Millions of phone records from a company that is a major contractor with jails and prisons across the United States may have been leaked online.
In a statement, the company, Securus Technologies, said it is contacting law enforcement agencies about the potential leak and is continuing its investigation into the issue.
“Although this investigation is ongoing, we have seen no evidence that records were shared as a result of a technology breach or hack into our systems,” Russell Roberts with Securus wrote in a statement.
The company is the phone service provider used by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.
Jan Caldwell, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff said, “I've spoken with our IT Manager about this. Securus has not reached out to us but we did contact them. They are still investigating the incident and according to them, it appears to be an internal release of the information. We are working with them to identify the impact on us.”
According to Securus, the security breach may have happened internally. Roberts said, “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.”
The story was first reported online by the Intercept.
Securus is continuing its investigation but so far, according to Roberts, there is no evidence calls between attorneys and inmates were recorded without their knowledge.
Paul Wright, the Executive Director of the Human Rights Defense Center, a nonprofit focused on prisoners rights issues, said, part of the problem with phone services provided to inmates and their families is a lack of choice.
“Here, there is no recourse,” he said. “If you want to communicate with your loved ones (in prison) you have no choice to use these services and pay the amount of money they are demanding. No choice. These companies look at the government as their customers. The people using the services have no say at all.”
Last month the Federal Communications Commission announced reductions to telephone rates charged to inmates. The new regulations will cap rates at 11 cents per minute for the largest jail facilities in the U.S. Rates for smaller facilities will be slightly higher.
Read the full statement from Russell Roberts with Securus Technologies below:
Securus Statement Regarding Media Reports of Leaked Call Records
Securus is contacting law enforcement agencies in the investigation into media reports that inmate call records were leaked online. Although this investigation is ongoing, we have seen no evidence that records were shared as a result of a technology breach or hack into our systems. Instead, at this preliminary stage, 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.
We will fully support law enforcement in prosecution of any individuals found to have illegally shared information in this case. Data security is critically important to the law enforcement and criminal justice organizations that we serve, and we implement extensive measures to help ensure that all data is protected from both digital and physical breaches.
It is very important to note that we have 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.
We are coordinating with law enforcement and we will provide updates as this investigation progresses.