Web site broadcasts cell phone conversations

Incident

The Ottawa Sun reported on June 7, 2001, that an Ottawa-based Web site was streaming live audio from cellular telephones onto the Internet from a radio.

A scanner was intercepting cellular telephone traffic. The scanner was connected to a computer that was hosting a Web site. By connecting to the Web site, anyone could listen in on private cell phone conversations.

Outcome

As the Office of the Privacy Commissioner began its investigation, the Internet service provider (ISP) in question shut down the Web site because of bandwidth problems. This was caused by an employee who had a personal network account that had been forwarding data through another server. On discovery, the ISP had immediately relieved the employee of his duties. The ISP indicated that the Web site in question had moved to a New York server under new management.

Given that the Ottawa-based Web site had been shut down, the Office's investigation was discontinued. The Web site will be monitored periodically for an indefinite length of time.

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