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Obama's Mobile Phone Records Compromised, Shared

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the quis-custodiet-ipsos-custodes dept.

Privacy 278

Tiger4 writes "Verizon has confirmed that some of its employees have accessed and perhaps shared calling records of President Elect Barack Obama (coverage at CNN, Reuters, AP). Verizon says the people involved have all been put on leave with pay as the investigation proceeds. Some of the employees may have accessed the information for legitimate purposes, but others may have been curiosity seekers and may have even shared the information around. The account was 'only' a phone, not a BlackBerry or similar device, and Verizon believes it was just calling records, not voicemail or email that was compromised. The articles do not mention the similarity to the warrantless wiretapping or hospital records compromises of recent months. But that immediately sprang to mind for me."

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Your official guide to the Jigaboo presidency (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25844745)

Congratulations on your purchase of a brand new nigger! If handled properly, your apeman will give years of valuable, if reluctant, service.

INSTALLING YOUR NIGGER.
You should install your nigger differently according to whether you have purchased the field or house model. Field niggers work best in a serial configuration, i.e. chained together. Chain your nigger to another nigger immediately after unpacking it, and don't even think about taking that chain off, ever. Many niggers start singing as soon as you put a chain on them. This habit can usually be thrashed out of them if nipped in the bud. House niggers work best as standalone units, but should be hobbled or hamstrung to prevent attempts at escape. At this stage, your nigger can also be given a name. Most owners use the same names over and over, since niggers become confused by too much data. Rufus, Rastus, Remus, Toby, Carslisle, Carlton, Hey-You!-Yes-you!, Yeller, Blackstar, and Sambo are all effective names for your new buck nigger. If your nigger is a ho, it should be called Latrelle, L'Tanya, or Jemima. Some owners call their nigger hoes Latrine for a joke. Pearl, Blossom, and Ivory are also righteous names for nigger hoes. These names go straight over your nigger's head, by the way.

CONFIGURING YOUR NIGGER
Owing to a design error, your nigger comes equipped with a tongue and vocal chords. Most niggers can master only a few basic human phrases with this apparatus - "muh dick" being the most popular. However, others make barking, yelping, yapping noises and appear to be in some pain, so you should probably call a vet and have him remove your nigger's tongue. Once de-tongued your nigger will be a lot happier - at least, you won't hear it complaining anywhere near as much. Niggers have nothing interesting to say, anyway. Many owners also castrate their niggers for health reasons (yours, mine, and that of women, not the nigger's). This is strongly recommended, and frankly, it's a mystery why this is not done on the boat

HOUSING YOUR NIGGER.
Your nigger can be accommodated in cages with stout iron bars. Make sure, however, that the bars are wide enough to push pieces of nigger food through. The rule of thumb is, four niggers per square yard of cage. So a fifteen foot by thirty foot nigger cage can accommodate two hundred niggers. You can site a nigger cage anywhere, even on soft ground. Don't worry about your nigger fashioning makeshift shovels out of odd pieces of wood and digging an escape tunnel under the bars of the cage. Niggers never invented the shovel before and they're not about to now. In any case, your nigger is certainly too lazy to attempt escape. As long as the free food holds out, your nigger is living better than it did in Africa, so it will stay put. Buck niggers and hoe niggers can be safely accommodated in the same cage, as bucks never attempt sex with black hoes.

FEEDING YOUR NIGGER.
Your Nigger likes fried chicken, corn bread, and watermelon. You should therefore give it none of these things because its lazy ass almost certainly doesn't deserve it. Instead, feed it on porridge with salt, and creek water. Your nigger will supplement its diet with whatever it finds in the fields, other niggers, etc. Experienced nigger owners sometimes push watermelon slices through the bars of the nigger cage at the end of the day as a treat, but only if all niggers have worked well and nothing has been stolen that day. Mike of the Old Ranch Plantation reports that this last one is a killer, since all niggers steal something almost every single day of their lives. He reports he doesn't have to spend much on free watermelon for his niggers as a result. You should never allow your nigger meal breaks while at work, since if it stops work for more than ten minutes it will need to be retrained. You would be surprised how long it takes to teach a nigger to pick cotton. You really would. Coffee beans? Don't ask. You have no idea.

MAKING YOUR NIGGER WORK.
Niggers are very, very averse to work of any kind. The nigger's most prominent anatomical feature, after all, its oversized buttocks, which have evolved to make it more comfortable for your nigger to sit around all day doing nothing for its entire life. Niggers are often good runners, too, to enable them to sprint quickly in the opposite direction if they see work heading their way. The solution to this is to *dupe* your nigger into working. After installation, encourage it towards the cotton field with blows of a wooden club, fence post, baseball bat, etc., and then tell it that all that cotton belongs to a white man, who won't be back until tomorrow. Your nigger will then frantically compete with the other field niggers to steal as much of that cotton as it can before the white man returns. At the end of the day, return your nigger to its cage and laugh at its stupidity, then repeat the same trick every day indefinitely. Your nigger comes equipped with the standard nigger IQ of 75 and a memory to match, so it will forget this trick overnight. Niggers can start work at around 5am. You should then return to bed and come back at around 10am. Your niggers can then work through until around 10pm or whenever the light fades.

ENTERTAINING YOUR NIGGER.
Your nigger enjoys play, like most animals, so you should play with it regularly. A happy smiling nigger works best. Games niggers enjoy include: 1) A good thrashing: every few days, take your nigger's pants down, hang it up by its heels, and have some of your other niggers thrash it with a club or whip. Your nigger will signal its intense enjoyment by shrieking and sobbing. 2) Lynch the nigger: niggers are cheap and there are millions more where yours came from. So every now and then, push the boat out a bit and lynch a nigger.

