Selling Call History Info For Cellphones: How, And How Is This "Legal?"

I’ve seen these sites before but never heard them described as legal. I guess I assumed it was like some sleazy P.I. who would bribe cellco employees. This makes it sound (and no, I don’t count on television news reporters as accurate assessors of jurisprudential matters) as though it’s some sort of out-in-the-open, “legal” service (though why they would recommend you contact the state attorney general if so is not clear, and makes me suspect that their characterization of legality is dubious).


  1. How, mechanically/technically, do these companies obtain your call history, and do it so quickly?

  2. How can this possibly be legal? Can’t you contact your carrier and demand that they not make your call info. available to anyone?

The cell phone companies compile this data on the fly to maintain billing information. Simply a matter of picking out the number of interest to sell. They don’t give it away.
Write the FCC to protest and insist that steps be taken to protect your/our privacy. Seems like it is fair game at present.

So it’s the cell phone companies that are selling the data, rather than some data thieves? Do you have a cite for this?

This well-researched Macleans article got a lot of attention in Canada recently, and according to it:

No cite BUT the cell phone providers would be first suspect.
Next unscrupulus employees.
OR maybe the purveyors ‘suck’ it out of the air!
Obviously it is done in some way legal or not.

An article I read recently about this described one technique:

A PI calls the cell company claiming to be you and asks them to send your history to “you”. But of course, “you” just moved so please send it to this other address. (It’s listed as a possible method in the Macleans article too.)

It is astonishing how simple methods such as this work.

However, it is incredibly unlikely that such methods will work in the large scale that this activity appears to occur.

I highly suspect an inside job. Where there’s money, there’s a way.

I heard that they call pretending to be the owner of the number too. Sounds illegal to me. And if the cell phone companies really are selling the info it needs to be publically disclosed and the companies shamed.