Web Sites Selling Personal Phone Records Close Thanks to Senators’ Pressure

February 9, 2006

Senator Fasano, Senator McKinney, Senator Roraback Now Push for Legislation
Banning Pretexting

On January 18th, Senator Len Fasano (R-North Haven) joined several of his fellow Senate Republican colleagues at a press conference to call attention to web sites that were illegally selling personal phone records. Now, only three week later, in response to the pressure, many of the websites have shut down and several major cell phone companies have filed injunctions against the companies peddling the private information.

“We’re all especially pleased that many of these companies ‘got the message,’ so to speak,” said Senator Fasano. “All of us found it outrageous that these businesses were intruding into people’s lives and giving out this private information for personal financial gain. I applaud the cell phone companies for acting so quickly to help protect Connecticut citizens’ privacy.”

As an experiment, a Senate Republican staff member had logged onto one of the websites, www.locatecell.com, and attempted to purchase Senator Fasano’s cell phone records. Shortly after the press conference and ensuing media coverage, the staffer received notice that no additional orders would be taken and that his credit card had not been charged.

The companies are able to obtain this information thanks to the practice of pretexting, which involves individuals calling phone companies impersonating a customer and requesting the customer’s calling records. Although pretexting for financial data is illegal, at this time there is no Connecticut statute that forbids pretexting for phone records. Senator Fasano hopes to change that this legislative session.

“Although we are happy that many of these websites have ceased operations, our work is not done. I want to be absolutely sure that we put a permanent stop to companies accessing citizens’ private information. To that end, we are working on a bill that would make pretexting for personal land line and cell phone records illegal in the state,” said Senator Fasano, who is the Ranking Member on the General Law Committee, where such legislation would initiate.

Senator Fasano is a Minority Leader and is serving his second term representing the 34th district communities of East Haven, North Haven and Wallingford.