Cell Phone Records

By: Ed Opperman

Until very recently if you suspected your spouse or lover was cheating one way to spy on them would be to go online or hire a private investigator and purchase copies of their cell phone bills. That way you could get a complete listing of all the incoming and out going calls from their cell phone. It was a great tool for investigators and a very useful resource for victims of infidelity to make an informed decision about their relationships. No one likes to be in the dark about infidelity.

Like all things that can be used for good it was open to abuse. For instance the blogsters at AMERICAblog was able to obtain General Wesley Clark's cell phone records for $89.95. Now unless you are Mrs Wesley Clark this is an obvious abuse of an investigative tool. Terrorists could have purchased those cell phone records and used the information illegally and put the General , his family and even the nation at risk.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat proposed legislation H.R. 4709: Law Enforcement and Phone Privacy Protection Act of 2006, and S. 2178: Consumer Telephone Records Protection Act of 2006, both passed committee. so it is no longer possible to legally purchase such information. It is illegal to obtain these records unless you are the actual owner of the phone and you can prove it.

Well this should protect us from identity thieves and terrorists but what about the run of the mill soccer mom that suspects her man is out doing her wrong? What can she do? Well there are still some ways to obtain info from cell phones that are perfectly legal. One is a Digital Forensics. If you are the legal owner of the phone you can hire investigators and have the phone examined forensically. Most people don't realize it but deleted text messages, deleted Caller ID records and deleted address book entries can all be retrieved from a cell phones or Blackberry and many other hand held electronic devices. Or you can give your spouse a gift of a phone with GPS installed and track their every move. It's also possible and perfectly legal to do an online search of thousands of personal ads to see if your lover's email address is being used for online cheating.

So like all things Internet the technology moves faster than lawmakers. As long as investigators are responsible and are not making these tools available to potential terrorists and limiting them to legitimate investigations we can be safe from terrorist, Identity Theft and Infidelity all at the same time.

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