Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Shocker: Data Brokers Invoke Fifth Amendment

Jeffery Silva writes on RCR Wireless News:

Eleven data-broker executives invoked their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, refusing to answer questions of the House Commerce oversight and investigations subcommittee about deceptive practices for acquiring and selling mobile phone records and other customer information to banks, major corporations, law enforcement, news outlets and others.

The revelation earlier this year that Internet data brokers were using fraudulent means to help secure customer cell phone records ignited a flurry of lawsuits and investigations by federal and state officials.

Despite refusal of data brokers to testify, the House Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton (R-Texas) vowed to continue the investigation and said he would meet with House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) this afternoon to ask why a committee-passed bill outlawing fraudulent access to phone records—a practice called pre-texting—was suddenly pulled from a scheduled House vote on May 2.

In a May 11 letter to House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), ranking House telecom and Internet subcommittee member Edward Markey (D-Mass.) referred to speculation the House Intelligence Committee blocked full House consideration of the phone-records bill because some lawmakers want an exemption from the legislation’s privacy protection provisions for intelligence gathering activities.

More here.


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