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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!

State Senators Directory

U.S. House Of Representatives Directory

California State Representatives  Mr. Robert Scott lives in California.

Search State House of Representatives This is the Google Search Link, all you have to do is click it and peruse the results.

Personal Signature

Beware Of What You Don’t Know: SKIPSMASHER!

 

That pesky weather bulletin that you are getting, you know the one that keeps “popping up” on your cell phone? That text message to call a number that is listed in the text, you know the one that looks like there is some kind of a dire emergency that you need to be warned about? BEWARE, these could very well be some unethical Private Investigator trying to locate your exact geographical position! Yeah, REALLY!

The average consumer is probably unaware of how many times a day his or her privacy is violated. The average consumer is probably unaware that at any give time most Private Investigators and Collection Agencies, Repossession Agencies can find a person’s exact location. Thanks to sites like “Skip Smasher” you’ll never know if that Weather Bulletin is a real weather alert that was sent to you strictly to warn you about weather conditions, or if it is someone trying to find out what your exact location is. Below is the description from “Skip Smasher” of the service it offers to it’s customers:

Cell Stinger

This is actually a wonderful way to invade someone’s privacy and claim it is legitimate because they have location services turned on, on their phone. The problem is that this method uses subterfuge to exploit your location bases services that were originally designed to help drives and hikers navigate. What happens is the weather bulleting starts to pop up and nag the unsuspecting victim and it asks the unsuspecting victim if they would like to opt out of receiving these alerts, when the unsuspecting victim does this the opt out process captures the unsuspecting victim’s location and sends it to a server where it is processed and sent to the person paying to have this service in the form of a  Google Map with as much details as can be processed on the unsuspecting victim’s location.

Enter Robert Scott, the man that owns “Skip Smasher” and who is making good money off of showing Private Investigators how to exploit your privacy. And he does not care at all that this could be an invasion of privacy, because he is a Private Investigator himself and that is how he markets this service, as a service for Investigative Professionals by Investigative Professionals. Actually what happens here is some Private Investigator uses this to locate you, the unsuspecting citizen for someone that is paying that Private Investigator money. And the service is CHEAP! For under five dollars ($5.00) a Private Investigator can use this service to “ping” your exact location. Does it not seem a little “creepy” that a person that does not like you, or is obsessed with you, or intends you harm can get someone with this type of technology to find your exact location at almost any given time, for a price? Are you still comfortable with that weather bulletin that just came in on your cell phone?

Okay, so you are a Private Citizen and you want to do something about this. What do you do? Well, right now this service is not illegal, however in 2001 pretexting a cell phone for a third party’s cell phone records was not illegal either. Until Senator Charles Schumer made it illegal to gain another person’s cell phone call details without authorization. If you feel like you don’t want to be the victim of this type of privacy invasion, call your State Representatives, Call your Senators; request that they open an investigation into Robert Scott and “Skip Smasher” . Request that your Senator or your State Representative try to pass new legislation to outlaw this practice. Request that your State Senators and State Representatives send Robert Scott a stern message that it is not acceptable to profit from the wholesale invasion of people’s privacy.

Below are links that will help you find the contact details for your State Senators and State Representatives, if you decide that you don’t want to accept this type of privacy invasion:

State Senators Directory

U.S. House Of Representatives Directory

California State Representatives  Mr. Robert Scott lives in California.

Search State House of Representatives This is the Google Search Link, all you have to do is click it and peruse the results.

Privacy is in short supply. You will find the word “privacy” nowhere in the constitution. But we should all have an expectation that the items we purchase to make our lives a little more comfortable should not be exploited and turned against us to take what little bit of privacy we have left.

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