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Posts Tagged ‘Communications Act of 1934

Skipsmasher: Revisted

If you’ll remember a while back I posted an article about Skipsmasher. This is a database that uses one of the most invasive methods of all for gathering information about a person. Skipsmasher employs a deceptive method for obtaining a consumer’s exact location with an annoying text to a person’s cell phone, at which time when the consumer receives this nagging and annoying text they are presented with an option t opt out. When the consumer opts out, their exact location is sent to the customer of Skipsmasher that pays about $3.00 for this information.

Imagine that, you are at your child’s school, now someone knows where you child goes to school at. You are at your bank, now some stranger knows where you bank at. You are at your girlfriend’s house, now some stranger knows where your girlfriend lives. As a PI, I can tell you that it is not hard to deduct what this information that the person employing this deceptive tactic means. This is really scary when you consider the implications. A Pi can charge a client $30.00 to find out where you are at, anytime of the day. That client of the PI can be a stalker, a murderer, a rapist, whoever can come up with $30.00. And if that client of the PI can come up $300.00, that client can determine your travel habits and routines. And you, the unsuspecting target; you will NEVER know just how much of your real time, personal details have just been obtained by this complete stranger.

Now, I know what you are probably asking yourself.  Why would I be urging you to call your Congressmen and State Representatives over this issue, when it can eliminate a tool that I could do my job with more proficiently? Well, because I am all for public records, and innovative ways to locate information that is already available to those that know how to obtain it. It is one thing to use public information to find out what you need to know about a person. It is another thing to trick someone out of their privacy and obtain information that really is not publicly available. If your car is in your garage, should anyone that wants be able to know that you are home, without a public sign of a vehicle? You do have a right to be secure in your home. You do have a right to privacy in your home, especially when you are making an active effort to preserve that privacy. I don’t want to see anyone’s REAL reasonable expectation of privacy violated. The problem is that most people don’t know what a reasonable expectation of privacy is, and I can tell you that your personal comfort often times does nto enter into that expectation of privacy. But sometimes, people go to far for a quick dollar, and that is what Skipsmasher has done.

Here is a link that may interest you, if you are concerned about your telephone privacy: H.R. 4709 (109th): Telephone Records and Privacy Protection Act of 2006

Of particular interest is the quote from this act below:

SEC. 3. FRAUD AND RELATED ACTIVITY IN CONNECTION WITH OBTAINING CONFIDENTIAL PHONE RECORDS INFORMATION OF A COVERED ENTITY.

(a) Offense- Chapter 47 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting after section 1038 the following:

`Sec. 1039. Fraud and related activity in connection with obtaining confidential phone records information of a covered entity

`(a) Criminal Violation- Whoever, in interstate or foreign commerce, knowingly and intentionally obtains, or attempts to obtain, confidential phone records information of a covered entity, by–

`(1) making false or fraudulent statements or representations to an employee of a covered entity;

`(2) making such false or fraudulent statements or representations to a customer of a covered entity;

`(3) providing a document to a covered entity knowing that such document is false or fraudulent; or

`(4) accessing customer accounts of a covered entity via the Internet, or by means of conduct that violates section 1030 of this title, without prior authorization from the customer to whom such confidential phone records information relates;

shall be fined under this title, imprisoned for not more than 10 years, or both.

`(b) Prohibition on Sale or Transfer of Confidential Phone Records Information-

`(1) Except as otherwise permitted by applicable law, whoever, in interstate or foreign commerce, knowingly and intentionally sells or transfers, or attempts to sell or transfer, confidential phone records information of a covered entity, without prior authorization from the customer to whom such confidential phone records information relates, or knowing or having reason to know such information was obtained fraudulently, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.

`(2) For purposes of this subsection, the exceptions specified in section 222(d) of the Communications Act of 1934 shall apply for the use of confidential phone records information by any covered entity, as defined in subsection (h).

`(c) Prohibition on Purchase or Receipt of Confidential Phone Records Information-

`(1) Except as otherwise permitted by applicable law, whoever, in interstate or foreign commerce, knowingly and intentionally purchases or receives, or attempts to purchase or receive, confidential phone records information of a covered entity, without prior authorization from the customer to whom such confidential phone records information relates, or knowing or having reason to know such information was obtained fraudulently, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.

`(2) For purposes of this subsection, the exceptions specified in section 222(d) of the Communications Act of 1934 shall apply for the use of confidential phone records information by any covered entity, as defined in subsection (h).

`(d) Enhanced Penalties for Aggravated Cases- Whoever violates, or attempts to violate, subsection (a), (b), or (c) while violating another law of the United States or as part of a pattern of any illegal activity involving more than $100,000, or more than 50 customers of a covered entity, in a 12-month period shall, in addition to the penalties provided for in such subsection, be fined twice the amount provided in subsection (b)(3) or (c)(3) (as the case may be) of section 3571 of this title, imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or both.

`(e) Enhanced Penalties for Use of Information in Furtherance of Certain Criminal Offenses-

`(1) Whoever, violates, or attempts to violate, subsection (a), (b), or (c) knowing that such information may be used in furtherance of, or with the intent to commit, an offense described in section 2261, 2261A, 2262, or any other crime of violence shall, in addition to the penalties provided for in such subsection, be fined under this title and imprisoned not more than 5 years.

`(2) Whoever, violates, or attempts to violate, subsection (a), (b), or (c) knowing that such information may be used in furtherance of, or with the intent to commit, an offense under section 111, 115, 1114, 1503, 1512, 1513, or to intimidate, threaten, harass, injure, or kill any Federal, State, or local law enforcement officer shall, in addition to the penalties provided for in such subsection, be fined under this title and imprisoned not more than 5 years.

`(f) Extraterritorial Jurisdiction- There is extraterritorial jurisdiction over an offense under this section.

`(g) Nonapplicability to Law Enforcement Agencies- This section does not prohibit any lawfully authorized investigative, protective, or intelligence activity of a law enforcement agency of the United States, a State, or political subdivision of a State, or of an intelligence agency of the United States

I submit to you that every time a nagging text message is sent to your phone for the purpose of getting you to opt out, so your physical location can be sent to someone that you have not authorized to know your physical address, your bank, your child’s school, or any other private information that you would not want a complete stranger to know, that a type of misrepresentation and fraud has been committed: `(2) making such false or fraudulent statements or representations to a customer of a covered entity;

Call your State Representatives and your Congressmen, and make this known. DEMAND an investigation into this practice. And if the investigative findings are that this violates this act quoted above; demand penalties for Skipsmasher, and the owner. You true privacy is worth it, it’s not like we have a lot of it left; don’t let this company nibble away at what privacy you DO have!

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California State Representatives  Mr. Robert Scott lives in California.

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