Lynchings are best done with a rope over the branch of a tree, and niggers just love to be lynched. It makes them feel special. Make your other niggers watch. They'll be so grateful, they'll work harder for a day or two (and then you can lynch another one). 3) Nigger dragging: Tie your nigger by one wrist to the tow bar on the back of suitable vehicle, then drive away at approximately 50mph. Your nigger's shrieks of enjoyment will be heard for miles. It will shriek until it falls apart. To prolong the fun for the nigger, do *NOT* drag him by his feet, as his head comes off too soon. This is painless for the nigger, but spoils the fun. Always wear a seatbelt and never exceed the speed limit. 4) Playing on the PNL: a variation on (2), except you can lynch your nigger out in the fields, thus saving work time. Niggers enjoy this game best if the PNL is operated by a man in a tall white hood. 5) Hunt the nigger: a variation of Hunt the Slipper, but played outdoors, with Dobermans. WARNING: do not let your Dobermans bite a nigger, as they are highly toxic.

DISPOSAL OF DEAD NIGGERS.
Niggers die on average at around 40, which some might say is 40 years too late, but there you go. Most people prefer their niggers dead, in fact. When yours dies, report the license number of the car that did the drive-by shooting of your nigger. The police will collect the nigger and dispose of it for you.

COMMON PROBLEMS WITH NIGGERS - MY NIGGER IS VERY AGGRESIVE
Have it put down, for god's sake. Who needs an uppity nigger? What are we, short of niggers or something?

MY NIGGER KEEPS RAPING WHITE WOMEN
They all do this. Shorten your nigger's chain so it can't reach any white women, and arm heavily any white women who might go near it.

WILL MY NIGGER ATTACK ME?
Not unless it outnumbers you 20 to 1, and even then, it's not likely. If niggers successfully overthrew their owners, they'd have to sort out their own food. This is probably why nigger uprisings were nonexistent (until some fool gave them rights).

MY NIGGER BITCHES ABOUT ITS "RIGHTS" AND "RACISM".
Yeah, well, it would. Tell it to shut the fuck up.

MY NIGGER'S HIDE IS A FUNNY COLOR. - WHAT IS THE CORRECT SHADE FOR A NIGGER?
A nigger's skin is actually more or less transparent. That brown color you can see is the shit your nigger is full of. This is why some models of nigger are sold as "The Shitskin".

MY NIGGER ACTS LIKE A NIGGER, BUT IS WHITE.
What you have there is a "wigger". Rough crowd. WOW!

IS THAT LIKE AN ALBINO? ARE THEY RARE?
They're as common as dog shit and about as valuable. In fact, one of them was President between 1992 and 2000. Put your wigger in a cage with a few hundred genuine niggers and you'll soon find it stops acting like a nigger. However, leave it in the cage and let the niggers dispose of it. The best thing for any wigger is a dose of TNB.

MY NIGGER SMELLS REALLY BAD
And you were expecting what?

SHOULD I STORE MY DEAD NIGGER?
When you came in here, did you see a sign that said "Dead nigger storage"? .That's because there ain't no goddamn sign.

Re:Your official guide to the Jigaboo presidency (-1, Offtopic)

MaxwellEdison (1368785) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844811)

Are they cherry-picking frontpage stories simply to encourage this drivel? Bah. I say good day!

Re:Your official guide to the Jigaboo presidency (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25845421)

It was a FISA wiretap, since Obama has known associations with terrorists.

See, Obama is like Osama, in the fact that they both have friends that bombed the pentagon.

Re:Your official guide to the Jigaboo presidency (2, Informative)

taliesinangelus (655700) | more than 5 years ago | (#25846051)

Who modded this "insightful?" White supremacists? Good grief this is horrible!

Data Theft (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25844761)

Nobody's Safe

Re:Data Theft (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25844939)

Really ? The people who illegaly obtained access to "Joe the plumber"'s records, and went on to check all sorts of things on him are still perfectly gainfully employed by the government :

http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2008/10/24/joe.html?sid=101 [dispatch.com]

I guess it all depends what side you're on. Can't have peole being critical of the president, now can we ?

Hey Olame-a - I'm waiting for my $5000. Without tax increase (and I'm paying ZERO taxes). After the election you became very silent on this point ...

Re:Data Theft (1)

nate_in_ME (1281156) | more than 5 years ago | (#25845263)

While I won't get into the debate over whether or not we elected the right person(for that matter, or the one about if we elected them), but in the President-Elect's defense, he has no authority to do anything except for pick his staff until the inauguration in January, so you're at least going to be waiting until then...

Re:Data Theft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25845339)

Stop whining for whining's sake. You lost, they won. You think change is going to happen before Olame-a- takes over? Not a chance.

I hear RushIsRight.com is accepting applications for group-cry sessions. Maybe O'Reilly will create a how-to video for crying so you can do it the Republican way. Revamp or crying is your long-term future. :~(

Re:Data Theft (5, Insightful)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 5 years ago | (#25845345)

Really ? The people who illegaly obtained access to "Joe the plumber"'s records, and went on to check all sorts of things on him

["all sorts of things" means, specifically, his driver's record, and whether or not he owed child support]

are still perfectly gainfully employed by the government

And so are these people. Didn't you even read the summary??? Verizon says the people involved have all been put on leave with pay.

"leave with pay" == "still employed." Sounds like a bonus, not a punishment!

I guess it all depends what side you're on.

Apparently not.

Re:Data Theft (5, Insightful)

foo12 (585116) | more than 5 years ago | (#25845385)

Do you think that the President Elect of the United States might have greater personal security concerns than McCain's version of a working class hero? This isn't a matter of "being critical of the president".

Nice red herring (4, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 5 years ago | (#25845623)

The President-Elect has a modern day Praetorian Guard protecting him. It would take either a professional team of assassins, or a very, very lucky suicide bomber/shooter to get anywhere near him. Joe the Plumber? Not so much.

