WASHINGTON, DC -- On the eve of the hearings in the House Energy and Commerce Committee this Thursday, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), the top Democrat on the House Telecommunications and Internet Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee released the following statement about the Hewlett Packard privacy debacle.  Rep. Markey, also the co-chair of the Congressional Privacy Caucus, has sponsored a number of bills to protect personal privacy, including clarifying anti-pretexting laws.

Markey said, “I’m deeply concerned about corporations, in this case H-P, using private detectives and information brokers to obtain illicit access to telephone records and other personal information.  Investors, competitors and Congress need to know how widespread this practice is, and whether companies are skirting or even violating the law by prying into people's telephone records or other personal information.”

“We need to know how this happened, why HP and others thought this was legal, and how widespread this practice of spying on employees, directors, or the corporate competition?” Markey asked.

“I hope that these hearings spur quick congressional action on privacy legislation that would prevent private investigators from so easily intruding into peoples' personal lives – whether they are corporate directors and executives or average American families.  Right now, there are bills pending before Congress that would outlaw purchases and sales of Social Security numbers, clarify existing prohibitions against pretexting for phone records, regulate information brokers and mandate stronger data security protections.  I am hopeful that these hearings will spur Congress to enact these bills into law -- either in the lame duck session following the elections or next year,” Markey concluded.

September 27, 2006

CONTACT: Israel Klein