, that will come to light, and you'll have suffered no loss. If you did something you shouldn't have done, well, that'll come out too and when that's determined, due process will catch up to you.

    Good call on their part, and frankly, I can't think of any better way to handle it. It's good to see that the right processes are in place such that employees can do their job when they need to, but it gets flagged when someone is doing something shady.

  • Re:Nice red herring (Score:4, Informative)

    by taliesinangelus ( 655700 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @11:28AM (#25845981)
    Let's look at that "hard question":

    "I'm getting ready to buy a company that makes 250 to 280 thousand dollars a year. Your new tax plan's going to tax me more, isn't it?"

    Obama's response:

    "It's not that I want to punish your success. I just want to make sure that everybody who is behind you, that they've got a chance at success, too"

    The "Obama is a socialist" bandwagon was hitched up to Joe Wurzelbacher based on this exchange. It wasn't really so much of a "hard, serious question" than a rhetorical device. If Wurzelbacher had wanted to be more serious about the question, he should have left it more open-ended. I hope that he does better with "Secure Our Dream."

    Source: []

  • by taliesinangelus ( 655700 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @11:32AM (#25846051)
    Who modded this "insightful?" White supremacists? Good grief this is horrible!
  • by canesfan ( 607211 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @11:58AM (#25846393)

    I may be wrong about this but I seem to remember speaking to the guy in my IT organization about Blackberry and AES encryption on the Blackberry devices. He said that is an option but it is not the default configuration and you have to specifically configure it. My organization has about 250,000 e-mail accounts and does not use the AES encryption he said. He would know since he designed the system.

  • Re:Data Theft (Score:3, Informative)

    by Abreu ( 173023 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @12:28PM (#25846809)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 21, 2008 @01:02PM (#25847293)
    You can't find which radio host called for Joe the Plumber's murder?
    See, you just search for your question, with "Plumber" spelled out: []
    Looks like at least one was KGO San Francisco Radio host Charles Karel Bouley.
  • Re:Data Theft (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 21, 2008 @01:37PM (#25847793)
    Oh really? I thought the Constitution guaranteed certain rights (for example, freedom from unreasonable/unwarranted search and seizure) to everyone, not just government officials.
  • Re:Transparency (Score:2, Informative)

    by daath93 ( 1356187 ) on Friday November 21, 2008 @02:23PM (#25848439)
    I work at Social Security, we have Integrity Reports that show who we are pulling up, if its a famous person that may be flagged we have to show we have a valid Govt Reason for looking up the record. if I look up someone with the same last name as I have it flags, so I preemptively notify my supervisor that I don't know nor am I related to the person. If we do too many searches it raises flags and we may be audited. If its completely possible for a fairly low tech govt agency that still lags a lot in automation (though we are getting better every day), it should be more than easy enough for a "cutting edge" corporation like Verizon.

Basic is a high level languish. APL is a high level anguish.