Joe what's his name can't help the fact that McCain made him into a working class hero. He also can't help the fact that a number of people on the left wanted to destroy him for having the audacity to ask a hard, serious economic question of Obama that made Obama look bad. One radio host even called for him to be murdered.

So yeah, I'd say that he had more practical security precautions than a man who had the Secret Service protecting him and his immediate family.

Speaking of a red herring.... (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25845781)

What radio host called for ol' Joe-the-P's murder?

Besides, he's not the only one singled out for death by radio hosts. I've had people call for my death. Who am I? I bike-commuter.

Re:Speaking of a red herring.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25846195)

In fairness, you deserve to die.

Re:Nice red herring (3, Insightful)

foo12 (585116) | more than 5 years ago | (#25845941)

Presidents, President Elects and other high profile people are going to draw a far greater number of wackos than a private citizen vainly clinging to their fifteen minutes of fame. Obama's personal phone number and past calling patterns might well put him at risk and could very well put family, friends and associates at risk -- you might not be able to get at Obama directly, but how about a family member without a protective detail?

And I really doubt that McCain didn't even get Samuel Joe Wurzelburger a courtesy call before turning him into a party platitude. Regardless, he certainly didn't shy away from the spotlight: junior stump man, book deal and record deal. He's certainly embraced the role of public persona but, just like every other person, does not deserve to have his privacy violated. But doesn't change the fact that Wurzelburger's notoriety is several degrees from Obama and is much less of a "target" for the crazies.

For the parent poster to claim the reaction to this story is because people don't want to criticize Obama is beyond the pale. For me this story would carry just as much weight if McCain's phone rec were ords compromised or Bush's post-presidency records were compromised (presumably Bush and now Obama lose their personal line privileges due to public record laws.)

Re:Nice red herring (0, Flamebait)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 5 years ago | (#25846113)

Presidents, President Elects and other high profile people are going to draw a far greater number of wackos than a private citizen vainly clinging to their fifteen minutes of fame.

You mean like all of the wackos that came out believing that Obama was the second coming of Jesus? The reason I'm sympathetic to his security concerns is that I stopped supporting Obama because of all of the wild-eyed zealots the man was attracting to him. Not that I supported McCain, who had some lunies of his own, but Obama clearly had a lot more people willing to take any attack on him as deeply personal, as was shown when he was able to rally his supporters to shut down several radio stations that had Stanley Kurtz discussing Obama.

Oh and that reference to the guy who called for Joe to be murdered? Not too hard to find [newsbusters.org] .

Re:Nice red herring (4, Informative)

taliesinangelus (655700) | more than 5 years ago | (#25845981)

Let's look at that "hard question":

"I'm getting ready to buy a company that makes 250 to 280 thousand dollars a year. Your new tax plan's going to tax me more, isn't it?"

Obama's response:

"It's not that I want to punish your success. I just want to make sure that everybody who is behind you, that they've got a chance at success, too"

The "Obama is a socialist" bandwagon was hitched up to Joe Wurzelbacher based on this exchange. It wasn't really so much of a "hard, serious question" than a rhetorical device. If Wurzelbacher had wanted to be more serious about the question, he should have left it more open-ended. I hope that he does better with "Secure Our Dream."

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_the_plumber [wikipedia.org]

Re:Data Theft (3, Interesting)

kabocox (199019) | more than 5 years ago | (#25846019)

Do you think that the President Elect of the United States might have greater personal security concerns than McCain's version of a working class hero? This isn't a matter of "being critical of the president".

You know my first reaction to this? It's a good thing that this happened. Why? Because it would take a data breach of a major government official before anything really serious is done about the problem. There is a part of me that really hopes that the president and congress get all sorts of personnel data stolen/breached just so they'll start to take the subject seriously.

Now as far as the office of the President and the white house goes... I'd hope that however the white house has their cell phone plan that say that they have some contract and have 50-1000 (how ever many) phones and some peon is in charge of paying bills, setting up/backing up address books other info of officals and that the phone company shouldn't ever know which phones are assigned to which personnel. I'd actually want all their phone conversions encrypted and what not. (Actually, I'd want every cell phone call encrypted as well.)

Now, if this happened to be his personnel cell phone before he became famous president/government official, I can understand how this happened. I'd hope the President of the US or heck of any country or major business has more important things to do than fiddle with their personnel cell phones/tech support/data breaches.

I'll now have that mental image of the President spending an hour on hold trying to get through the cell phone tech support mini hell before he can complain to the cell phone management rather than spending time doing whatever it is presidents do most of the time.

Re:Data Theft (5, Funny)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 5 years ago | (#25846233)

If he's doing nothing wrong he's got nothing to worry about.

Right?

Re:Data Theft (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 5 years ago | (#25845487)

You know it amazes me how sensitive people get about what was essentially a poorly thought out Republican publicity stunt.

With the landslide McCain won with, you'd think people would be ready to drop these two absurd figures of the campaign, Sarah Palin and especially Joe the Plumber. I could care less if the Republican party has a future or not, but trust me if it does it doesn't include these two fools in any serious capacity. At least Palin seems to get a passing grade (D, but still passing) as Governor of Seward's Icebox.

No though, we're supposed to care that some egomaniac Republican operative's feelings might have been hurt.

Here's the thing, if I were John McCain, I would've had Joe the Plumber scragged after he failed to show up at an important campaign event and left me there looking like an idiot. You know, quick and painful. He had to improvise with that lame, "You're all Joe the Plumber" line.

Not that I blame Joe, he knew the Titanic was going down and had book deals to sign and other things to do.

Re:Data Theft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25845815)

Sarah Palin scares the crap out of you, doesn't she?

Heh.

Joe was not an operative (3, Insightful)

Kohath (38547) | more than 5 years ago | (#25846307)

Joe was just a guy in Ohio. Obama came to his house to campaign. He wasn't an "operative".

