[JURIST] The US Senate [official website] passed a bill [HR 4709 text] by voice vote Friday that would make obtaining phone records through fraud or lying a criminal act. People found guilty of so-called "pretexting" would face fines and imprisonment for up to 10 years. Punishment may be doubled if the violation involves more than $100,000 or more than 50 victims. Passage of the bill was propelled by the recent Hewlett-Packard scandal [JURIST news archive] in which company executives were charged with using deception to obtain the phone records of board members ssupected of leaking corporate information.
The House of Representatives passed the anti-pretexting legislation in April, but the Senate version was held up for months [AP report] because the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee backed two differing versions. The bill approved Friday was the House version favored by the Judiciary Committee; it now goes to the White House for President Bush's signature. AP has more.