Sprint Nextel Files New Lawsuit Claiming Fraudulent Pursuit of Confidential Customer Information - InformationWeek

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Software // Information Management

Sprint Nextel Files New Lawsuit Claiming Fraudulent Pursuit of Confidential Customer Information

Aggressive action taken against online data brokers is latest in a series of lawsuits.

Sprint Nextel Corp. announced January 30, 2006, that it has filed a lawsuit against All Star Investigations Inc. ("ASI"), a company believed to own and/or operate web sites including www.onlinePI.com, www.allstarinvestigations.com, www.detectivesusa.com, www.miamiprotection.com and www.privatedetectivesusa.com. According to the lawsuit, these sites fraudulently obtain and sell wireless customer call detail records. Sprint Nextel states in its complaint filed in Dade County, Florida that ASI unlawfully obtains customers' wireless phone records through flagrant misrepresentation and deceitful practices.

Sprint Nextel's latest legal effort aimed at protecting customer privacy immediately follows its lawsuit filed against First Source Information Specialists Inc., parent company of www.locatecell.com, www.datafind.org, and others, announced on Jan. 27. Similar to the earlier suit, Sprint Nextel has requested both temporary and permanent injunctions against ASI.

"The schemes perpetrated by these online data brokers are intolerable and our intent is to put an end to these practices," said Kent Nakamura, vice president for telecom management and chief privacy officer for Sprint Nextel. "Ensuring the highest quality customer service is at the very core of our business. These online data brokers attempt to manipulate our customer service resources and detract from service provided to legitimate customers."

Sprint Nextel also announced that it is continuing a full-scale investigation of all entities that access, or attempt to access, customer data without permission. Customer service agents have been educated in online data brokers' tactics, and are trained to follow authentication procedures when responding to customer inquiries. Sprint Nextel's security practices were praised in 2005 when the company was recognized for the "Best Practice in Security for Governance" by the Aberdeen Group.

Sprint Nextel continues to encourage its customers to take proactive measures 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.

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