Do you guys even care that you're lying? Your guy won. There's no need to continue to smear and lie about Joe the Plumber.

You're paying no taxes; no income I guess? (1)

slashbart (316113) | more than 5 years ago | (#25845651)

- I'm waiting for my $5000. Without tax increase (and I'm paying ZERO taxes).

You're paying zero taxes. I presume your income is pretty much zero then; Personally I wouldn't brag about that.

But then, people that come up with such pathetic nicknames are probably without much of a life anyway. Tell us, is your room in your parents attic or in the basement? We'd just like to know.

Re:Data Theft (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25845675)

You want to put the data in whose safe?

Thats OK. (5, Insightful)

number17 (952777) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844767)

Oversight is OK though right? He has nothing to hide.

If he stops the NSA from spying on domestics then I'll take back my comment.

Re:Thats OK. (5, Funny)

tritonman (998572) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844823)

This is something new, the citizens wiretapping and spying on the president. I guess we truly will see change with Obama.

Re:Thats OK. (4, Insightful)

ionix5891 (1228718) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844919)

never mind Obama, the people need to see Bush's call records, now that be interesting

Re:Thats OK. (5, Insightful)

aceofspades1217 (1267996) | more than 5 years ago | (#25845141)

Forget Bush's records how about President Cheney's records..

Re:Thats OK. (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 5 years ago | (#25846057)

Forget Bush's records how about President Cheney's records

I think it's unlikely you will ever see those. After all, it's very hard to hack records written in blood.

Re:Thats OK. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25845529)

That's no troll. It would be far more interesting to see Bush's call records, especially as he is still the President and under the bills passed could declare himself dictator before Obama has ever stepped into office.

Re:Thats OK. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#25845897)

It might not contain all of his calls (who knows...), but you do realize that an official record of pretty much everything that he has done in office will eventually be published, right?

Re:Thats OK. (1)

techdojo (1409685) | more than 5 years ago | (#25846143)

Not nearly as interesting as Barbara and Jenna's. :)

________________________________________
http://techdojo.org/ [techdojo.org]

Re:Thats OK. (0, Offtopic)

aceofspades1217 (1267996) | more than 5 years ago | (#25845127)

This is something new, the citizens wiretapping and spying on the president. I guess we truly will see change with Obama.

lol yep this whole administration is already flipping around. Hopefully this is a sign for things to come. Let the citizens do the wiretapping and let the government do their government stuff.

*CHEERS*

PS:
But seriously I'm a big obama fan, he really did make some fantastic nominations so far. Definitely a departure from the cronyism of recent years. Heck Hillary was his enemy and never really endorsed him. I love Hillary but I'm not sure if shes really the best for president but she definitely is a brilliant women who should have a high position in our government and have some power to dictate foreign policy.

Re:Thats OK. (2, Interesting)

neomunk (913773) | more than 5 years ago | (#25846095)

Other than Clinton, could you enlighten me on some of the picks that you think are "fantastic"? I've personally been very disappointed in Obama's nominations thus far, for exactly the reason you say you're happy with them, cronyism.

I don't want to drag this out into a long-winded rant or anything, so I'll just post what I believe to be an excellent summation of just the cronyism I'm leery of. The article I'm talking about [commondreams.org] is actually about worries over the possibility of a hawkish Obama foreign policy, but when reading that list of names, you'll find Clintonites and others who walk the halls of power both on Capitol Hill and Wall Street.

I'm not trying to bash Obama, just wondering what you see that I don't, and trying to tap into a little of that optimism you have. :-)

Re:Thats OK. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25845133)

Under Soviet Obama, the Citizen Spies on State!

Re:Thats OK. (5, Insightful)

Panzor (1372841) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844907)

I have nothing to hide, but my conversations are my business. This is why I encrypt all my volumes and use OTR...

Re:Thats OK. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25845009)

Any sufficiently lost encryption key is indistinguishable from a one-time-pad

Re:Thats OK. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25846001)

Oh yeah. Well, I encrypt all my correspondence longer than one line.

Ks9&2, **sjluw*a%2 syjztj! Sjyjja1!pl;kjsux asj*HH8s,Oah

Transparency (5, Interesting)

xzvf (924443) | more than 5 years ago | (#25845067)

Actually you are strangely correct. We should have transcripts of every conversation with lobbyist, campaign contributors, and business relationships. A lack of vision into our corporate and political deal making has lead to many of the abuses over the last decade. If every non-personal conversation by corporate executives and government employees was recorded and made available to the public corruption and graft will be driven further underground.

Re:Transparency (5, Insightful)

Kugala (1083127) | more than 5 years ago | (#25845087)

You're going to trust people that are buying and selling laws to record their conversations?

Re:Transparency (4, Funny)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 5 years ago | (#25845889)

You're going to trust people that are buying and selling laws to record their conversations?

Of course not. That's why we should get a law passed to make it mandatory. It'll be tough to pass, but I know a couple palms we could grease (off the record, of course)

Re:Transparency (1)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 5 years ago | (#25845113)

Underground- or... the RIAA will start calling their favorite congress critter with "honey, there's a problem with Bobby at school..."

Re:Transparency (1)

das3cr (780388) | more than 5 years ago | (#25845305)

I guess we could just ask the Chinese. They seem to have all the details down.

Re:Transparency (2, Insightful)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 5 years ago | (#25845761)

I agree... strangely. As an employee of a company, my conversations are on their systems, using their resources, so I would have to assume that they own those conversations. If the CEO of our company wanted to pull my records, I would have to believe he was well within his legal rights. As such, we, the people, should be like the CEO of this country. They are using resources that we payed for, and they work for us. So, as such, it's time to hand over those records... and pay us millions of dollars a year.

