Privacy for Sale: Any Cellphone Record For a Price

by Last Night in Little Rock

As TalkLeft reported here, for a price, Locatecell.com will try find a way to steal your cellphone number, particularly from Cingular. I first read about this story on AOL a few days ago. One should be surprised at the lack of news coverage of such a gross invasion of privacy by one citizen against another. A PI told me a few years ago he could get this information. I thought he was kidding; apparently not.

Cingular obtained a TRO in U.S. District Court in Atlanta against Locatecell late last week in a story that seemed to escape the news, except for USAToday.com. Cingular is the victim of its own employees and what it calls "data burglars." Verizon is also going after them.

Cingular Wireless is taking on companies that have been selling private phone records — the actual numbers dialed, that is — of unwary customers to anyone who asks.

Cingular obtained a temporary restraining order late last week against operators of Locatecell.com and others of its ilk that specialize in offering private cellphone records for a flat fee. There are dozens of such services available, mostly through the Web.

According to Cingular, these services have their employees masquerade as cellphone customers, or even Cingular employees, to wheedle confidential information out of customer-service representatives. That information — ranging from private cellphone numbers to the actual call records of cell and traditional phones — is then sold for a fee.

Locatecell.com's website is still working today.

A cellphone company must surely be concerned about its own civil liability to its customers for invasion of privacy or theft of trade secrets.

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    Re: Privacy for Sale: Any Cellphone Record For a (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 12:59:16 PM EST
    Like the banks that have abused our trust with carelessness of their data security, I seriously doubt that the telephone comopanies didn't know this was at least possible if not actually going on. I think they went after LocateCall et al. after it became publicly known, primarily through John Aravosis of AMERICAblog that the phone records were for sale. Just more of the corporate stewardship of America.