Employees of Verizon Wireless accessed the cell phone records of President-elect Barack Obama without permission, the company has admitted.
In a statement released on Thursday, the telecommunications firm said that a number of staff members had gained access to and viewed Obama’s billing account, which indicates which numbers he has called and received calls from.
The phone in question has not been active for months and is also a flip-phone style – which means that it does not contain emails or similar data that a smart-phone may hold.
"All employees who have accessed the account – whether authorized or not – have been put on immediate leave, with pay," Verizon stated.
The company is also conducting an investigation into whether any information has been shared with anyone outside its employees, according to CNN.
This is not the only recent incident in which the privacy of a high-profile politician was violated.
In September, the email account of Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin was hacked. The suspect is 20-year-old David Kernell, the son of a Democratic Tennessee lawmaker.