Anyone can buy a list of your incoming and outgoing phone calls, cell or land-line, for $110 online,” by John in DC, America Blog, 7 January 2006, http://americablog.blogspot.com/2006/01/anyone-can-buy-list-of-your-incoming.html (from Daily Kos, Jim River Report, Great Blogging, IntoxiNation, and MyDD).
In a nutshell, the Chicago Sun-Times ran a story two days ago about a Web site that sells phone records, for cells and land-lines, for $110 a pop. The company boasts on its own Web site:
Give us the cell phone number and we will send you the calls made from the cell phone number.
So I went to their site, plopped down $110, and within a day I had a list of every single phone number that called my cell, or that I called from my cell, for the month of November. I even had the dates the calls were made, and for a premium I could find out how long the calls were.
In case this seems minor or pesky, AmericaBlog gives examples of when it probably isn’t best to sell phone records to anyone with $110. An excerpt:
- Are you an FBI agent with confidential sources?
- Are you a police officer with confidential sources?
- Are you a Democratic or Republican member of Congress?
- Are you a Bush administration official?
- Are you a special prosecutor by the name of Patrick Fitzgerald?
- Are you an Al Qaeda terrorist?
- Are you a regular old American criminal, a member of the Mafia for example?
- Got AIDS, cancer or any other disease you might want to keep private?
And finally, let’s not forget the biggest criminals of all in this affair. The phone companies. There is no way that these online services are outright stealing this information, if they’re able to get in just a few hours consistently. They’ve got access to the info, and from the reading I’ve done it seems the cell and land-line companies are selling our info for profit. So, the biggest slap in the face should be to any phone company out there who has ever sold one big of information about you to anyone else. Not only is it unethical, but they just might have helped Al Qaeda. Congrats.
So, anybody got Bill Frist’s or Harry Reid’s phone numbers? Or maybe the phone number of the FBI tip line?