Those Phone Records Sure Are Secret!

Reader John Farmer emails:

I found the Qwest privacy policy for telephone customers on the Web.

Note this: “Our representatives pull up account records and may refer to your bill, your calling patterns, and other information we have to answer questions you may have or recommend how we can best serve you.”

And this: “We share information within our Qwest companies to enable us to better understand our customers’ product and service needs, and to learn how to best design, develop, and package products and services to meet those needs. . . . Currently, our primary lines of business include local and long-distance services, wireless services, cable services, dedicated web hosting, Internet access for businesses and consumers, on-line services, and directory publishing. We also offer other products and services, for example, Frame Relay, Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM), telephone equipment, voice mail services, and directory advertising.”

And this: “As a general rule, Qwest does not release customer account information to unaffiliated third parties without your permission unless we have a business relationship with those companies where the disclosure is appropriate.”

So . . .

It’s a great invasion of privacy to data mine calling patterns for national security purposes, even if the call is not listened to.

But, isn’t it noteworthy that the phone company does this on a far more personal level to decide what services to try to sell to you and, probably, to do joint marketing to you with others?

Moral of the story: Those hot and bothered by the telephone call database mining program don’t know or appreciate what telephone companies do all the time for their business purposes or the purposes of their business partners.

Great point. And wasn’t there a big news story just a couple of months ago about the fact that, for a nominal sum, you can buy anyone’s cell phone records? In fact, liberal bloggers tried to put together a plan to buy and analyze the telephone records of prominent Republicans in hopes of finding calls that would somehow be embarrassing. These same liberals, of course, are now up in arms about the fact that the NSA does computer analyses of phone records, not with the malicious purpose of singling out political enemies for harassment, but to try to stop terrorist attacks. There is really no hypocrisy quite like the hypocrisy of a liberal.

One more thing: since Qwest shares its customers’ records with companies with which it has a “business relationship,” but not with the NSA to prevent terrorist attacks, there is no way I’m doing business with Qwest.

PAUL adds: You should never trust a company that can’t spell.

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