© 2024 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Senate Considers Bill to Outlaw 'Pretexting'


In business news, outlawing the practice of pretexting.

The Senate may act as early as today to outlaw the use of trickery to obtain people's telephone records without their consent. The practice known as pretexting came out of the shadows when contractors working for Hewlett Packard used it to spy on company board members and news reporters.

NPR's Scott Horsley has more.

SCOTT HORSLEY: Former HP Chairwoman Patricia Dunn and four others, already face criminal charges in California over the spy scandal. But there's no federal law that explicitly bans pretexting. That may be about to change.

Privacy expert Chris Hoofnagle, of the UC-Berkeley Law School, says a measure passed by the House, and now before the Senate, would make it a crime to impersonate someone to obtain their personal phone records. The law applies, not only to the con artists who do the pretexting, but to the customers who hire them as well.

Mr. CHRIS HOOFNAGLE (Privacy Expert, UC-Berkeley Law School): The Hewlett Packard experience basically indicated that these practices were more mainstream than people thought. And it did provide a lot of motivation for legislators to crack down on the practice.

HORSLEY: Hoofnagle calls the measure a good start, but says it doesn't go far enough. It doesn't require phone companies to adopt any extra privacy protections, and it doesn't protect other sources of personal information, such as utility records or cable bills.

Scott Horsley, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Scott Horsley is NPR's Chief Economics Correspondent. He reports on ups and downs in the national economy as well as fault lines between booming and busting communities.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.

Related Content