comsc US Politics | AMERICAblog News: Cell phone privacy bill passes congress!
Join Email List | About us | AMERICAblog Gay
Elections | Economic Crisis | Jobs | TSA | Limbaugh | Fun Stuff

Cell phone privacy bill passes congress!

| Reddit | Tumblr | Digg | FARK

The bill passed last night at 11pm. Now it's up to dumbo the president to sign it. Senator Schumer's office updates us:


Identical Version Of Bill Already Passed The House, Schumer’s Legislation Criminalizing Growing Practice That Puts Individual’s Cell Phone Records in the Hands of Criminals Will Now Go To President for His Signature

Today U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced the passage of his comprehensive legislation that would criminalize the practice, known as pretexting, of both stealing and selling cell phone, landline and voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) records. The bipartisan Telephone Records and Privacy Protection (TRAPP) Act (S. 2178), introduced by Schumer in January along with Senators Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Bill Nelson (D-FL), was reported by the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously back in March, but the bill was stalled in the Senate until today.

“Stealing someone’s private phone records is a criminal act that can now be prosecuted,” Schumer said. “Phone information and call logs should be protected with the same safeguards as financial data or medical records. With pretexting companies popping-up across the country, law enforcement will get the tools needed to track down these criminals down and put this industry out of business.”

The TRAPP Act will make it a federal offense, punishable as a felony, to obtain customer information from a telephone service provider by false pretenses or access a customer account on the Internet to obtain billing information without authorization. The bill also makes it a crime for phone company employees to sell customer information without proper authorization. The bill applies to cell, landline, and (VOIP) phone records. An identical version of Schumer’s legislation passed the House 409-0.

Now that both houses have passed the legislation it will be sent quickly to the President for his signature without need for a conference committee.

Under Schumer’s bill, it will be a violation of federal law to obtain someone’s phone records by 1. Making false or fraudulent statements or representations to an employee of a telephone service provider; 2. Making such statements to a customer of a telephone service provider; 3. Accessing a customer account on the Internet without the customer’s authorization; 4. Providing false documentation to a telephone service provider knowing that the document is false.

Cell phone call logs are sought out for a variety of reasons. For years phone records gave been used by law enforcement and private detectives, but with the internet, gaining access to that information has gotten much easier. Websites like offer the service online, and with little regulation it is nearly impossible to stop.

Experts say that these records can be made available through three techniques. The first is having someone that works for one of the phone companies who sells the data. Though strict rules inside most of the phone companies make this practice risky, officials say that finding someone with access to the information desired is not that difficult. The second technique is “pretexting” where a data broker or the like pretends to be the owner of the phone. In doing so, they convince the cell phone company’s employees to release the data to them.

Though the problem is all too common, federal law is too narrow to include this type of crime. Pretexting for financial data is illegal, but its does not include phone records.

blog comments powered by Disqus