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Verizon Employees Fired For Snooping Obama's Record

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the now-wait-a-minute dept.

Privacy 344

longhairedgnome writes "The curiosity in President-elect Barack Obama's phone records came with a high price tag for Verizon Wireless employees. According to CNN, the workers who snooped on Obama's phone records have been fired. 'This was some employees' idle curiosity,' a company source told CNN and added 'we now consider this matter closed.' Justice served? What about legal possibilities?" Can we expect anyone who followed a warrantless wiretap from the Bush administration to also be fired then? I mean, they violated our privacy as well.

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No. (5, Funny)

Penguinoflight (517245) | more than 5 years ago | (#25874415)

It's becoming increasingly clear that only celebrities and criminals have the right to privacy.

Re:No. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25874443)

I think you mean politicans and criminals.

Re:No. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25874489)

I think you mean politicans and criminals.

Same thing.

Cluster B personality disorders (2, Informative)

MindKata (957167) | more than 4 years ago | (#25875001)

"Same thing".

Not exactly the same, but are high probability (not all, but many) of being a form of cluster B personality disorder.

celebrities, politicans and criminals ... i.e. all cluster B personality disorders.

celebrities - Predominately HPD
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Histrionic_personality_disorder [wikipedia.org] Histrionic personality disorder (HPD) is a personality disorder characterized by a pattern of excessive emotionality and attention-seeking, including an excessive need for approval and inappropriate seductiveness, usually beginning in early adulthood.

politicans - Predominately NPD
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_personality_disorder [wikipedia.org] (NPD) is a personality disorder defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the diagnostic classification system used in the United States, as "a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and a lack of empathy."

criminals - NPD and ASPD (which is effectively extreme NPD).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspd [wikipedia.org] The essential feature for the diagnosis is a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others that begins in childhood or early adolescence and continues into adulthood.
Whats also interesting is you can have combinations of these, so a HPD who is also NPD etc. (For example, an ASPD who is also a HPD is very bad news, as they seek to demonstrate (i.e. seek attention) to show they have power over others around them).

Re:No. (0, Troll)

Penguinoflight (517245) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874495)

I would consider "polititians and criminals" redundant.

Re:No. (1, Insightful)

ktappe (747125) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874917)

I know you were trying to be funny....kinda. But that doesn't mean you should be marked "insightful". I'd mod you "Troll" if I had points right now. I think it's clear that Obama is doing the best he can to not be a criminal, excluding lobbyists from his administration for example. Maybe give the guy a chance before you call him an outlaw? Jeez....

Re:No. (5, Insightful)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 4 years ago | (#25875003)

I think it's clear that Obama is doing the best he can to not be a criminal, excluding lobbyists from his administration for example. Maybe give the guy a chance before you call him an outlaw? Jeez....

Are you kidding? We berate ALL politicians here - why does Obama get a pass?

Oh, I forgot - he's for Change. And apparently was born without original sin...

Re:No. (4, Funny)

FredFredrickson (1177871) | more than 4 years ago | (#25875115)

He poked a badger with a spoon...

Does that count?

Re:No. (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 4 years ago | (#25875211)

I care more about unoriginal sin. Original sin is not committed while holding the presidency.

Re:No. (1)

LSD-OBS (183415) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874499)

There's a hella grey area covering the three. I'm not sure I could tell them apart these days.

Re:No. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25874523)

I think you mean politicans and criminals.

Now you're being redundant.

Re:No. (0, Redundant)

Xtravar (725372) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874577)

No, he meant criminals and criminals.

Re:No. (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874799)

No, he meant criminals and criminals.

I think you meant "celebrities and criminals" here, but nonetheless your freudian slip further proves the point.

Re:No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25875173)

Really ridiculous discussion? Do you wear a diaper by any chance?

Re:No. (1)

stinerman (812158) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874955)

Point taken on the erosion of privacy, but celebrities hardly have any privacy. Many celebrities are tailed 24/7 by the paparazzi.

Imagine every time you left your house, you had people following you around, asking you questions about what some tabloid rag said about you, and taking enough pictures of you to leave you blind.

