TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Sprint-Nextel Sues Data Brokers

Sprint-Nextel Sues Data Brokers

Jeremy Pelofsky (
Sat, 28 Jan 2006 19:34:54 -0600

Sprint Nextel Corp. on Friday said it sued the parent company of four
data brokers it said used fraudulent means to obtain and sell wireless
customer call records.

Sprint said the company, 1st Source Information Specialists Inc., had
its employees pose as customers seeking information about their own
accounts, to get access to cell phone logs and phone numbers.

Sprint is seeking temporary and permanent injunctions against the
Tamarac, Florida-based company, which runs Web sites such as and

Sprint filed the lawsuit in a state court in Broward County, Florida,
a spokeswoman for the company said., which hosts the site, made it unavailable
after receiving complaints from customers who said they failed to
receive service, consumers worried about their data being sold and law
enforcement agencies, general counsel Christine Jones told

"We made the decision, based on input we were getting, to remove the
hosting content," she said in a telephone interview. She said the
company also hosts but has not heard of complaints
regarding that site.

An attempt to leave a message with 1st Source on Friday afternoon was
unsuccessful. A lawyer for the company could not be reached for

The lawsuit marked the latest in a series of legal actions against 1st
Source. Wireless phone company T-Mobile on Monday sued 1st Source in a
Washington state court and the company also faces a lawsuit brought by
the Illinois attorney general.

Cingular Wireless, the largest U.S. wireless carrier, has said it
obtained a temporary restraining order against 1st Source and another
company, Data Find Solutions.

The Federal Communications Commission this month issued a citation
against 1st Source for failing to comply fully with a subpoena and
threatened to fine the company.

U.S. lawmakers, state attorneys general and the FCC are looking into
whether any laws were broken by companies that obtain and sell cell
phone records.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee scheduled a hearing on the
issue for Wednesday and the Senate Commerce Committee plans to hold a
hearing on February 8, the panels announced on Friday. Lawmakers on
both committees are drafting legislation.

"Congress must ensure that Americans' phone records are protected and
that there will be severe penalties for invading privacy," said Senate
Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens, an Alaska Republican.

(Additional reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky in Washington.)

Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.

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