Re:Transparency (1)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 5 years ago | (#25846285)

I agree but there's also the "matter of national security" paradox that there are no easy fixes for. I do think that the public has every right to know what their government is doing. Yet how do you prevent your enemies from accessing sensitive information that could compromise security while also letting the public know everything and not use "it's classified" as an excuse to pull the blinds over the public ?

Re:Thats OK. (1)

don3749 (1412703) | more than 5 years ago | (#25845989)

Oh please NSA has better things than looking at your drivel

Justifications (0)

retech (1228598) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844773)

Just wondering how long it will take before this results in some new phone related law...

Re:Justifications (1)

hagardtroll (562208) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844911)

A legislative doctrine to remedy the insufficient penality of perusing communication records may be the change we need, but as our undergarments may get soiled for lack of replacement so will our government forensic investigators. So lets all sip some Tranya and celebrate the coming of a new age in legal manifestations that bring about restrictive circumstances endangering our ability to perceive what is a new reality.

Re:Justifications (2, Funny)

BVis (267028) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844977)

No more coffee for you.

What legitimate purpose? (5, Interesting)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844781)

Some of the employees may have accessed the information for legitimate purposes

Like what?

I doubt if Obama has any problem paying his phone bill.

Re:What legitimate purpose? (5, Funny)

chill (34294) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844851)

Reverse traces.

They were probably investigating a complaint from the Governor's residence in Alaska. All those mysterious calls that would just be insane, taunting laughter, then a hang-up.

Probably just a wrong number, but still, you can never be too sure.

Re:What legitimate purpose? (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 5 years ago | (#25845191)

Like what?

Maby he started getting calls from all those people who shared his number and he called Verizon to complain. Accessing the call records at that point may have been legitimate by those initiating the investigation.

Maby? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25845869)

Maby? Are you kidding me? Maby? That's hilarious.

It's maybe. It's short for "It may be that..." it means the same thing as "perhaps" - the word you probably know as "praps".

Re:What legitimate purpose? (5, Insightful)

jonadab (583620) | more than 5 years ago | (#25845313)

> > Some of the employees may have accessed the information for legitimate purposes
> Like what?

Well, that's presumably why they're investigating.

There can be various technical reasons why a support tech or engineer or sysadmin or whoever looks at data that most people would think of as personal, but the engineer isn't seeing what other people are seeing. He's seeing technical stuff other people would never notice. I don't know a lot about phones, because I don't really support those, so I'll use email as an example instead. As a tech guy, I have on a number of occasions had reasons to look at a coworker's email (albeit, usually with their knowledge in my case), but if you'd asked me thirty seconds later who they'd received messages from or what they were about, I'd have had no idea. Maybe I was looking at whether messages were being retrieved from the server all the time in the background, or only when the inbox was open. Maybe I was looking at whether their outgoing messages were getting correct date headers and Message-IDs. Maybe I was sending a test message to myself to see how fast it went through, and the reply back. I'm sure there were other things, and I'm sure I don't remember every occasion, because it's not weird or unusual; it's a normal part of my job duties.

If I *wanted* to surreptitiously read the actual content of my coworkers' email, I would certainly be technically capable of doing that, and could be fairly confident of not being detected. But in the first place that wouldn't be ethical, and in the second place very little is of less interest to me than the content of my coworkers' email messages.

I am not saying the people who looked at Obama's calling records were doing so for legitimate reasons. I'm only saying that it's *plausible*, and the phone company is right to investigate _before_ taking any irrevocable action.

Incidentally, some people may be thinking that paid leave is letting them off easy, but having been through a situation where my employer had someone on paid leave for a while, I can say that in some instances the reason for doing this is because it allows the employer to place some kinds of restrictions on the employee that they wouldn't be able to place on them if they weren't being paid. I don't know for certain that this is the phone company's reason in this case, but it potentially could be. (It could also be they just don't want to penalize them until they investigate and determine for sure whether they did anything wrong. That could also be valid, from a cover-your-legal-self-in-case-of-lawsuits perspective if nothing else.)

Re:What legitimate purpose? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25845881)

I doubt if Obama has any problem paying his phone bill.

He is black.

So he loses his Blackberry? (1)

line-bundle (235965) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844785)

So this means he WILL have to let go of his Blackberry after all. How secure is data passing to a Blackberry, (the server, towers etc..)?

Re:So he loses his Blackberry? (2, Informative)

sakonofie (979872) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844999)

FT CNN article:

McAdam said the device on the account was a simple voice flip-phone, not a BlackBerry or other smartphone designed for e-mail or other data services, so none of Obama's e-mail could have been accessed.

Re:So he loses his Blackberry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25846107)

So this means he WILL have to let go of his Blackberry after all. How secure is data passing to a Blackberry, (the server, towers etc..)?

This wasn't a blackberry, but they are very secure. They use AES to encrypt all data, and the cellphone company doesn't have the decryption keys. Blackberries have been audited by a number of governments and non-governmental organizations.

http://na.blackberry.com/eng/ataglance/security/certifications.jsp [blackberry.com]

Out of touch (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25844795)

After 4 years he'll be as out of touch as W was, but I bet the media won't make fun of it unless we are in a depression.

This happens often (5, Interesting)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844801)

My brother worked at T-Mobile for many years. (since before they were T-Mobile). Most Hollywood stars have their agents get their phones for them. One day, something happened in the payment process, and Val Kilmer came into a store to make a payment on his phone, instead of his agent. Suddenly, his number was getting passed all over the company, and many employees (mostly young girls) actually called the number to talk to him. A ton of people were fired, and Val got a very nice check from T-Mobile.

Obama (2, Interesting)

mfh (56) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844937)

A ton of people were fired, and Val got a very nice check from T-Mobile.

What will Obama take for his trouble? I wonder who he's been chatting with. I see here a few dozen calls to a payphone in Ottawa. For years people were suggesting the USA could annex Canada if a big enough crisis occurred. Little did they know that Canada would annex the USA after a major stock market crash.

