Prison telco recorded inmates' lawyer-client calls, hack reveals

Company claims miffed insider to blame for spaffing docs

Securus Technologies, an American phone services provider, has been recording inmates' phone calls - including those between inmates and their lawyers - much to the chagrin of an activist hacker, who has pilfered the recordings and dumped them into the laps of journalists.

Materials leaked to The Intercept "by an anonymous hacker who believes that Securus is violating the constitutional rights of inmates" have showed that 70 million phone calls had been recorded by the telco over nearly 30 months between December 2011 and early 2014.

The materials included 14,000 conversations between inmates and their attorneys, which David Fathi, director of the ACLU's National Prison Project, claimed to The Intercept "may be the most massive breach of the attorney-client privilege in modern U.S. history."

Securus boasts that its prison calls platform, the Secure Call Platform, is installed in more than 1,700 locations, and can record and store inmates' chatter "with a high level of security."

We understand that confidentiality of calls is critical, and we will follow all Federal, State, and Local laws in the conduct of our business.

As noted in The Intercept's feature, however, "the fact that a hacker was able to obtain access to over 70 million prisoner phone call records shows that Securus' data storage system is far more vulnerable than it purports to be."

Securus had been previously breached in 2014, the publication additionally revealed, "when someone hacked three calls made by an inmate named Aaron Hernandez, presumably the former player for the New England Patriots, who was awaiting trial for [allegedly] killing a friend."

A statement from the telco claimed that "at this preliminary stage [of investigating these hacking claims], evidence suggests that an individual or individuals with authorized access to a limited set of records may have used that access to inappropriately share those records."

It continued to state that it has "found absolutely no evidence of attorney-client calls that were recorded without the knowledge and consent of those parties. Our calling systems include multiple safeguards to prevent this from occurring."

"Attorneys are able to register their numbers to exempt them from the recording that is standard for other inmate calls. Those attorneys who did not register their numbers would also hear a warning about recording prior to the beginning of each call, requiring active acceptance." ®

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