Saturday, February 11, 2006

Will lawyers stand behind the legal use of telephone data?

A second article has been published by pointing the finger at attorneys as the primary purchasers of telephone subscriber information. Will Lawyers Get Hung Up In Quest for Cell Phone Records?, suggests that the litigation by state Attorneys General and impending state and federal legislation may be rattling the cage of many lawyers. Unfortunately the article misses the opportunity to detail the legal and appropriate uses by law firms of telephone subscriber data, which I mentioned in a prior post on government regulation.

In fact, the author had difficulty getting lawyers to talk to her, even though the practice does not violate the law. And, according to law professor Harold Krent, purchasing cell phone records is not an ethical breach.
"Are cell phone records private? We probably all assumed that they were, but the answer is probably to the contrary. We probably have some privacy interest but it's not protected by common law or statute," said Harold J. Krent, dean of the Chicago-Kent College of Law. Krent noted that given the vagueness of the law, attorneys who obtain cell phone records via the Internet are not doing anything illegal or unethical.

Former D.C. private investigator, now privacy consultant, Robert Douglas gets some ink because of his active assistance to the federal government identifying cell phone subscriber data purveyors that operate on the Internet. His testimony before a U.S. House hearing, and that of others giving testimony are collected at the site.