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January 14, 2006

Anyone's Cell Phone Records For Sale

As early as December 13th, websites such as Locatecell.com were staring to gain notice not only for selling private cell phone information for a fee, but also being successful at it.  Last week the Chicago Sun-Times reported about the appearance of web sites that purported to obtain individual cell phone records in exchange for cash.  According to the story, the FBI tested Locatecell.com for records associated with one agent's cell phone.  They got the information back within 3 hours.  This prompted the Chicago Police Department to warn its officers that their cell phone records were not confidential.  This lack of confidentiality had the potential to compromise informants working with police. 

Stories across the Internet show that records in one form or another can be had for prices ranging from the $110-$160 range.  And when stories say "anyone," they mean it.  One blog reported that another blog bought phone records for General Wesley Clark for 100 calls made over three days in November, 2005. 

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) called for legislation that would tighten rules about data disclosure.  Other news reports indicate that federal agencies along with state attorney generals are starting to investigate the practice.  The two main causes of this data leak are phone insiders selling records for money, and deception by the we site. 

Both Verizon and Cingular have sued companies that have stolen customer data with Cingular winning a federal court action against a number of web sites on Friday.  With the agencies and congress getting involved, this can only get more interesting.

January 14, 2006 | Permalink

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