Kilmer who? (5, Funny)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 5 years ago | (#25845023)

Never heard of him. You talk as though he was some kind of Super Star like Rajnikant.

Re:Kilmer who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25845863)

Kilmer?...oh yea, the voice of KITT on the new Knight Rider. I knew that name was familiar!

Interesting observation, IMHO (5, Interesting)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844803)

Most of the media (for example, NPR on the radio today) talks about "unauthorized access by employees", while /. entry is about "sharing" (which is more sinister).

PS. That and unrelated modest and subdued coverage by CNN about yesterday's record Dow-Jones drop remind me of bias in the media.

Re:Interesting observation, IMHO (0)

dedazo (737510) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844981)

Most of the media (for example, NPR on the radio today) talks about "unauthorized access by employees", while /. entry is about "sharing" (which is more sinister).

That's probably because, with the exception of Fox News, the MSM still has a sliver of integrity left somewhere and won't game the headline that way unless it's possible to prove that the records were actually shared, as opposed to just illegally accessed.

Slashdot however, doesn't bother with those kinds of silly self-constraints.

MSM Integrity??? In THIS Country?? (2, Insightful)

bornagainpenguin (1209106) | more than 5 years ago | (#25846099)

>>That's probably because, with the exception of Fox News,
>>the MSM still has a sliver of integrity left somewhere and
>>won't game the headline that way unless it's possible to
>>prove that the records were actually shared, as opposed
>>to just illegally accessed.

Bwaaaahahahahahahahahahaha!

Gah, that was a good one. If after this election anyone can claim the clearly biased in favor of Obama have any integrity at all...

The sad thing is the MSM is only beginning to realize just how badly they've screwed themselves here, and what they've done to their credibility because of it.

I watched Katie Couric on Letterman the other night shifting and smiling uncomfortably as Dave bounced all over the place congratulating her and the rest of the MSM for their work in getting Obama elected. She just kept on glaring at him with her eyes as her smiles kept getting bigger and bigger...

She knows what Dave doesn't--and that unless the MSM can quickly bury their involvement with this election the American public will remember and discount their biases come next election--something none of the MSM reporters, flacks, and punditry want, but far too many in the entertainment branches are drunk with power and won't SHUT UP about it.

--bornagainpenguin

freedom of information act (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25844841)

While this is improper and wrong, I think that if the government is allowed to wiretap us, then the same laws should make it legal (Freedom of Information Act or something like that) for us to wiretap them. In fact, all government employees' and officials' calls should be recorded and made available for everyone's listening pleasure at a youtube-like site. Call it govtube. Because we are not subservient to the government; it is subservient to us. We put those people in office for our benefit, and so it is our collective right to know what they're doing over there.

Re:freedom of information act (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25845587)

Good lord man, while I admire and agree with the CONCEPT of what you're saying, I think you're taking it a liiiiiiiiiittle too far. #movetoanotherplanetandthenyouwillbehappy

It depends on the call (0)

Explodicle (818405) | more than 5 years ago | (#25845799)

In fact, all government employees' and officials' calls should be recorded and made available for everyone's listening pleasure...

It's our right to know what they're doing as part of their official duties. If the president wants a 15 minute break to talk to his wife with a phone he pays for out-of-pocket, then it's none of our business.

Re:freedom of information act (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 5 years ago | (#25845893)

I think that if the government is allowed to wiretap us, then the same laws should make it legal (Freedom of Information Act or something like that) for us to wiretap them.

Sure - all communication made by government officials in the course of their business should be available to the citizens. Even "classified" information should be embargoed only for a limited time.

Obama, however, won't be a government official for two more months. And calls home to talk about what kind of dog they're getting the kids, or what's for dinner, or what kinky new sex toys Michelle found on-line, are their business, not ours.

Why there are draconian rules at work. (4, Interesting)

xzvf (924443) | more than 5 years ago | (#25844921)

A situation like this is why there are so many stupid rules at work that make people less productive. Why USB ports are disabled, or you can't have an iPod, websites like gmail are blocked. The biggest danger of electronic crime and compromising of personal information come from people that work at the company. Same as most shoplifting is done by employees of the store. The solution is, ironically stolen from the government. In order to see personal data (classified information) an employee of the company must, not only have rights to see the information, but must also demonstrate a "need to know". That two factor authentication will eliminate many of the abuses by corporate and government employees (Joe the Plumber's info breach by the state) and clearly put the action into criminal field as apposed to looky loo.

Re:Why there are draconian rules at work. (1)

u38cg (607297) | more than 5 years ago | (#25845367)

Yes, but in practice that's ridiculously unworkable. Try working in an accounts receivables department for a large consumer utility company. You deal with hundreds of incoming payments a day, frequently without any helpful identification from the sender. People will do things like pay the previous months bill instead of this months, pay their call charges but not their service charges, leave off a charge they disagree with, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc. You need to be able to access pretty much everyone's info in order to track down what the payment is and where it came from. Asking the person doing that to get authorisation every time he needs to look at a new piece of information is plain silly (and how does it help, since his line manager must have unfettered access?).

Re:Why there are draconian rules at work. (1)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 5 years ago | (#25846101)

Funny thing... The problem is often not draconian and overzealous IT, but alas, a small subset of users who abuse the system. Ninety percent of users may use the Internet at work responsibly, but there's that ten percent that will run a second business, browse porn, read slashdot (oh crap). For various reasons, a company may not be able to enforce rules on a subset of the userbase (for HR and technical reasons) so everyone must suffer.

What A Joke (0)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 5 years ago | (#25845005)

"Verizon says the people involved have all been put on leave with pay..."

