A new service which claims to have the cell phone numbers of almost every single subscriber in the U.S., is selling those phone numbers for $15 dollars a search.
Launched by Intelius, which already sells online background checks for a fee, the service acquires "data from marketing companies and public records – all sources people have opted in to", according to Ed Petersen, Intelius co-founder and senior vice president of sales and marketing.
Asked how Intelius gathers cell phone information, Pederson explains that the company mines "billions of pieces of information" to connect names, addresses and phone numbers.
Cell phone directories have been considered many times, perhaps most seriously three years ago when the major wireless carriers considered the creation of a joint mobile phone directory. However, concerns about the assault on personal privacy that a cell phone directory represented motivated consumer groups and government agencies to pass laws requiring carriers to get explicit consent from their subscribers before listing any numbers.
“Intelius seems to be working within the law” because 'the drafters didn't contemplate third-party activity" says Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna who added that perhaps the law will need to be expanded in the future. Read the story.