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Copy of letter sent to Telephone Brokers from Congress- Buyers Beware- information

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  • David Williams
    We write to request information relating to the business activities of _______. It is our understanding that ______ owns and operates a data broker Web site
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 7, 2006
    • 0 Attachment
      We write to request information relating to the business activities of
      _______. It is our understanding that ______ owns and operates a "data
      broker" Web site named ______. According to numerous press reports, many
      data broker Web sites acquire and sell consumers' personal cell phone
      records and other personal data, without the knowledge or consent of the
      owners of those cell phone numbers. Even cell phone roaming records are
      being sold, giving purchasers not only the numbers called, and their dates
      and times, but also the city and state from which those mobile calls were
      made.

      In light of these disturbing press reports, the Committee on Energy and
      Commerce, pursuant to its jurisdiction over telecommunications, the
      Internet, consumer protection, and interstate commerce, has commenced an
      investigation of these activities to determine exactly how this data is
      being acquired and sold.

      According to your Internet Web site, and the Web sites of other companies
      that sell such information, various components of an individual's personal
      profile and activities, including cell phone records, are for sale. For
      example, for a relatively modest fee, a purchaser can get access to:
      itemized incoming and outgoing call logs for cell phone numbers, landline
      numbers, or voice-over-Internet-protocol (VOIP) numbers; unpublished phone
      numbers; addresses; and other personal data - without any notice to and
      consent by the owners of those numbers.

      In essence, within literally a matter of hours, someone who purchases such
      information from a data broker Web site can gain unauthorized access to an
      individual's daily calls and contacts, home and billing addresses, and other
      valuable confidential information. It is very disconcerting that certain
      online data broker companies are exploiting consumers' personal records and
      selling the information to whomever pays for the records. With the exception
      of the legitimate activities of law enforcement authorities, who in any
      event have legal means for acquiring such information, we struggle to find
      any ethical justification for marketing this data.

      Thus, in an effort to learn more about _______ business and activities
      related to the sale of cell phone records and other personal data, we are
      writing to you today to seek additional information to assist with this
      review. We request that, pursuant to Rules X and XI of the U.S. House of
      Representatives, you provide the following records and information detailed
      below on or before Friday, February 17, 2006:

      1. Describe the services that are provided by ________.

      2. List and describe all businesses (including Internet Web sites)
      owned by, associated with, or otherwise related to, ______ that sell
      consumer cell phone records and other personal data. Along with the
      description of each such business, provide: 1) a description of the services
      offered by the business; 2) the date the business was founded or purchased,
      and if purchased, from whom; 3) a list of all individuals who have an
      ownership interest in the business; 4) a list of the names and contact
      information for all corporate officers and executives, including telephone
      numbers and email addresses; 5) a list of the names of all individuals
      employed or otherwise compensated for his services by the business; 6) the
      physical location and address of the business' headquarters and all other
      places of business; and, 7) the annual gross and net revenue generated by
      the business for each calendar year since its inception.

      3. List and describe in detail all methods by which ______ (and any of
      its related businesses) acquires the personal cell phone records and other
      data associated with a given cell phone number.

      4. Do the employees of _______ (or any of its related businesses) pose
      as customers seeking information about their own accounts ("pretexting") to
      obtain the data being purchased by a ______ customer? Does _____ (or any of
      its related businesses) obtain access to cell phone company databases
      through computer hacking, impersonation of phone company employees or
      government agents, or other unauthorized and fraudulent means?

      5. List all individuals or businesses that provide _____ (or its
      related businesses) personal cell phone records and other data associated
      with a given cell phone number. For each individual or business, describe
      the nature of the relationship with _____ (or its related businesses), the
      compensation arrangement with _____, and the amount or type of compensation
      provided by _____.

      6. For _____ and each of its related data broker businesses or Web
      sites, list the names of all employees, agents, consultants, and other
      individuals who work for or provide services to the company or Web site.

      7. Has _____ conducted, through an examination by either in-house or
      outside counsel, an analysis of the legal implications and risks of
      acquiring and selling the personal cell phone records and other data
      associated with a given cell phone number? If so, provide a copy of all such
      legal opinions provided to, or produced for, ______ or its related
      businesses.

      8. By calendar year since 2000, list the names of the top 20 customers,
      by revenue, for each of _____ data broker Web sites. With each customer
      listed, and for each calendar year, provide the total dollar amount paid by
      the customer to the data broker.

      9. All records related to the methods by which ______ and its related
      data broker Web sites procure and sell telephone records, including but not
      limited to all contracts regarding such procurements.

      10. All records related to any inquiries by law enforcement or regulatory
      officials regarding the procurement and sale of telephone records.

      11. All company policy guidelines, employee manuals, or other instructions
      regarding the procurement and sale of telephone records, and all records
      related thereto.

      12. Do ______ and its related data broker Web sites obtain the consent of
      the owner of a phone number prior to procuring and selling records related
      to that phone number? Do ______ and its related data broker Web sites ever
      notify the owner of a phone number that his records have been procured and
      sold? If yes, describe when and why.

      Additionally, Committee investigators will be contacting you within the next
      week to arrange interviews with you and other company officers and
      employees.

      Sincerely,

      Joe Barton
      Chairman
      Committee on Energy and Commerce

      John Dingell
      Ranking Member
      Committee on Energy and Commerce

      Ed Whitfield
      Chairman
      Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations

      Bart Stupak
      Ranking Member
      Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations



      David C. Williams

      DCW & Associates

      7400 Center Avenue, Suite 209

      Huntington Beach, CA 92647

      (714)892-0442 Fax (714)892-3543

      CA PI License # PI 12300 Website: www.dcwpi.com <http://www.dcwpi.com/>
      Email: dwilliams@...



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