January 24, 2006- Markey Releases Lawmakers' Inquiry into Phone Record Sales with Federal Communications Agency

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Ranking Democrat on the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, released a request sent today to the  Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from leading telecommunications lawmakers.  The letter seeks further information from the federal agency regarding the commercial availability of consumer telephone records.

The letter sent to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin from Reps. Barton, Dingell, Upton and Markey seeks more information on what the FCC knows about telephone company measures to protect consumer data as well as on a petition before the commission filed last year by the Electronic Privacy Information Center.  “We are eager to know when the Commission will complete its review of the record and determine which actions should be taken in response to this petition,” the letter states.

“While government agencies seek to address the problem of phone record sales, Americans remain vulnerable to intrusive privacy incursion in their most personal records,” said Rep. Markey.  “Every day that we wait we leave the public exposed to these information attacks – we must shut down this black market of consumer information immediately.”

In response to FCC Chairman Martin's response to an earlier inquiry on this subject by Rep. Markey, Chairman Martin noted that that operating procedures at telecommunications companies must be certified annually to the FCC.  In today's letter, the lawmakers are seeking copies of the last annual certifications of the five largest wireline and the five largest wireless telecommunications companies, requesting that the agency respond by January 30th.

In November, Rep. Markey called on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and FCC to investigate this violation of private consumer information and ascertain what steps they were taking to protect consumers.  According to many carriers, consumer telephone records are disclosed inadvertently when “pre-text” callers impersonate consumers to illicitly obtain the calling records.  Two weeks ago, Rep. Markey released responses from the Chairman of the FCC indicating that the agency has an investigation underway at this time and is looking into whether telephone companies are taking adequate steps to protect consumer phone records.  In addition the FCC and the FTC are coordinating efforts to combat this rising fraud. 

For more information on Rep. Markey’s work to protect consumer privacy and for a copy of the letter sent to the FTC and FCC check out: http://markey.house.gov/

Copy of Letter to FCC and FTC Copy of Letter to FCC , January 24, 2006

January 24, 2006
 CONTACT: Tara McGuinness
Colin Crowell