Yes, there is no expectation of privacy when in public, but we also don't expect to be accosted by a bunch of sleazeball photographers every time we head out to the market for a gallon of milk.

Re:No. (1)

MindKata (957167) | more than 4 years ago | (#25875185)

"but celebrities hardly have any privacy"
That's the way many celebrities like it. Many of them want attention. Its typical HPD behaviour. (Just compare for example, the behaviour of Amy Winehouse, Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. They each show (HPD) Histrionic personality disorder behaviour, i.e.)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Histrionic_personality_disorder [wikipedia.org]

"erosion of privacy"
Its disterbing this company has such useless protection on data, that employees can just lookup the details like this on anyone. These companies seem to treat everyones privacy with complete contempt. They are all far more interested in profit, than privacy and privacy is something they are all too often selling, for their own profit.

Re:No. (3, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874957)

I think you fail to understand the difference. The Imunity wasn't a free pass to say this was a good action. It was saying the government cohorsed you into doing this illegal action, as the government put pressure to do an illegal deed (AKA. Intrapment) they shouldn't need to suffer the legal reprocussions from it.

However if they did it themselfs then it is a different issue.
It is like a uniformed poice man directed traffic to go the wrong way on a one way streen then arrested you for going the wrong way on the street. However if you choose to go the wrong way the next day you are in the wrong.

Re:No. (-1, Troll)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 4 years ago | (#25875073)

Oh eat a dick. You stupid hyperventilating slashdot fucks need to fucking relax and back off of the hyperbole.

Justice Served (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25874421)

Can we expect anyone who followed a warrantless wiretap from the Bush administration to also be fired then? I mean, they violated our privacy as well.

No, you can expect President Bush to be fired for ordering the wiretap.

Re:Justice Served (3, Insightful)

mfh (56) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874505)

No, you can expect President Bush to be fired for ordering the wiretap.

No, you can expect President Bush to be fired because his term is over and it's time for him to GTFO. The Republicans were fired by the American people, although most of them hold key positions near Obama (keep your friends close, and your enemies closer).

Re:Justice Served (5, Funny)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874805)

(keep your friends close, and your enemies closer).

What if your enemies have FUCKING SWORDS?

Re:Justice Served (1)

Skye16 (685048) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874859)

Keep them so close they can't wield them effectively?

You're screwed if they a: have knives or b: can do the one inch punch ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kx9iPFMriz0 [youtube.com] ).

Re:Justice Served (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25875137)

That sounds painful as all get out. I mean, even if you put a condom on it - a fucking sword sounds like some kind of torture. Is that what they do at Gitmo? Use fucking swords? Damn. That's just gotta hurt.

Re:Justice Served (5, Insightful)

AmericanGladiator (848223) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874949)

No, you can expect President Bush to be fired for ordering the wiretap.

No, you can expect President Bush to be fired because his term is over and it's time for him to GTFO. The Republicans were fired by the American people, although most of them hold key positions near Obama (keep your friends close, and your enemies closer).

I would expect you to complain about Obama now, too. He voted in favor of extending the warrantless wiretapping legislation when in the Senate. I would expect him to continue the status quo. If you don't rail against him I would infer you care less about privacy and more about your favorite politician.

Re:Justice Served (4, Insightful)

rhsanborn (773855) | more than 4 years ago | (#25875013)

The Republicans were fired by the American people, although most of them hold key positions near Obama (keep your friends close, and your enemies closer).

Or maybe he's keeping qualified people with diverse opinions close so that he doesn't pigeon-hole himself with people who tell him things he already knows. Several of the background stories on him covered his period at the Harvard Law Review where he upset many people because his election to that post didn't give all the open positions to people of the same political affiliation. He's doing the same here.

Re:Justice Served (1)

GMonkeyLouie (1372035) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874581)

I don't know, there may be legal ramifications for Bush and his advisers past Obama's Inauguration, considering that when the FISA Telecom Immunity bill was passed, all the liberty activists took the legal resources they were devoting to suing the pants off the telecommunications giants and focused their efforts on suing the pants off the Executive instead.

