The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has filed federal complaints against five web-based communications firms that, the watchdog charged, have sold individuals' phone records.
The FTC has charged 77 Investigations of Upland, Calif., AccuSearch, a.k.a. Abika.com, based in Cheyenne, Wyo., CEO Group Inc., a.k.a. Check Em Out, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., David Kacala of Baltimore and Integrity Security and Investigation Services of Yorktown, Va., with violating federal law by allegedly selling the records.
The FTC said it followed up congressional testimony from last year by sending warning letters to the operators of 29 websites that offered phone records for public sale.
"Trafficking in consumers' confidential telephone records is outrageous," said Lydia Parnes, director of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection. "It robs consumers of their privacy and exposes them to everything from snoops to stalkers. We intend to put a stop to it."
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 states that a consumer's phone records are his or her private property, and can only be disseminated with the authority of the user.