Leave WITH pay? Are you joking? This is easily the most offensive "punishment" I've ever heard of. Leave WITH pay is called a VACATION! That's not punishment! I find garbage like this to be more offensive when it's applied to cops who abuse their position or the like but it's simply offensive that any PUNISHMENT would equate with a VACATION. Leave withOUT pay is a punishment.

Simply boggles my mind sometimes...

Re:What A Joke (4, Insightful)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 5 years ago | (#25845171)

Right, because they want to make sure not to punish any employees who were not acting unethically. Once they determine who did what, they'll probably fire the bad ones, and possibly take legal action against them..

There's an ongoing investigation (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25845189)

If there is sufficient evidence to connect the suspected employee, they will most likely be fired or worse. Denying the suspected parties their pay is inappropriate until more sufficient evidence is found. Having them show up at work would be inappropriate as well.

No, it's not an ideal situation. But what would you propose?

Sure it's like a vacation. A vacation where you might be fired or charged with a crime. Yeah, I'm jealous.

Re:There's an ongoing investigation (2, Insightful)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 5 years ago | (#25845901)

No, it's not an ideal situation. But what would you propose?

At least transfer them to some non-critical area where they can do some productive work. I think they ought to make them wander around in the boondocks checking how many bars they have and testing if people can still hear them on test calls. For some reason, it seems Verizon needs to deploy teams comprised of hundreds of people to handle this task, so I'm sure that they always need more help in that department.

Re:What A Joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25845193)

Employees with jobs deserve due process like anyone else. Otherwise the company opens itself to wrong

Re:What A Joke (1)

Angelyne (883317) | more than 5 years ago | (#25845241)

They also must be seen to have acted in some manner. Simply sitting on your hands while 'investigating' the situation would not have seen enough. But then suspending people without pay without sufficient reasons would have opened them up to a lawsuit. So this was their best compromise.

Re:What A Joke (2, Insightful)

ShedPlant (1041034) | more than 5 years ago | (#25845261)

The parent comment does not deserve mod points. Individuals have been accused, are under investigation and innocent until proven otherwise.

Re:What A Joke (3, Informative)

nbvb (32836) | more than 5 years ago | (#25845729)

Thank you.

For all the crud that comes around here about how Verizon Wireless is an evil company, I can tell you, they are a very fair and honest company. They truly believe in doing what's right - both by customers, and by employees.

Obviously, things like call records and such need to be kept for some amount of time, both for troubleshooting as well as legal issues (court orders, etc.) That's a pretty serious responsibility. That's why you have audits logs every time that data gets accessed.

The system works, apparently. The folks who got suspended with pay all had their hands in the cookie jar. From what it sounds like, they're going to be sorting out who was there for legit purposes (i.e. a technical issue, billing question, etc.) and who was doing something they shouldn't have been.

I think suspending with pay is quite fair. If you were in those records, doing legitimate work, that will come to light, and you'll have suffered no loss. If you did something you shouldn't have done, well, that'll come out too and when that's determined, due process will catch up to you.

Good call on their part, and frankly, I can't think of any better way to handle it. It's good to see that the right processes are in place such that employees can do their job when they need to, but it gets flagged when someone is doing something shady.

Re:What A Joke (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#25845601)

Damn right! Once people have been suspected they should immediately be punished! They certainly shouldn't be temporarily moved to a position where they couldn't commit further crimes while an investigation proceeds.

In related news, I suspect that whisper_jeff is a child molester.

Re:What A Joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25845671)

It's not a punishment, it's standard procedure during an investigation. When the investigation is concluded then the people who broke the law will be terminated and could face charges.

There are bound to be a lot of accesses on an important customer like Obama, some legitimately and some illegitimately. Since they don't know which is which yet, the standard policy is for everybody whose name appeared on Obama's records to be put on leave with pay, until the investigation finishes.

This is because it would be bad to continue to give company access to people who have broken the laws (and are about to be fired), but it would also be unfair to punish anybody who had a legitimate reason to access the records (by withholding their pay). It's better to err on the side caution until it's all sorted out.

Re:What A Joke (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 5 years ago | (#25846029)

Not to overload you with the level of idiocy these types of places can bring through fear of union action but you'll probably appreciate the story I'm about to tell you or simply lose the will to live once you find out how bad some people actually are at managing.

I used to work in local government over here in the UK. We had one guy who simply didn't turn up to work for 6months claiming he was ill yet never managing to provide a doctors note for anything other than the first month of sickness abscence. Sickness benefits are rather good in UK public sector in that you get up to 6 months sick leave on full pay followed by upto 6months on half pay and nothing after that.

Still, management in the UK public sector hates to let you down with the levels of idiocy it can reach to and one might think simply letting him get away with it for 6 months was bad enough. But no, that level of incompetence just wasn't quite enough for them, they had to go an impressive step further, at the end of his 6 months on full pay they decided to launch and investigation into his sickness abscence and in doing so suspend him on full pay for the length of the investigation. Unfortunately management weren't quite content that they'd yet reached a level of incompetence whereby you just have to laugh it off because there is no explanation for it and so just to top it all off they managed to make the investigation last a year.

So yeah, this guy basically got paid his full wage (£35k a year, or around $70,000 US at the time) for 18 whole months without doing even a minute of work.

In a way I'm not sure whether to look up to this guy because that's a pretty impressive feat to be fair on him or whether to simply cry at the level of hopelessness public sector management runs at.

Oh and did I mention at the end of the investigation rather than sacking him they managed to convince him to resign so he could go find some other schmuck that didn't check sickness abscence records and where he wouldn't have to explain that he was sacked from his previous role? Did I also mention that during his period of "sickness" he was seen shopping with family on numerous occasions and bumped into whilst he was enjoying a holiday in Spain by a colleague?

By the end of my time in local government there was only one word in which I could think to describe the UK public sector and that word is "special".

