News Flash: Massive Data Leaks! Happening for Years!
By Ken Magill
Major companies with troves of personally identifiable information on just about every consumer in America have been giving the information away to anyone who wants it and even some who don’t, The Magill Report has learned.
And they’ve been trading people’s personal information for years.
These companies routinely give people’s personally identifiable information to known felons, pedophiles, sex offenders, gang members, drug dealers, extortionists, spammers, hackers and con artists.
“There are absolutely no security procedures in place at these firms,” said one privacy advocate. “In fact, not only do they not guard the information, they give it even to people who haven’t specifically asked for it.”
Even worse, these companies pass out people’s information on an opt-out basis—meaning people’s personally identifiable information is included in the transaction unless they ask to be excluded—and those who want to opt out must pay to have their request honored.
These companies—commonly referred to as telephone companies—give people’s information away in what are called telephone books.
“Telephone books are nothing short of privacy time bombs,” said privacy advocate Cletus E. Twaddle. “It’s not a matter of if they’ll go off, but when.”
Through these telephone books—databases in book form, if you will—anyone can learn the name, address and telephone number of anyone else.
Experts fear the information in telephone books could help con artists hone their scams.
“Think about it,” said Twaddle. “They have your number. They have your address. They can call you by name.”
Moreover, if someone who has been targeted through their telephone-book information has a LinkedIn, Twitter or other social-media account, thieves could use that information to learn even more about potential victims.
“They could find out where you work, what kind of job you have, your hobbies,” said Twaddle. “Telephone books are the Exxon Valdez of personally identifiable information. Trust me, as long as telephone books exist, privacy Krakatoa is just around the corner.”
As a result of the dangers telephone books pose to consumers, privacy advocates are calling for lawmakers to put an end to telephone companies giving people’s personally identifiable information away without their consent.
“The telephone companies’ sloppy information practices are abhorrent,” said Twaddle. “People’s names and addresses should be private unless they give express, written consent for them to be shared.”
Privacy advocates are also calling for background checks on the people who receive telephone books.
“Pedophiles shouldn’t have phone books. Gang members shouldn’t have phone books. Thieves shouldn’t have phone books,” said Twaddle. “These phone books are like loaded handguns lying around houses all across America.”
Attorneys are reportedly preparing a class action lawsuit on behalf of every single person in America.
“We need to send these companies a message,” said one lawyer. “Disregarding people’s safety all in the name of profit is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
Under a proposed settlement, consumers would receive $1.38 each and the lawyers involved would divvy up $384 million.
The telephone companies did not return The Magill Report’s calls for comment.