Obama's Cellphone Records Breached by Verizon Employees

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23 Responses to “Obama's Cellphone Records Breached by Verizon Employees”

  1. pyroPrints says:

    And people wonder why he can’t have a blackberry.

  2. Anonymous says:

    @Antonious, I wanna be the little race car.

    But seriously, I don’t see any problem here; if big telcos can snoop citizens without authorization and get a free pass from the Senate, why shouldn’t a private citizen who happens to be a telco employee feel free to snoop senators without authorization?

    Old Russian folk saying: the fish rots from the head down.

    –Charlie

  3. dimmer says:

    “the personal wireless account of President-elect Barack Obama had been accessed by employees not authorized to do so”

    Err, so some other employees WERE authorized to do so? Sounds bad no matter how you spin it.

    • Xeni Jardin says:

      Well, @dimmer, they’re records for a reason, SOMEONE should have access to them, because they serve some purpose. So if they’re billing records, then billing personnel in the course of executing legitimate duties might access them. But here, the context and/or the parties involved were not legit.

      • Antinous says:

        If we could just get Obama to illegally access Britney Spears’ medical records, the universe would implode and we could start over. I want to be the top hat next time.

  4. petestein1 says:

    What’s interesting about this is that it’s likely that all the employee was able to see is the phone number of the incoming and outgoing calls and the duration of those calls.

    Just to play Devil’s Advocate, since Obama wants to have an extremely “open” administration, should he really care if it’s known who he called?

    Also, give me a break — you know the employees of ALL the carriers are constantly looking at the usage of celebrities. One wonders how many male employees jot down all the phone numbers George Clooney calls to see if he can ring them up and land a date. ;)

    Peter Steinberg

  5. dimmer says:

    Well at #7/Xeni: way to take the fun out of my (non-)argument!

    Personally, I’d think that until a customer reports an issue, we should just let the automated systems deal with such stuff! There’s a chance, of course, in that scenario that the accounts people might catch something the customer didn’t.

    Oh don’t laugh. Really!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I think the employee did more than get to the record of who he called or not, there are so many things phone comapny will not tell and they did it. There are employees listening in live phone calls at phone company many unsuspicious victims and they don’t fire those people because there will be no one left if then do

  7. ibexy says:

    There goes the first of the security gaffes. Welcome to the public domain Mr President :)

  8. All Jelly No Toast says:

    @ Petestein

    As for going through celebs’ records… I imagine most corporations are monitoring at whose records their employees are looking.

    I for one used to do customer service for a bank. They logged everything I did. Searching ‘Obama’ would have cost me a job. Same with searching fellow employees, and especially if I searched myself.

    But of course, if he calls up, all his viewable accounts are fair game. I totally had access to Bill Murray’s account numbers and ssn, for instance. Of course, no paper was allowed to be leaving the building unshredded, no cell phones on the floor, etc. I imagine this is the norm.

  9. arzoolaman says:

    This sort of thing happens frequently on a massive scale. Companies often allow employees access to more data than they should, and often lack the simple ability to audit trail and see who accessed what. I wrote more about this toping on my Privacy 2.0 blog
    http://blog.arzoola.com/2008/11/obamas-cell-phone-records-breached-by-verizon-employee-privacy-20-to-the-rescue.html

  10. Takuan says:

    topical Arzoolaman, but hereafter you should leave the personal blog and commercial linking in your profile – ie: do not in every post.

  11. Takuan says:

    Antinous; found this but surely we could do funnier and better graphic?
    http://66.242.150.46/images/blog_whore.jpg

  12. vert says:

    I vote to give this employee retroactive immunity from prosecution.

    Seriously, I love the guy; but this really is a case of just deserts. I hope that public reaction to it will make him and his fellow law makers reconsider their stance on corporate protections in the future.

  13. Cool Products says:

    As someone who used to work for a cellphone company, it really isn’t that hard to look up the information on a personal account. His personal email account is a whole different story though, especially on an inactive phone. I really don’t see this news story going anywhere.

  14. airship says:

    #17, the point is, YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO. No one is supposed to look at the private records of anyone else unless it is pertinent to the work they are doing. Most employers have very strict policies about this, and many states have laws.

    For example, I work at ACT (American College Testing). If it was ever found that I (or anyone else) looked at a student’s records without having a legitimate work-related reason for doing so, I would be fired. Period. If I ever disclosed such information without authorization, whether my access it to was legitimate or not, I would be fired for that, too.

    The question comes down to this: who owns your information, you or someone else? If it’s you, then others should only be able to access it in the manner in which you have authorized them to do so.

  15. Digital Artz says:

    I always wanted Jay Z pphone number to
    tell him to make 40/40 more friendly and
    inviting.

  16. Phikus says:

    It’s good that we can trust the big telecommunications corps. to act in our best interest at all times, right?

  17. Anonymous says:

    I guess he knows what it feels like to have the phone company spy on him. I wonder if he will give the offender retroactive immunity?…..FISA…cough…cough….

  18. Takuan says:

    Mukasey just collapsed. No witnesses!

  19. jjj says:

    verizon wireless is a division of verizon communications, 45% owned by Vodaphone, a British corporation, it’s not the phone company. it’s employees are non-union (save a few craft positions, you could count them on your fingers). they are essentially all temps anyways, those involved here are surely terminated.
    p.s. – everyone should realize their calls are logged (for billing, of course) & the word ‘wireless’ sums up how secure those transmissions are.

  20. BlindKarma says:

    If I were one of the Verizon employees I’d just claim Patriot Act. Since it’s openly known that Barack Hussein Obama, “Pals around with terrorist,” that would give them some kind of Probable Cause to monitor the man’s communication. Wouldn’t it?

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