Major geeky kudos to John Aravosis, master and commander of AmericaBlog.org, who has been riding cell-phone companies hard lately over their complete willingness to treat their customers like dirt.
It started last month, when John discovered a nasty open secret about the cell phone records of you and me and everyone we know:
Sprint joins growing list of wireless companies whose customers' phone records are available to anyone for $89.95
by John in DC - 1/13/2006 02:19:00 PM
Sprint today joined Cingular Wirless and T-Mobile as cell phone companies whose customers' private cell phone records are available online for anyone to buy for as little as $89.95.
A friend earlier today bought the cell phone records of AMERICAblog writer Joe Sudbay (Joe in DC) from CellTolls.com. These included the dates and numbers of 91 calls made to and from Sudbay's Sprint cell phone in November and December 2005. CellTolls is the same company AMERICAblog used yesterday to buy the T-Mobile phone records of former presidential candidate General Wesley Clark. And last Friday, I used LocateCell.com to easily buy my private Cingular Wireless cell phone records. (It appears that LocateCell and CellTolls are operated by the same company.)
No word yet from any of these companies as to why their customers' allegedly private cell phone records are readily available to anyone with an Internet connection and a credit card.
John has stayed on the story like a bulldog even as the mainstream press has started to pick it up. Which is a vital and necessary service, particularly for those of us who have come to depend upon the Net and remember the days when things like phone services were considered public utilities, not a way for corporate executives to fatten their own personal coffers. As we hear more about the greed and cravenness of these corps -- as they bend over for the Feds’ illegal eavesdropping programs and plot to turn the Internet into private shopping malls that we peons will have to pay through the nose to use -- work like John’s is ever more important.