Committee to Hold Hearing on Protecting Consumers’ Phone Records

January 27, 2006

WASHINGTON, DC – The Senate Commerce Committee today announced it will hold a Consumer Affairs, Product Safety, and Insurance Subcommittee hearing on Protecting Consumers’ Phone Records on Wednesday, February 8, 2006, 2:30 p.m. in room 562 of the Dirksen Building. Senator George Allen (R-Va.), Chairman of the Consumer Affairs Subcommittee, will chair the hearing.

The hearing will examine unauthorized third party access to phone records, potential legislative solutions, and will assess the proper roles of the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission.

“It is essential to hold a hearing as quickly as possible to address the issue of fraudulent acquisition of private phone records,” said Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska). “We will continue to work with the industry, the relevant federal agencies, and other Members of Congress to come up with an appropriate solution. Congress must ensure that Americans’ phone records are protected and that there will be severe penalties for invading privacy.”

"The commercial sale of consumers' personal phone records is unthinkable,” said Commerce Committee Co-Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii). “Americans should not have to fear that using their own phone will jeopardize their personal privacy and make them even more vulnerable to identity theft. It is going to take a cooperative effort from the FTC, the FCC, and industry to ensure that these unsavory practices cease, and this hearing will help us determine how to make that happen quickly and effectively."

“I aim to thwart these unscrupulous invaders and marketers of our private phone records. Americans have a right to expect that when they sign-up for phone service that their private records will be kept personal and confidential,” said Senator Allen. “It’s my goal to work together to get Congress to act now to protect our law-abiding citizens from this invasion of privacy. This important hearing will allow us to learn from consumers and responsible industry leaders to craft a sound and reasonable solution to a problem that has the potential to affect almost every citizen of our country.”

“This hearing is an opportunity to find and fix the problems that are allowing privacy pirates to evade the law and steal our personal information,” said Senator Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Ranking Member of the Consumer Affairs Subcommittee. “It’s wrong, and I believe we need to stop this practice before it gets any worse.”

Witnesses will be announced when available.