WE GOT THAT ON TAPE: A lawsuit questions the use of calls recorded for
Attorney Adam Levitt, who represents the plaintiffs, called the move
"The fact that Nicor is trying to use these recordings in a public
judicial proceeding, which goes far beyond what any consumer thinks is going to
happen with their information when they consent for recording, is outrageous," Levitt told Illinois Watchdog.
Customers were never told their calls with Nicor would be held against
them, Levitt said, noting the company used the standard line that calls
would be recorded for customer service or training purposes.
Indiana University professor Fred Cate said that's where customers
should draw the line.
"At a minimum," Cates said, "companies should have to be honest about
He said there's a basic difference between customer service and company
"There is a huge difference between we're using this to help you and
we're using this to help us," Cates said.
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Annette Martinez, a spokesman for Nicor Gas, said the calls "will
not be played for the public," but added the calls may be used in
"The judge will ultimately determine whether and how the
recordings would be used if there is a trial," Martinez said in an
Levitt is hoping the court wraps Nicor on the knuckles for selling
customers an insurance program that many of them never needed.
Cates, on the other hand, hopes the court gives all companies "a
nudge" that forces them to respect people's privacy and personal
"For 20 years I've argued let's let the market take control, that
there will be someone who offers a privacy-protected credit card or
cell phone. But we've seen thousands of efforts that have died,"
Cates said. "We don't need heavy-handed government, just a tiny bit
of a nudge from the court could do it."
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