Just in case you thought that posing as another person and using their Social Security number to obtain their phone records might be legal, California has officially made the practice illegal. Apparently people like former Hewlett Packard chairwoman Patricia Dunn were convinced that such activities, called “pretexting,” were legal, or so she told a Congressional subcommittee on Thursday when asked to explain how her company got the phone records of nine reporters, seven HP board members and the relatives of those people. On Friday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law a bill by State Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, that bans pretexting, according to the San Jose Business Journal, which has details of the new law. Simitian’s bill was moving through the legislature before the HP scandal broke, but Schwarzenegger, who is running for re-election, didn’t miss the opportunity to hold a high-profile signing ceremony to emphasize where he stands on pretexting.
New California law prohibits pretexting
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