The California legislature, adding its imprint to a politician’s dream issue, is considering Assembly Bill 2838, “an act to add Section 530.1 to the Penal Code, and to amend Section 2891 of the Public Utilities Code, relating to telephone records.”
If instituted this bill, codified as PC 530.1, offers 1 year in the slammer to any “person who willfully obtains a telephone calling pattern record or list of another person without that person’s consent…” Since jail time is not punishment enough, the legislation also includes a specific provision for the collection of civil penalties.
A subscriber may bring an action against any individual, business association, partnership, limited partnership, corporation, limited liability company, or other entity that knowingly obtains, procures, sells, or distributes a telephone calling pattern record or list without the subscriber’s written consent, and upon proof by a preponderance of evidence, shall be entitled to judgment for actual damages, reasonable attorney’s fees, costs of suit, and any other equitable relief, including disgorgement of any monetary or other gain, that the court deems appropriate.
So many state legislatures are considering laws criminalizing the selling of telephone subscriber information that I haven’t kept a list.
Florida Attorney General Crist just charged Global Information Group, Inc. with unlawfully obtaining and selling confidential telephone records. This is the second charge this month he brought claiming a violation of the business fair practices act.
In typical Texas fashion, the legislature is seeking a 20 year jail term for anyone soliciting or selling customer phone records. And the Texas AG has filed suit against a telephone information broker.
Lest we forget, there are the federal bills: S. 2264: Consumer Phone Record Security Act of 2006; H.R. 4714: Phone Records Protection Act of 2006; S. 2178: Consumer Telephone Records Protection Act of 2006; and S. 2177: Phone Records Protection Act of 2006.
There’s a tidal wave. It’s just a matter of time before the states or the feds bring this wall of water to our shores.