That'd show him! Or not. (1)

Channard (693317) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874595)

The thing is, even if we were living in some parallel universe where Bush wasn't about to leave office, and this kind of thing could happen, it wouldn't be that great a loss for him. In the UK, at lot of politicians who leave their office for whatever reason end up either working on the board of some big company, or making loads of money on the speaking circuit.

Re:That'd show him! Or not. (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 4 years ago | (#25875109)

I don't see him standing a chance in the speaking circuit, so he' better stick to the corporate board thing.

Re:Justice Served (5, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874787)

No, you can expect President Bush to be fired for ordering the wiretap.

Unfortunately, we can't expect people like Nancy Pelosi - who has always been fully briefed on such things - to be fired for being such a hypocrite about it.

Privacy (5, Interesting)

mfh (56) | more than 5 years ago | (#25874437)

The article says that the employees did not access the "contents of the calls"... wait does that mean that Verizon has stored electronic recordings, or transcripts?!?! of all of Obama's calls?!?!

Or does this mean that Verizon does not store that information? And who here believes them?

Re:Privacy (4, Informative)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874567)

More likely it means that the Verizon rep was trying to be exceedingly clear about what was and wasn't accessed, and in the process mucked up the waters somewhat.

As for your other questions, I do not believe that they store records of what was said unless they are ordered to by the government. The hardware and software necissary to do so would be expensive and would provide no business advantage to them, unless you think they go around blackmailing people or something. I'm not saying they haven't been so ordered, only that it would be a net loss for them to do it otherwise.

Re:Privacy (3, Informative)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874655)

My understanding is that the phone companies (or the government, on their behalf) now store all phone calls for a short period of time. Then, if there is reason to tap the phone call they can go back to the recording. It allows them to tap phone calls after they happen, so long as they decide to do so within the window of opportunity before the recording is recycled.

Re:Privacy (3, Informative)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874895)

Your understanding is not correct. The infrastructure necessary to do so would be very, very expensive. Implementing something along these lines would also require an awful lot of people to be "in on it", thousands or more. These two considerations count for more than my third point, which is that it isn't legal.

Some companies might have a policy like this. For example, many call centers record all calls (and notify you that they do). But the entire US telephone infrastructure? Please put your tin foil hat on the table and back away slowly.

Re:Privacy (4, Informative)

JohnSearle (923936) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874737)

As a former rep for Sprint, I can say that Sprint reps don't have access to voice recording of anyone's calls. And the only people who could possibly have access is a special department that deals with police issues.

What we did have access to, and what these people probably access, was just a regular calling list (numbers who called the phone, and numbers called from the phone).

And from what I was told while working there, the company didn't record any calls unless specifically ordered to by authorities.

- John

Re:Privacy (3, Insightful)

Zakabog (603757) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874745)

The article says that the employees did not access the "contents of the calls"... wait does that mean that Verizon has stored electronic recordings, or transcripts?!?! of all of Obama's calls?!?!

No, it means that the employees only looked at who called the phone, and who was called from the phone. Basically all of the information listed on Obama's phone bill.

Or does this mean that Verizon does not store that information? And who here believes them?

I don't think anyone here honestly believes that Verizon would store every phone conversation made over their network. It would cost way too much money, and it would be a complete waste of resources.

Wiretapping vs. Records Snooping (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874819)

From a legal perspective, wiretapping to listen to the audio of a call is more more serious than looking at the records. On the other hand, it's also a lot easier to access the records, if you've got permission; wiretaps are something that have to be explicitly set up. (CALEA makes it easier to do the wiretap, but very few employees would have access to that kind of thing, as opposed to the FBI accessing it.)

So... (1)

Corpuscavernosa (996139) | more than 5 years ago | (#25874445)

... what ever happened to the information they snooped? If I remember correctly it was just call records and no text message content or anything of the sorts.

Was encouraged to do this in credit card industry (5, Interesting)

shawnmchorse (442605) | more than 5 years ago | (#25874449)

I used to work doing telephone customer service for First USA Bank. In our training class, they actually encouraged us to look up the accounts of random celebrities. My whole class would come up with names and type them in to see if they had an account with us. We'd also frequently show each other particularly bad credit reports that came up on applications.

