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Cell Phone Pirates: House panel advances measure to safeguard your call records

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A House committee today advanced a measure by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) to keep cell phone records secret, following up on a Sun-Times expose.

My colleague crime reporter Frank Main provided this update on efforts in Washington and Springfield to safeguard your cell phone records.

This report from Frank Main:
>
> Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Chicago) announced Wednesday that her SAFE CALL
> bill was included in bipartisan legislation passed by the House Energy
> and Commerce Committee to protect the private phone records of consumers.

> Schakowsky introduced the bill on Jan. 31, a few weeks after the Chicago
> Sun-Times reported that Chicago Police and the FBI were warning their
> undercover agents that criminals could buy their cell phone records on the
> Internet.

> Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) has introduced a similar measure.
> The Sun-Times has reported that some information brokers have been stealing calling
> records from cell phone companies by posing as customers, hacking into
> their databases and buying the information from insiders.

> As a result, attorneys general across the country, including Illinois'
> Lisa Madigan, have filed lawsuits and subpoenaed records to stop the
> practice.

> Not only could law enforcement agencies be compromised by these phone
> record burglars: abusive spouses could buy such records to track down
> their victims. Such phone records are commonly used by lawyers in divorce
> proceedings.

> In her statement released today, Schakowsky said: "I am proud that my
> bill, the SAFE CALL Act, has become part of the bipartisan effort to
> combat one of the newest threats to consumers' privacy and safety - the
> fraudulent acquisition of phone records, or pretexting, in order to sell
> those records to anyone who wants them."
>

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on March 8, 2006 5:28 PM.

Gordon Parks: ``Man with a misson,'' says Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet column: Can Rep. Dan Lipinski, installed in his seat by his dad, the former Rep. Bill Lipinski, survive Democratic primary challenge? is the next entry in this blog.

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