It's official: "pretexting" to buy, sell or obtain personal phone records--except when conducted by law enforcement or intelligence agencies--is now a federal crime that could yield prison time.
President Bush on Friday affixed his signature to the Telephone Records and Privacy Protection Act of 2006. The measure threatens up to 10 years behind bars to anyone who pretends to be someone else, or otherwise employs fraudulent tactics, to persuade phone companies to hand over what is supposed to be confidential data about customers' calling habits.
A little intimidating. Not because I pretend to be someone else to illegally obtain information, but because I do, from time to time, pretend to be someone here in the office in order to get things done. It's happened before, and will happen again. There is no secrecy or malfeasance intended, but now a prosecutor can give me 10 years for trying to do the job at hand.
An example: The company bank account was inaccassable for some reason, I don't remember why. But I had the information required to change the password and regain access. I was required to pretend to be the owner for that transaction.
I'm safe in that the owner was fully aware of my activities, and even condones the behaviour when it's truly necessary, so he won't be pushing for prosecution. Everyone else scares me.