Re:Was encouraged to do this in credit card indust (3, Funny)

detox.method() (1413497) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874513)

So, you're asserting big companies encourage bad business tactics? That's horrible!

Re:Was encouraged to do this in credit card indust (1)

ebuck (585470) | more than 4 years ago | (#25875091)

Big companies are not that much smarter than small companies in this respect, because the goal is to keep your class's attention.

Actually getting a training class involved in not zoning out and absorbing 0% of the material is not very difficult, but it is not easy either. Too many years of high school conditioning, I guess. If you have ever had to train a group on a less than facinating subject, it is obvious that at least 30% of the class will never pay attention. That's why teachers have to sell the education at the same time they present the material.

Some do it by indicating there is a test at the end of the class that you must pass. Eventually pressures in the corporation will force higher expectations on the instructor to make their entire class pass the first time. That leads to "this will be on the test" warning announcements, or even putting up the answers while the test is being administered. (There's no budget for re-training the flunkies).

The author of this lesson plan took something boring and made it exciting. Looking up someone's call history to resolve a disputed long distance call == boring. Looking up Anthony Hopkin's call history == exciting!

It doesn't make it right, but why is it less wrong for Joe Nobody than Mr. Celebrity? Eventually people will have to use the live data, so eventually you'll have these issues. At least some monitoring was in place to catch this guy.

Re:Was encouraged to do this in credit card indust (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25874683)

I used to work doing telephone customer service for First USA Bank. In our training class, they actually encouraged us to look up the accounts of random celebrities. My whole class would come up with names and type them in to see if they had an account with us. We'd also frequently show each other particularly bad credit reports that came up on applications.

It doesn't count with banks. As we have seen in the last couple of months, banks are above the law, above the markets, above economics, and everyone kisses their asses. Whatever the banks and Credit card companies want, they get - they own Congress. There will be no changes in 2009. The Dems are just as corrupt as the Reps - all that goddamn lobbyist money.

You know, someone here on Slashdot once said that we're slaves to the banks ans was modded "Funny". I think now that he was serious and correct.

I love First USA (4, Informative)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874873)

I used to work doing telephone customer service for First USA Bank. In our training class, they actually encouraged us to look up the accounts of random celebrities. My whole class would come up with names and type them in to see if they had an account with us. We'd also frequently show each other particularly bad credit reports that came up on applications.

That's interesting. I believe that's the same bank that opened a credit card account for me without my knowledge, and sent me a collections notice for the annual fee plus late fees 6 months later, totaling hundreds of dollars. I'd never received an offer from them, let alone a card, nor would I accepted the thing had they done so. Oddly enough, making it go away only took about an hour on the phone, which leads me to believe it wasn't the first time they'd done this. Worse, the same thing happened the next year, making the "accident" angle a little tough to believe. I'm guessing those clowns lean on employees to basically make up accounts and forge signatures. Really cute. I regret not contacting the attorney general, because that stuff is outrageously illegal.

So basically, what you were seeing looks to have been the least illegal thing happening there. ;)

Re:Was encouraged to do this in credit card indust (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25874899)

Interesting. You, your trainer, and the rest of the members of the training class should have been fired for violating the published company policy.

presidential pardon (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25874457)

I expect to see executive NDA-pardon's (i.e. don't tell, don't serve time) flying out the door in Bush's last few days, to the tune of "everyone involved" in his shenanigans.

Re:presidential pardon (4, Informative)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874695)

I hate to say it, but every president does it [wikipedia.org] .

Re:presidential pardon (1)

cencithomas (721581) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874969)

I hate to say it, but every president does it.

Whoa! We've only had 17 presidents?...

Why politicize this? (3, Insightful)

Bonewalker (631203) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874481)

Can we expect anyone who followed a warrantless wiretap from the Bush administration to also be fired then? I mean, they violated our privacy as well.

Do we really need this politicized to have a discussion about the topic at hand? Which is thoughtless employees snooping around where they have access but apparently no ethics or morals. Something not even close to the situation with warrentless wiretapping, and in no way related? Do we really need this, Taco?

Re:Why politicize this? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25874571)

Don't be an ass. It wasn't some random individual. Maybe you haven't heard bet he lately run for the president of the fucking united states d00d.....

