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Investigation launched in Connecticut sale of cell phone records

On Wednesday, Connecticut’s Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said, it is investigating companies that may have sold the users mobile phone records illegally. The investigation was launched when the Attorney Generals office received a large number of complaints from users.

Speaking on the occasion Blumenthal said, “My office has an aggressive, ongoing investigation and will take any action appropriate to pursue any company illegally obtaining and profiting from personal cell phone records.”

Last week, the FCC said that it has started probing how companies got the phone records that were available on the internet for purchase.

On Wednesday a group of bipartisan senators in Washington moved for legislation, which will make it illegal to steal and sell records for cell phones, traditional landlines and Internet-based telephones, further the bill will also criminalize the act of making false statements to obtain a customer’s phone record or access records on the Internet without permission. The bill will also make it a crime for a phone company’s employee to sell customer data without permission.

Speaking on the occasion Sen. Charles Schumer said, “Stealing a person’s phone log can lead to serious personal, financial and safety issues for just about any American.”

The bill was also sponsored by Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican, and Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat. In order to come into effect the bill would likely have to go through Specter’s committee as well as the Senate Commerce Committee.

Speaking on the occasion, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens said in a statement that the panel will review possible legislative options and “will hold a public hearing in the near future to investigate how to better protect phone records.”

Similar bills are also likely to be introduced in the US House of Representatives when it returns later this month. The bill will be introduced by Reps. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican, and Jay Inslee, a Washington Democrat.

Rep. Edward Markey, the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce telecommunications and Internet subcommittee, also plans to offer legislation, according to their respective spokeswoman.

According to CTIA, a wireless industry organization, there are more than 200 million mobile phone users in USA.

Last week FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has said that FCC will take action against companies that failed to adequately protect consumers’ records. He further said that said that it may be up to the FTC to take action against those who fraudulently obtain the data.

On Wednesday, T-Mobile, the No. 4 wireless carrier in US said that it had already sent cease and desist orders to a number of companies to stop the practice. Lat week, Cingular Wireless, had obtained a temporary restraining order against Data Find Solutions and 1st Source Information Specialists Inc., and had sued the companies for “unlawfully obtaining and distributing Cingular customer records.”

The websites where call records are available for sale include locatecell.com and datatraceusa.com.

About Ritwik Sinha

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