Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (8th Senate District), Chairman of the Senate’s Consumer Protection Committee, has sponsored a new law that prevents people’s phone records from being sold to a third party. Senator Fuschillo's bill was recently signed into law by Governor George Pataki.
"An individual’s phone records are a very private thing and should not be able to be bought and sold by third parties. Unfortunately, people could purchase these records with alarming ease, enabling them to find out exactly who you were talking to and how frequently the calls were being made," said Senator Fuschillo. "In some cases, the sale of these records could place people's lives in jeopardy. By strengthening the law, we have created new protections to safeguard your privacy."
Under Senator Fuschillo's new law, it is now illegal for any individual or business to sell, offer to sell, or obtain a consumer’s telephone records without that person’s consent. The Attorney General will be permitted to seek an injunction and a civil fine of $1,000 per violation. These penalties would be in addition to any other penalties permitted by law. A person’s phone records can still be obtained by law enforcement or by a court order.
It is a felony to impersonate an individual for the purpose of obtaining records or property, but until this new law was enacted, there were no prohibitions against selling or offering to sell someone’s telephone records.
The law took effect immediately after it was signed.
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