Vol. 3, Issue 6, March 1, 2005
Paris Phone Book Posted on Internet
Millions of people expressed outrage on Saturday when it became apparent that the entire contents of the Paris phone book were being circulated online.
"This is a serious black eye for France Telecom, which has already been under fire for privacy issues," said Glen Chardon of Wired. "Or is that privatization? Anyway, there are a lot of people who will need to change their numbers, I think."
Portions of the phone book for the rich and glamorous city were apparently distributed throughout the internet after a hacker was able to access the account by guessing the correct search term in Google ("Paris White Pages"). Since then, thousands of people have been placing prank calls to famous celebrities with addresses listed in Paris.
"I could not believe that Marie Claire's number was listed there!" said one anonymous user who confessed to making several prank calls over the weekend. "Also someone named Renée, who I assume is Renée Zellweger; a fellow named Jean-Claude who I assume is Van Damme; and someone named Jolie, who, of course, must be Angelina. Some of the names are a little different, but you can totally figure out who they are."
In addition to the many private numbers now accessible freely throughout the internet, surfers may also find hundreds of candid pictures of Paris, many, oddly, taken in or near tombs or other memorials.
"At first, I couldn't understand what this obsession was with monuments to dead people and stuff," said another anonymous user. "I guess it takes all kinds. But I was really confused about Napoleon's tomb. I mean, Napoleon's Dynamite just came out a few months ago, didn't it? I didn't know the guy was dead."
Paris has not issued a formal statement, although a spokesperson did say that the telephone directory was "standard" and that hackers' attempts to spread the information through bulletin boards and mirrored websites were "perplexing."
"On a fait copier l'annuaire publique pour une ville importante, et cela mérite une investigation? Êtes-vous dingue?" replied a spokesperson. It is not clear what language the spokesperson was using, or why she chose to communicate in a different tongue; but Spanish-speaking translators are working on her reply.
However, despite the hundreds of crank phone calls being received by those unfortunate enough to be listed in the Paris phone directory, most indicate they won't be changing their numbers as a result.
"It is irritating to receive so many calls from juvenile Americans who believe I am Natalie Portman," said Natalie Portier. "But I know that by the end of the month they will receive their phone bills, eh? Yes, I am looking forward to that."