Re:Why politicize this? (1)

Bonewalker (631203) | more than 4 years ago | (#25875129)

If it was so damn important or relevant, Mr. AC, why wasn't it mentioned in the original article? Or in the original article description?

No, it took the leftist liberal Taco to get a swipe in. He had to take what is a perfectly interesting topic for debate (employee ethics), and turn it into a political swipe at Bush. Unforgivable, and completely ridiculous.

Do we really need this? Well... (-1, Offtopic)

GMonkeyLouie (1372035) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874613)

I think the question is, do we really need a constitutional amendment defining marriage as "not gay marriage"?

Re:Do we really need this? Well... (0, Troll)

santiagoanders (1357681) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874851)

I think the question is, do we really need a constitutional amendment defining marriage as "not gay marriage"?

No, this should simply be self-evident.

National security and terrorists (2, Insightful)

the_arrow (171557) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874491)

Can we expect anyone who followed a warrantless wiretap from the Bush administration to also be fired then? I mean, they violated our privacy as well.

No, because that was a case of national security to find terrorists.

Re:National security and terrorists (5, Insightful)

Xtravar (725372) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874649)

If you ask John McCain, he'll tell you that Obama pals around with terrorists. Perhaps this was a case of national security!

Re:National security and terrorists (0, Troll)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#25875075)

If you ask John McCain, he'll tell you that Obama pals around with terrorists.

Well, McCain pals around with Errorists - Bush & Cheney.
     

Re:National security and terrorists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25874739)

Because listening to a second lieutenant in Baghdad having phone sex with his wife back in North Carolina is vitally important to our national quest to destroy the terrorists ...

Not likely illegal (4, Insightful)

travisd (35242) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874503)

Why would it be illegal? Disclosure, yes. But these were VZW employees who were given the ability to look at records as part of their job. VZW's policy though is that they only look at records that they have a reason to - for customer service, billing, etc.

Unless they turned these over to an outside party (media, government, etc) then there's probably nothing illegal happening. Completely different from the wiretaps.

It's amazing though that the employees are still dumb enough to not realize that their actions, even if they don't change anything, can be tracked.

Re:Not likely illegal (2, Interesting)

DM9290 (797337) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874771)

But these were VZW employees who were given the ability to look at records as part of their job.

the ability to do something does not equal authorization to do it. By your logic cops aren't breaking the law if they start shooting people randomly on the street, and surgeons are free to do anything they want to you once they get you under the knife.

Re:Not likely illegal (1)

ottawanker (597020) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874933)

By your logic, Billy is breaking the law by stealing a cookie out of the cookie jar.

Re:Not likely illegal (2, Insightful)

aztektum (170569) | more than 4 years ago | (#25875067)

You should have finished reading the entirety of his comment. He went on to say that VZW's policy is that they only do so as required to for their job. They upheld their policy by punishing these employees as severely as they could (by firing them).

and that's the problem...... (2, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874973)

But these were VZW employees who were given the ability to look at records as part of their job.

Maybe they shouldn't have that ability? If I was Verizon I would design the system such that the Level 1 CSRs don't see any details about the account until they enter some verification info provided by the customer. They always ask you for your account password or SSN to verify who you are when you call -- so why not design the system such that they don't see anything either until that information is entered?

I can't think of a ligitmate reason that a typical call center person would have for needing to access my account unless I'm on the phone with him. If I'm on the phone I can provide the information needed to unlock the account. If I lose or forget that information then I have to go to a store and show ID to verify whom I am -- this is how it currently works if you forget your account password so it wouldn't be a new policy.

Those with a business need to access accounts of customers they aren't talking to can be provided with that access. Presumably they have been with the company longer and the company has more reasons to trust them.

Re:Not likely illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25875163)

They likely signed a employment contract, and obviously violated company policy.
Breaking a contract to willfully do harm to the company would be illegal. If it is shown they know how much harm this could do to the company's reputation, and still took the action intentionally, this could even raise to the level of a felony.
Of course the company is the bigger target, they had to take this action or a repeat of this would open them up to lawsuits.

