Imagine my surprise when, right after I blog about Barack Obama having to give up his BlackBerry, Verizon Wireless admitted that its own employees illicitly accessed a cell phone account of the now president-elect.
Here's the statement that was issued by VZW's President and CEO Lowell McAdam:
?This week we learned that a number of Verizon Wireless employees have, without authorization, accessed and viewed President-Elect Barack Obama's personal cell phone account. The account has been inactive for several months. The device on the account was a simple voice flip-phone, not a BlackBerry or other smartphone designed for e-mail or other data services."
So they didn't get to see the emails, calendars or other information that Obama would later rely on, but that's cold comfort in light of the security breach. Major props for Verizon's response to the situation, though. Offering an apology to Obama, the carrier publicly copped to its staff's wrong-doing, immediately suspended the guilty parties (although with pay) and contacted federal law enforcement authorities. For now, the company is looking into what they saw, how they accessed it and other details before it determines further disciplinary action. (Update: The employees have been fired for the wrongdoing, which was the product of plain old nosiness, it turns out.)
It's too bad that flogging is out of vogue. This bit of news is unsettling in the extreme, especially since we all rely on vendors to uphold our security and privacy concerns. But if this can happen to the future leader of the free world, it can happen to anyone. I hope this serves as a wake-up call for the industry to put tighter measures in place.
And I hope Big Red makes an example out of these jerks. Click here to read CNN's coverage of the sitch.