The Chicago Police Department is warning officers their cell phone records are available to anyone -- for a price. Dozens of online services are selling lists of cell phone calls, raising security concerns among law enforcement and privacy experts.If this isn't against the law now, it better be against the law by this time next year.
Criminals can use such records to expose a government informant who regularly calls a law enforcement official. Suspicious spouses can see if their husband or wife is calling a certain someone a bit too often.
And employers can check whether a worker is regularly calling a psychologist -- or a competing company. Some online services might be skirting the law to obtain these phone lists, according to Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who has called for legislation to criminalize phone record theft and use.
In some cases, telephone company insiders secretly sell customers' phone-call lists to online brokers, despite strict telephone company rules against such deals, according to Schumer.
And some online brokers have used deception to get the lists from the phone companies, he said. "Though this problem is all too common, federal law is too narrow to include this type of crime," Schumer said last year in a prepared statement.