Profit?? (2, Funny)

gammygator (820041) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874519)

1. Get hired at Verizon.
2. Snoop president to be's call records.
3. ???
4. You're a bad toad. Fired! No profit for YOU!!!

Re:Profit?? (1)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874671)

3 is get caught by the media in this case.

How many? (5, Insightful)

evanbd (210358) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874549)

Apparently it's pretty easy to snoop on a random person's phone records over there. How many employees have snooped on someone less noteworthy -- a friend, a possibly cheating spouse, etc.? Are there policies in place to catch more mundane privacy invasions and fire those people as well, or does it only matter if the person in question is politically relevant?

Re:How many? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25874715)

Good question. However, just because we don't hear about people getting fired for snooping on less important targets doesn't mean they aren't caught. I mean, this Obama thing is a big story because they got fired for snooping on Obama. If someone did get fired for snooping on their ex, would we even hear about? What would the headline be, "Joe Blow fired from Verizon"?

Re:How many? (4, Interesting)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874813)

Snooping is easy, getting away with it is not. A friend of a friend was a telecom employee snooping on records and got fired (girlfriend looking up her ex-boyfriend's phone log and possibly text messages).

I don't know how it works, but queries like that into the customer records throw up flags that management can see. Apparently, they're not doing a good enough job instructing employees that these safeguards exist since it happens so often.

Re:How many? (1)

Stewie241 (1035724) | more than 4 years ago | (#25875225)

I would rather the employees weren't instructed. If they don't know about it, they won't try and circumvent it. This way, they can perhaps weed out dishonest employees (now whether they do or not, who knows).

A private affair (4, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874569)

The employees were fired for violating company policy (ie, without management approval). As company policy is to assist police in warrantless wiretaps, employees who helped with those would not be fired. This kind of thing happens in hospitals, debt collection businesses, and government all the time. It is not really newsworthy unless a pattern of abuse can be demonstrated.

Ironic... (4, Insightful)

nebaz (453974) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874585)

I have generally been an Obama supporter, but was very disappointed that he voted for telecom immunity in the FISA bill last year. Apparently it is ok for corporations as a whole
to snoop on your calls, but not for individual employees to snoop on his. (Note: I am not condoning the action of the employee, it just seems interesting at what level justice applies).

Re:Ironic... (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#25875011)

Apparently it is ok for corporations as a whole to snoop on your calls

No, it's ok for the Government to snoop on your calls to people who are overseas. Mind you, I don't think thats any better, but we should at least be aware of what the FISA bill actually does when we are discussing it......

wiretaps (-1, Troll)

Bindox (1414685) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874599)

So you are comparing wiretaps that endeavor to catch terrorists is the same as snooping Obamas phone records. LOL. You said it, but I wonder if you know what you said.

Don't Worry! (2, Funny)

madcat2c (1292296) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874603)

They are from the Government, and they are here to help us!

A reasonable question.... (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874607)

...to which the answer would be no. Refer to the "One rule for us, one rule for them" rule.

if you wiretap bush (-1, Flamebait)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874611)

its fair play, to reveal his hypocrisy

if you wiretap someone who respects your privacy, as a matter of public policy, no, you're the asshole, you deserve to be fired

it's a matter of who abridges whose rights first

if you break someone's rights, your rights are broken in return, as a matter of justice, fair play, and to make an example of you

its not possible, on a number of levels and for a number of reasons, both philosophicla and practical, to respect the rights of someone who does not respect your rights in return

freedom and basic rights are a natural right in sofar as your responsibility to respect the freedom and rights of others are respected in return

there is no freedom you have in this world that does not also carry with it a responsibility. if you don't live up to that complementary responsibility, consider it open season on your freedoms. and its your fault

Re:if you wiretap bush (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874867)

its fair play, to reveal his hypocrisy

if you wiretap someone who respects your privacy, as a matter of public policy, no, you're the asshole, you deserve to be fired

In all fairness, Obama's not that person (the one who respects your privacy.) He voted in favor of the FISA bill w/ Telco immunity last year.

Some free clue.... (0, Troll)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874619)

> Can we expect anyone who followed a warrantless wiretap from the Bush administration to also be fired then?

There is a bit of a difference between doing something as a law enforcement action approved from the top vs. some asshole poking around for fun.

