Staff peeked at Obama’s telephone records

Verizon has admitted that employees gained unauthorised access to the mobile phone records of US President-elect Barack Obama.

Staff peeked at Obama's telephone records

An aide says Obama’s voicemail messages and emails were not breached in the incident, which related to a personal account that was no longer used.

“We were notified yesterday that employees had accessed the records of an old cell phone no longer in use,” claims the aide. “No voice or emails were listened to or read.”

The company says the device in question was a basic mobile phone, rather than a Blackberry or other device designed for email and data services.

In a statement, Verizon President Lowell McAdam apologised to Obama, claiming that all employees who accessed Obama’s account without authorisation could be fired.

Michael King of Gartner says a telephone employee accessing billing information would be able to see the telephone numbers called by the customer, how long those conversations lasted and when they were called.

King says he could not recall a high-profile case where an employee had unauthorised access to records and that recent public cases involved company outsiders finding ways to check other people’s records.

Asked to disclose exactly what kind of information was viewed, the duration and frequency of the unauthorised access, Verizon spokesman Jeffrey Nelson declined comment beyond the company’s statement.

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