Thursday, May 04, 2006

Cell phone data mining

Who's buying cell records online? Cops - Security -
Who's buying cell phone records online? Cops Net sellers tell Congress they supply law enforcement officials with call lists
This was a fascinating article. Recently, it came out that various companies were selling call records from US cell phones (I am unsure if this applies in Canada, but so far, I've heard nothing to suggest that its possible in Canada). US Congress launched an investigation into the allegations, and now that some of the requested documents are showing up, its interesting to see who is being listed as clients.

The most obvious suspects are there, ofc. Debt collectors seem to make up most of the clients, according to the article, but they also pointed out that various levels of Law Enforcement are also on the list. But I suppose what I found most interesting about this was the attempted justifications for the practice. Its unclear exactly how these records are obtained, but one method used is pretexting. "Investigators call mobile-phone companies posing as legitimate customers and trick service representatives into delivering copies of records. Many Web site sellers maintain the practice is legal, but cell phone companies, the Federal Communications Commissions and numerous state attorneys general have said impersonation of consumers is fraud."

It seems a pretty clear case of fraud to me. If you are using false information to obtain anything that you are not legally entitled to using true information, well, that's the definition of fraud in my books. What these companies are doing is the first step to identity theft ... What's to stop the same person from calling my doctor and pretending to be me to get my medical information? Or calling my bank, pretending to be me to get my financial information? Its fraud, clear and plain, IMO.


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