Consider also that had the same idiot poked around in a Republican's records this story probably wouldn't have even hit the wires. Hell, the turned that plumber's official records upside down looking to discredit him for daring to question the Messiah and there has been one suspesion (30 days) so far. And he isn't even a public official.

And no Cmdr Taco, the 'warrantless wiretaps' didn't "I mean, they violated our privacy as well." Those were taps on calls with a probable terrorist on one end and at least one end[1] outside the US. So unless YOU were dialing people you probably shouldn't have been your privacy was not violated. We have ALWAYS allowed our intelligence agencies to wiretap and snoop postal mail during wartime, which is what were were in then and still are for that matter.

[1] Some of the calls just passed through US control and both endpoints were in foreign countries.

Firing is insufficient. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25874623)

The people who did this at verizon should not only be fired, they should be facing prosecution. If they had been law enforcement officers, then snooping without a warrant should carry greater penalties: "conspiracy to deprive of a constitutional right under color of authority" is a felony. While we're at it, I'd hand out the same penalty to anyone who violated "joe the plumber's" privacy rights.

They got a slap on the wrist (3, Insightful)

Quila (201335) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874931)

They only were the government violating the public trust by abusing their ability to access confidential records on private individuals for partisan political reasons. They keep their jobs.

These guys were just with a company that anyone can decide to stop using. They get fired.

So we can take one or both of two things from this based on the case differences:
- Companies are better at ridding themselves of bad people.
- The government workers were Democrats working in a Democrat-run state, trying to help the Democrat presidential candidate, so they get a pass.

Goose/gander. (1, Insightful)

UseTheSource (66510) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874629)

Can we expect that justice will be served, and the Ohio government employees who violated Joe the Plumber's privacy be fired, as well?

Re:Goose/gander. (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874675)

If anything they looked up and fed to the media wasn't a public record, then Joe should be consulting an attorney.

-jcr

Only a week late (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25874645)

Slashdot is only a week late in reporting this one

Well, Obama voted for FISA. (5, Interesting)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874659)

Obama voted for FISA after saying he wouldn't. He and his cronies really don't have any room to complain. Why should Obama be able to snoop on "the people" when "the people" cannot snoop on him? Obama is potentially (being president at all) the most dangerous man in the nation as he is Commander-In Chief and probably the most powerful man in the world.

I'm not saying there shouldn't be any military secrets or stuff, of course, but the irony is just rather amusing.

Re:Well, Obama voted for FISA. (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874945)

Because there's a huge difference between authorized government agents looking for criminal activities and regular employees looking through clients' records as mere entertainment.

Re:Well, Obama voted for FISA. (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#25875047)

Exactly he should have posted the records.

Re:Well, Obama voted for FISA. (2, Interesting)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874947)

Obama voted for FISA after saying he wouldn't. He and his cronies really don't have any room to complain.

The real problem is the granularity of many bills is too large. That is NOT Obie's fault. You have to vote Yes or No on a big blob of stuff. Line-item veto's don't exist. He stated he did not like the immunity portion of the bill, but felt the other parts outweighed that. Plus, the relationship between the immunity portion of the bill and employees misbehaving is slim to none. You are oversimplying a complex issue.
     

Re:Well, Obama voted for FISA. (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874981)

You are oversimplying a complex issue.

Freudian spelling slip ;-)
   

Stupidity and Criminal Charges? (2)

mfh (56) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874665)

the workers who snooped on Obama's phone records have been fired

I can't believe that someone would be so stupid as to use their own upass when digging up Obama's phone records. This is not only grounds for termination but I'm certain that if he wanted to Obama could seek criminal charges. Does anyone know if he's planning on going that route?

Obviously these people knew that they would get caught -- so who really did it? If I was their attourney I would be looking for indications of whether a Deny-deny-deny defense could be possible. Although it's likely these people admitted to this invasion of privacy, judging from the article.

Re:Stupidity and Criminal Charges? (2, Informative)

pauljlucas (529435) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874777)

Obama could seek criminal charges.

And those would be... what? Regardless, it's up to the local district attorney to seek criminal charges.

Does anyone know if he's planning on going that route?

