Thursday, February 02, 2006

FCC, FTC Urge Congress to Protect Phone Records

The Chairmans of the Federal Communications Commission testified before Congress on Wednesday, and urged legislators to pass a law to prevent the unauthorized sale or sharing of customer's phone records.

Chairman Kevin Martin told the House Energy and Commerce Committee "The disclosure of consumers' private calling records is a significant privacy invasion."

The issue has been in the news lately, especially since one blogger was able to purchase General Wesley Clark's phone records with ease.

The FCC wants to laws forbidding the sale of customer's phone records, and to give the FCC more power to regulate carriers and protect phone records.

The FCC is investigating a large number of companies for allegedly illegally purchasing a customer's phone records by "pretexting."

An official with the Federal Trade Commission also weighed in. Jon Leibowitz, an FTC Commissioner, said: "Congress can make the commercial sale of phone records illegal and carry liabilities, and secondly, (Congress) can seek to overturn the 10th Circuit Court ruling where customers need to 'opt out' to prevent the sharing of their information to third-party telephone affiliates or joint-venture partners,"

The Chair, Rep. Joe Barton, said he would introduce a bill "very shortly."

"Not only does the leaking of these records assist scam artists in
perpetrating identity theft, but even more shadowy figures such as organized
crime, stalkers, abusive spouses, have co-opted this confidential
information to locate and target their victims."

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