CNET is reporting that the US Senate passed a bill last Friday that criminalizes pretexting.
From the article —
The Senate passed legislation Friday night that would make it a federal crime to obtain a person’s telephone records without permission, an act known as pretexting.
The measure, which was approved by unanimous consent last night and is similar to a bill passed earlier in the House, imposes a fine of up to $250,000 and imprisonment of up to 10 years for duping telephone companies into divulging the calling records of private individuals. The penalties can go up under special circumstances, like cases involving domestic abuse.
The support for the legislation comes in the aftermath of the spying scandal at Hewlett-Packard. The company, eager to ferret out purported leaks to journalists from within its board, used private detective firms to retrieve phone records of directors, managers and journalists.
Companies convicted under the Senate legislation face fines of up to $500,000.
The legislation includes penalties and a prison sentence of up to 10 years for individuals who sell or buy phone records knowing the lists were obtained through deceptive means. Passage, which came just days before the conclusion of the Republican-led Congress, is a victory for privacy advocates and regular phone users concerned about the confidentiality of their records.