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Congress to hold hearing on phone record privacy

Hearing is in response to recent reports that third-party brokers may be posing as phone subscribers to obtain and sell personal records.

Responding to recent reports that third-party brokers may be posing as phone subscribers to obtain and then sell personal records over the Internet, Rep. Joe Barton, chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee, plans to hold a hearing on Wednesday afternoon to explore the matter. The same committee dispatched a letter this week to the Federal Communications Commission, requesting verification that major wireless and wireline telephone companies were taking steps to safeguard their customers' privacy.

Legislation that would criminalize the practice of "pretexting" to obtain cell phone records is also in the works, Barton said in a statement. A committee spokesman said Friday that it was unclear when a draft bill would be available for public inspection or when it might be introduced.