Verizon staff break into Obama's cell phone account
Employees of US mobile communications provider Verizon Wireless gained unauthorised access to President-elect Barack Obama's cell phone account and took a look at data. In a press release, the company says that the account had been inactive for several months. Obama apparently only used the account for a simple mobile phone, not a Blackberry or some other kind of smartphone that supported e-mail and other data services.
All of the employees who accessed the account – whether authorised or not – have reportedly been put on leave. The company says it will be looking into disciplinary measures as soon as the circumstances under which the data were viewed have been clarified. The exact number of employees in question has not been made public. Verizon wireless has apologized to Obama and says it is working to keep user trust in the company.
Obama now owns a Blackberry smart phone and reportedly makes frequent use of it. Since last weekend, US media have been discussing whether Obama will be able to continue using his smartphone once he becomes president on January 20, 2009. The concerns include the obligation to archive official e-mails and security aspects. Now, the Verizon incident has given everyone more cause to be concerned.