Thursday, March 01, 2007


Analyzing escort service phone records

Thanks to today's edition of Undernews for this intriguing story: Woman who ran escort service may sell phone records to pay legal fees. It seems that a Washington, DC area escort service owner, Deborah Jean Palfrey, has been accused of running a money-laundering scheme from her Washington-based prostitution business, according to court records. To raise money for her legal defense, she has proposed to sell the phone records from the business--13 years of detailed records.

Instead of quoting snippets here, please go read the entire post, it's worth the click.

Well, I'll quote one little bit:
THIS IS ONE OF THE more novel defense tactics we've heard about. Palfrey's site says, "consideration is being given to selling the entire 46 pounds of detailed and itemized phone records for the 13 year period, to raise the requisite defense funds. An example from a randomly selected 6 day period in August of 1996 is available for review now."
Of course, this data will be interesting to someone. Even the sample data, although it is from 1996, may yield some info because many people keep the same phone number over the years.

Also, if you click on the link for the data above or from her website, you'll get a pdf file with red redactions. I couldn't help but wonder what might be below the redactions, of course. It's human nature to wonder, isn't it?

How to analyze the data

First, if you're curious and have or know someone who has Adobe Acrobat or other software capable of working with pdf files, it's easy to see that the redactions have been done on the annotation layer of the document. So just remove the annotation layer (depending on your software, Document>Examine document). Yup, you have a clean, unredacted copy. Save it someplace. The redactions appear to be Orlando or Winterpark Florida phone numbers.

Next, either OCR the file for copy-and-paste or just manually type any phone numbers you are curious about into the Google search window and look them up! That's very simple research. And yes, it does come up with names and addresses. Of course, the owner of the phone number in 1966 may have changed, but who knows...

So now you have the method.

It's fun if you go for this sort of thing.

But for sure, if the 13 years of data is purchased, in a very short time some very interesting names may be discovered, given the location in Washington, DC.

This should be an interesting story to watch.


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