Tales from the Trail

Hey, even the FBI gets telemarketing calls

TELECOMSYep, it’s true. Even the G-men who are trying to track down criminals get calls from those pesky telemarketers.

Buried in a 160-page report by the U.S. Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine was a little nugget that the Federal Bureau of Investigation apparently has been receiving calls from telemarketers on telephone lines set up for wiretaps.

When the FBI gets a court order to tap a phone line, they set up telephone lines that deliver those calls to the authorities.  However, it turns out that those phone lines are assigned actual numbers by the phone company.

“It is not uncommon for these lines to ‘receive’ calls from telemarketers and others who use auto-dialers and other automated call technology to place calls,” FBI Deputy Director John Pistole said in a letter to the inspector general.

The issue came up when the inspector general expressed concern that an FBI field office had gone beyond the period in which a court ordered wiretap was authorized, known as an ‘overrun’, or had possibly collected material after a judge had ordered the FBI to stop.

Pearl Jam to Obama: Don’t change your tune on Web issues

WASHINGTON – Rock bands Pearl Jam and R.E.M., the founder of Craigslist, consumer activists and others who backed Barack Obama’s technology-fueled presidential win told the Illinois Democrat on Thursday that they expect him to return the favor.

USA/They were among more than 100 organizations that sent a letter to Obama, who takes office Jan. 20, urging him to lift “the stranglehold industry lobbyists have had on communications policy, and put the public’s priorities first.”

Citing Obama’s words back to him in bullet points, the letter reminded the president-elect of his campaign support for net neutrality, universal broadband and other web-friendly positions. It referred to an Obama speech at Google headquarters where he vowed to “take a back seat to no one in my commitment to net neutrality.”