US Senate seeks deal on protecting phone records

The U.S. Senate is trying to reach a deal before recessing next week on a bill that would ban the practice of impersonating someone to get telephone records, aides said on Wednesday, in light of a scandal at Hewlett-Packard Co. over how it probed news leaks.  The HP case, in which the computer maker’s chairman, Patricia Dunn, hired investigators who pretended to be HP board members, employees and journalists to obtain their phone records, has given new life to legislation to outlaw the practice known as pretexting.Several proposals are pending in the Senate and House of Representatives that would take varying degrees of action to safeguard the privacy of consumer telephone records. The Senate bill is expected to toughen criminal statutes by explicitly banning pretexting and also beef up civil penalties and improve regulatory safeguards of telephone records.