Re:What A Joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25846155)

i've seen some dimwitted posts but this one takes the cake. thanks buddy.

btw: when is slashdot getting and ignore flag so i can stop be bothered by people of this ilk?

Constantly have these issues in health care (4, Insightful)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | more than 5 years ago | (#25845099)

Every time a celebrity lands themselves in an ER (especially hospitals not accustomed VIPs) then we can expect several violations of HIPAA by unauthorized hospital staff.

They just cannot resist no matter how many times they are warned about activity being logged and threats of dismissal upon violation.

Celebrities in hospitals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25845693)

They just cannot resist no matter how many times they are warned about activity being logged and threats of dismissal upon violation.

I've seen the same thing in hospitals I've worked in. It's amazing how unethical and/or weird people act around celebrities especially when they aren't used to seeing them. It's never been clear to me why an actor would be especially interesting to anyone off screen but people just lose their minds. It's bizarre.

In my experience hospitals can reduce (but not eliminate) the HIPAA violations by ensuring that the threats of dismissal for unauthorized record access are actually carried out. It has to be a credible threat. The last hospital I worked at actually did fire people for unauthorized record access. Unfortunately so many people usually have at least semi-legitimate access to the chart that it isn't always clear when violations have occurred and someone has to police it which usually is expensive. Generally only the most egregious violations get caught.

Re:Constantly have these issues in health care (2, Funny)

e-scetic (1003976) | more than 5 years ago | (#25845835)

Hollywood is the US national religion, more popular even than Christianity. The mere sight of a film star drives the masses to ecstasy, people want to touch them...

Some religions would hold that at least one commandment is being violated - something about false gods or idols or something

What's the problem (1)

strikeleader (937501) | more than 5 years ago | (#25845287)

Shouldn't this be public record anyway?

What's good for the Govt. is good for the people (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25845343)

Since Obama voted for FISA it's only fair that the people have access to those records too. :)

Collect? (-1, Troll)

alta (1263) | more than 5 years ago | (#25845355)

Why is he calling collect to Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Just a happy birthday greeting?

Why would they have access to email? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25845483)

Why would Verizon employees have access to my email? Do the monitor and capture private emails sent through their service?

Confiscate his Blackberry (1)

Tarmus (1410207) | more than 5 years ago | (#25845497)

I thought they were supposed to take away his Blackberry, for national security purposes, since he can't use email as President.

Re:Confiscate his Blackberry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25846109)

RTFA. It was not a blackberry, and he was not President.

Who Cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25845695)

He should have used a carrier other than Verizon. Shame on him for using Verizon. If he gets hacked, who cares? Should have used an official phone for official conversations. /cynicism off

How about Joe the Plumber? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25845707)

I don't see any ranting and raving the press about the various government agencies that started checking up on Joe the Plumber after his 15 seconds of fame. I guess it's not interesting if Big Brother snoops on ordinary folks.

Whats the big Deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25845737)

I worked for T-Mobile as a CSR, it was not uncommon for us to snoop and look at customer records, In Samson you can even search by name, and find all sorts of stuff (much of it useless, a search returning too much info was common), reminds me of an account for Motorola I saw that was past due over 500k. (Motorola wasn't the only one to have accounts like this, many large corporate accounts were much the same)

Its not like we were sharing it among ourselves, or with anyone else, we would just take a peek now and again..

"Warrantless Wiretapping" (1)

WheelDweller (108946) | more than 5 years ago | (#25845825)

You putzes. What *will* you do when Bush has left the WhiteHouse? Who will you blame everything on?

This is SUCH a bigger story than your lead-in suggests: remember that BOTH candidates were hacked just before the election. It's more likely this is Chinese spying than the current administration looking for terrorists. Don't you KNOW what a ruckus it would cause to be caught at this? Do you think they'd take that chance? And what would the payoff be?

No, this is a force outside the USA, or elements of a foreign group inside. Stay Tuned; we'll know if this information was useful, but it might be revealed 20 years from now on Pravda or such.

"Warrantless Wiretapping", my ass.

Telecommunications Privacy (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25846103)

I have a friend who works for Verizon Wireless and he read me the e-mail that was sent out to Verizon Wireless employees. I am not sure whether the e-mail I was read was released to the public as well but the wording in the article is practically identical. Some of the points made in the e-mail that was read to me were...

That protecting customer data was not just the law but also company policy and in the best interest of gaining and maintaining customer confidence."

Over the past several years we have all read here on slashdot how our private data whether it be medical or financial or relating to whom we communicate with has been released out into the wilds of the internet for public consumption. Either accidentally such as the case of a stolen laptop or given to law enforcement agencies who failed to comply with 4th amendment protections by filing for a warrant or subpoena. Didn't Congress just unanimously vote to grant retroactive immunity from prosecution for their complicity in these violations of the constitution?

The e-mail with which I am familiar states that the account was in fact inactive and was not a smart phone such but rather a flip phone. While it may be the law that they cannot release customer data maliciously I don't know of a law or at least one that has been or will be enforced that would criminalize the actions of the employees who decided to take a "peek" at who our president elect had been calling. In fact the e-mail stated that the employees with legitimate reasons for accessing the information will return to work and those who accessed the data without legitimate reasons will be fired. Not arrested and prosecuted but fired.

This hole seems to just get deeper and deeper with respect to the many ways people find to circumvent privacy and how for the people involved in violating the legal protections or corporate regulations in place to protect that data there seems to be no punishment or consequence. Fast forward a few months and the people who are fired for this are looking for work and give Verizon as a reference. Too bad Verizon cannot say whether they were fired and if so for what but only verify length of employment. These people just move on and do the same thing somewhere else.

Joe? (5, Insightful)

kenp2002 (545495) | more than 5 years ago | (#25846281)

Lets see if they get the same slap on the wrist that government employees got for accessing Joe the Plumber's tax records, DMV records, medical records, and other supposedly private information.

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