Former Verizon Employee Pleads Guilty To Illegally Selling Customers’ Records
Daniel Eugene Traeger, a former employee of wireless industry giant Verizon Wireless, has entered a guilty plea to the charge of illegally selling phone call records and location information of Verizon customers to a certain private investigator, according to a report published by the Associated Press.
Traeger had worked in the state of Alabama, and was formally charged with selling confidential customer data in between the years 2009 to 2014. He was contacted by a private investigator who offered him cash in exchange for selling private information. To date, the number of customer records that were sold is yet to be revealed, as well as how the information were used by the third party. As reported by the Consumerist, Traeger originally committed the breach for as little as $50 each month, but later bumped the asking price to $750 a month around three years ago. Over half a decade’s time, the ex-Verizon worker was able to take in around $10,000.
What Traeger had done was log in to Verizon Wireless’ computer system in order to gain access to customers’ phone call logs. In retrieving the location information of customers’ mobile devices, he would make use of another company system called Real Time Tool and proceed to ping handsets connected to the Big Red’s wireless network. He then collated all the information he acquired in spreadsheets, and then sent them to the private investigator for a number of years.
By entering a guilty plea, Traeger is now facing up to five years behind bars. However, due to the fact that he fully accepted responsibility for his crime, prosecutors are now recommending a sentence of lesser severity.
Breaches in security are nothing new, especially in the United States in the last few years. Just a few days ago, Yahoo had revealed that more than 500 million user accounts have been hacked. Industry watchers agree that a security breach of such a scale will likely impact Yahoo’s ongoing merger with Verizon Wireless. On top of that, Marissa Mayer, the chief executive officer of Yahoo, is facing an inquiry from Democratic senators, especially considering that Yahoo’s response time to the hacking incident was a bit too little, too late. As explained by Marc Rotenberg, the president of the nonprofit Electronic Privacy Information Center based in Washington DC, security breaches have now become of the most important issues especially on an election year such as 2016. But alas, the topic also remains one of the least understood.