Another Legal Smear: This Attack On Rogers Communications

I read a news story over at Techweb which just didn’t sound right to me. The story reported that Rogers Communications Top Dog Ted Rogers’ phone was cloned along with some of his customers’ phones, and used by terrorists to place calls to Pakistan, Syria, and Libya. “Cloned” I wondered? Haven’t heard about cloning since the analog 1G days… If terrorists have found a way to clone 2G digital phones, this would indeed be huge news for the cellular industry. But as it turns out, the story is a fabrication, and part of an effort to smear Rogers. What really happened is that a Rogers subscriber, a lawyer named Susan Drummond, lost her GSM phone, and the phone was subsequently used by someone to place CDN$12,000 in calls to the Middle East. But Ms. Drummond failed to report the phone stolen until she received her next bill. For that reason, Rogers maintained that she was liable for the calls (which could have been prevented if the phone were reported stolen). Ms. Drummond then sued Rogers, and began researching the issue of phone fraud, at which point she learned that Rogers CEO Ted Rogers’ phone was once cloned – a point which she mixes in with her own tale. But Ted Rogers’ phone was cloned in 1997! Yep, nine years ago on his old analog model. Breaking news indeed. Ms. Drummond has aggressively been trying to defame the security aspects of Rogers GSM networks as a extortion tactic to get them to erase her bill, which according to The Globe and Mail, has been successful. But this extortionists claims aren’t justified: whether perfect or not, Rogers GSM security was never compromised. Ms. Drummond would do better to review her own security procedures: if your phone (or credit cards, etc) are lost or stolen…duh…report it and cancel the account. Rogers may not be perfect (no carrier is) and their fraud detection systems should be called into question here: they should have detected the odd pattern of calls and put out a red flag. But let’s not let the extortionists mix nine year old history, security red herrings, and a fear of terrorists into a smokescreen for their own mistakes. Click Read More below to learn more about cloning.

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