Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Bill idea for 2007: Ban sale of cell phone records

Here's a bill idea I bet can be passed in the Texas Legislature in 2007 if the FCC fails to act: Banning cell phone companies from selling information about consumers' phone calling habits to list brokers. You can go online to a number of services, apparently, and buy a list of the numbers people called: that's just creepy.

It'd likely gain support from the same bipartisan block of legislators who in 2005 voted to forbid police from accessing drivers' information from OnStar and similar services without a court order. Note to self ...

UPDATE: Chip had more on this earlier. State Rep. candidate Patrick Franklin adds his two cents.


Anonymous said...

Information such as call records is known as CPNI (customer personal network information). The FCC regulates the handling of CPNI. Currently, carriers are allowed to sell CPNI, but must provide customers an opt-out.

So, when state law conflicts with federal policy, who wins?

Also, a lot of providers do have a privacy policy that protects CPNI. SBC and Verizon, for instance, say they won't disclose it to third parties. The only one I've seen that says they will is Cingular.

I wonder which carriers people are seeing call records from.

Here is an article I blogged about this some weeks back: http://www.unicom.com/chrome/a/001044.html

Anonymous said...

If I am elected to the legislature this year, I will sponsor such legislation.

I will blog on this issue soon.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@Chip: Thanks for the info about companies and your excellent blog post. I think you could pass a state law because the federal policy isn't prescriptive, probably, just doesn't forbid it. That's why the bill about the Onstar systems in your car was possible. It's worth a shot, anyway. Hopefully the feds will deal with it.

@Patrick: Thanks for commenting and good luck. This is the kind of issue that really ought to get people's dander up out in your district. best,