CommunityPam's House Blend

It's all for sale

It’s all over folks. John over at Americablog has a series of posts that will send a chill down your spine:

* Anyone can buy a list of your incoming and outgoing phone calls, cell or land-line, for $110 online

* Congress trying to overturn state privacy laws regarding your phone communications

* Homeland Security is opening private mail

As he said in regards to the last post, which rings true for the first two as well: “Fifteen years afer we defeat the Soviet Union we become them.” Actually, it’s worse. Private companies — telecommunications giants — are making a killing while third parties as well as the government can monitor private citizens.

The Chicago Sun-Times has the goods on the extent of this unbelievable breach of privacy rights for a goddamned buck.

How well do the services work? The Chicago Sun-Times paid $110 to Locatecell.com to purchase a one-month record of calls for this reporter’s company cell phone. It was as simple as e-mailing the telephone number to the service along with a credit card number. The request was made Friday after the service was closed for the New Year’s holiday.

On Tuesday, when it reopened, Locatecell.com e-mailed a list of 78 telephone numbers this reporter called on his cell phone between Nov. 19 and Dec. 17. The list included calls to law enforcement sources, story subjects and other Sun-Times reporters and editors.

My first thought on the ability of the average Joe to obtain your cell phone logs is that this revelation must send shivers down the spines of those working in the domestic abuse field. How many women will die as these “services” become widely publicized? How many people will find that their stalkers and freakshow neighbors/coworkers/employers will be helping themselves to information that you thought was private?

Gee, if you’re gay and don’t want someone to know it, this sort of crap may result in the closet door being kicked open for you. And if you’re HIV+, well, this is one easy way to lose the privacy of that information if you call a hotline or AIDS services clinic. Toss HIPAA out the window.

Why wasn’t closing this Holland Tunnel-sized hole in privacy on the radar when the Violence Against Women Act was reauthorized on the Hill? Certainly Congress could have held hearings to explain the gravity of this. Why not?

They are in the pockets of the telecommunications giants that trade and sell your information and these Repugs aren’t about to worry about your rights.

The BS is that Congress knew about this since last July when the WaPo ran an article about this, and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called for legislation to criminalize this crap and it’s been wasting away. That’s something, but why on earth isn’t there hell being raised?

Of course, they are all screwing themselves as well, because, ostensibly, anyone can pay a few hundred dollars to see who Tom DeLay, Ken Mehlman, Karl Rove (or Bill O’Reilly or Jeff Gannon, for that matter) have been calling and they can’t do anything about it either.

Don’t these dolts realize the loss of privacy goes both ways? Small fish like news about Rev. Lonnie Latham getting busted for offering a blow-job to a cop are going to be old news. There are bigger fish to fry, at $110 a pop — and all those homo-hypocrites are going to end up on someone’s hit list, and it won’t be pretty.

DISCLAIMER: I’m not advocating that in this least, but what’s to stop someone from doing this? Nothing. Folks on the Left and the Right should be up in arms about this.

We need statements from Verizon, Cingular, Nextel — and all the rest — about what they are doing with our information, and how much money they are making off of it.

Each and every Senator and Congressman should be called/fax/emailed and asked about their position on this.

Shakes Sis also weighs in.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding