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Cingular accuses two firms of stealing customer records

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Cingular Wireless won a temporary restraining order on Friday against two companies which it accuses of selling illegally-obtained customer records over the web.

The two companies, DataFind Solutions and 1st Source Information Solutions, are already the subject of a civil suit from Cingular.

But embarrassment for the cellphone operator soared last week on the back of a CBS News item "which condemned the wireless industry at large for not protecting customer call records", RCR Wireless News reports.

According to Cingular, Data Find "previously owned and operated several websites that advertise the sale of phone records, including http://locatecell.com/ and http://celltolls.com/, and that 1st Source Information Specialists, Inc. currently owns and operates these websites".

Now for a trenchant quote from Joaquin Carbonell, Cingular’s top in-house lawyer:

"Cingular will not tolerate the theft of customer records We plan to continue fighting cell phone record theft on a number of fronts, including working with law enforcement and policymakers to crack down on websites that offer cell phone records for sale."

As we reported last week, dozens of data brokers in the US make a business from selling call records - sometimes obtained from phone company insiders or by deception - for about $100 per account per month. The chief market is private investigators, but an investigation by the Chicago Sun Times suggests the information is available to anyone who's prepared to pay. Few or no checks are applied over the identity of the person requesting information. ®

Cingular press statement

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