Given that he's about to become the POTUS, I think he's got more important things to worry about. Plus, it would seem rather petty by presidential standards.

Least privilege (3, Informative)

kanwisch (202654) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874673)

This is a non-event. Any quality employer will have pretty specific policies about accessing business data on a need-to-know only basis.

Re:Least privilege (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25874915)

Bahahahahahhaha i've been a contractor with US government court systems for the last 10 years. If you are famous or have a particularly funny court case then your file is being passed all around the office.

Obama supporters will, however, not be fired. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25874709)

http://blog.cleveland.com/openers/2008/10/child_support_record_check_on.html [cleveland.com]

"COLUMBUS -- The state department head who ordered the child-support check on "Joe the Plumber" defended her decision in a letter Wednesday to a Republican lawmaker who had questioned it."

"Jones-Kelley explained that the department decided to check whether Wurzelbacher owed child support, unemployment back taxes or was getting public assistance after he became an overnight media celebrity in mid-October. "

"Jones-Kelley has contributed $2,500 to Obama's campaign, according to Federal Election Commission records. She has refused requests to be interviewed about her support of the Obama campaign."

Because EVERY time someone states on TV that they intend to purchase a business worth $250.000, they are ordered checked for whether they owe back taxes by the head of the State Department personally.

Yup, Joe the plumber snoopers still working (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25874757)

ya, this is going to be a fun silent next 4 years. Going to have to hold those views, keep them to yourself.

Or your out!

Comment Moderation (1, Redundant)

Khemisty (1246418) | more than 4 years ago | (#25874829)

"Can we expect anyone who followed a warrantless wiretap from the Bush administration to also be fired then? I mean, they violated our privacy as well.

I wish I could mod that comment up. If it'd been a normal comment, it would've gotten +5 Insightful in no time flat.

I work for Verizon (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25874883)

Importance of privacy of customer accounts has always been stressed. I heard it on every orientation, despite the fact that I don't have any interactions with customers or their records. In internal security reports I see people fired for looking up unlisted numbers or going through wife's phone logs. So those employees were warned many times. They had to know that all account accesses are logged with their usernames.

But Helen Jones-Kelley keeps her job? (1)

Lester67 (218549) | more than 4 years ago | (#25875025)

That doesn't seem fair.

as if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25875027)

yeah, because obama is the champion of personal freedoms. you people are going to get a wicked eye opening.

fired only? Lock 'em up! (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#25875029)

Why is this NOT a criminal act? Firing them is hardly a fit punishment. They will simply go and get another job.
     

Um. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#25875035)

"Can we expect anyone who followed a warrantless wiretap from the Bush administration to also be fired then? I mean, they violated our privacy as well."

Shut up.

Obama says no. (3, Insightful)

Punto (100573) | more than 4 years ago | (#25875087)

No, you can't "expect anyone who followed a warrantless wiretap from the Bush administration to also be fired" becase Obama voted for the law that gives them inmunity, remember?

Not where I work, and not me... (5, Interesting)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 4 years ago | (#25875093)

I'm at a major financial institution. technically, I have fairly broad access to records that could include payment and credit information, personal information, and even a great deal of info on the places people shop.

It would not only not occur to me to look up someone's records just because they are a celeb etc, but if I had a case involving a recognizable person or business, I would be very careful and keep my inquiries to a minimum. I would expect our security teams to be watching accesses to any number of accounts.

And I wouldn't be whining if in a moment of weakness I went too far. There are some things you just don't do. Someone is watching. Count in it.

I also know a few people who provide services or support to the sort of customer you would consider a person of note. We don't discuss anything of a sensitive nature, though I offer them congratulations when I recognize they did something exceptional for a customer that made our newsletter. If we are working on issues that disclose sensitive data, I just work the issue and keep my comments to myself. And I secure any data I work with temporarily, destroying it when I don't need it any more.

Seems incredibly stupid, on a par with the ID10Ts looking through Britney's medical records not so long ago. I hope these VZW ex-employees find work, but perhaps a stint at McDonalds will give them the proper perspective on privacy. An expensive lesson, and one earned from the sounds of it.

There is no excuse.

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