January 27, 2006
Sprint Nextel Sues to Shut Down Online Services That Illegally Obtain and Sell Confidential Telephone Records
Lawsuit Aims to Protect Customer Privacy by Eliminating Fraudulent Activities of Online Data Brokers
RESTON, Va. — 01/27/2006
Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE: S) announced today that it has filed a lawsuit against the parent company of four online data brokers that use illegal and deceptive practices to obtain and sell wireless customer call detail records. Sprint Nextel states within the Complaint that 1st Source Information Specialists Inc., parent company of www.locatecell.com, www.celltolls.com, www.datafind.org and www.peoplesearchamerica.com, employs fraudulent tactics, such as posing as customers seeking information about their own accounts, to access cell phone logs and phone numbers.
In the suit filed today in Florida, Sprint Nextel states that the schemes conducted by these fraudulent online services invade the privacy of Sprint Nextel's customers. Sprint Nextel has requested both temporary and permanent injunctions against 1st Source Information Specialists Inc.
"Protection of confidential customer information is our number one priority and we are taking aggressive action to ensure that any threat to privacy is eliminated immediately," said Kent Nakamura, vice president for telecom management and chief privacy officer for Sprint Nextel. "1st Source Information Specialists continues to display egregious disregard for privacy, and previous industry-driven actions do not appear to have deterred their illegal activities. We can assure our customers that we will make every effort to put these services out of business."
To further demonstrate its commitment to protecting consumer privacy, Sprint Nextel is supporting federal legislation that seeks to increase criminal and/or civil penalties against third party companies that fraudulently seek to obtain, sell or distribute customer records. In particular, Sprint Nextel hails legislation crafted by senators Charles Schumer of New York, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Bill Nelson of Florida for its provisions that make it illegal to obtain telephone customer records, and that stiffen prison sentences and fines for those companies fraudulently selling information. Sprint Nextel looks forward to working with these senators and other members of Congress to pass the legislation that best protects consumers and ends this fraudulent practice.
In addition to launching a legal assault on these illegal activities, Sprint Nextel's corporate security and customer care teams employ safeguards to protect confidential customer information from unauthorized access. Sprint Nextel customer service agents have been made aware of the fraudulent tactics used by online data brokers, and they are trained to follow detailed authentication procedures when responding to customer inquiries. Sprint Nextel's security practices were validated in 2005 when the company was awarded the "Best Practice in Security for Governance" by the Aberdeen Group.
Sprint Nextel strongly encourages its customers to take precautions to protect themselves. In particular, Sprint Nextel recommends that customers regularly change passwords used to access account information on the Sprint.com web site or when calling customer care, and select unique passwords to access voicemail messages on Sprint phones. For additional customer privacy tips, please go to www.sprint.com/privacy.
About Sprint Nextel
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of communications services bringing mobility to consumer, business and government customers. Sprint Nextel is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including two robust wireless networks offering industry leading mobile data services; instant national and international walkie-talkie capabilities; and an award-winning and global Tier 1 Internet backbone. For more information, visit www.sprint.com.