I was saddened to learn that Bill Caming, the former AT&T attorney for privacy and fraud matters that I wrote about in Exploding The Phone, passed away on January 24th. He was 94 years old.
Bill led an amazing life. Born in 1919 in New York, he graduated from NYU in 1938 and received his law degree from Harvard Law School in 1941. From 1943 to 1946 he was on active duty in the U.S. Army Air Force, serving in the China-Burma-India theatre of operations during World War II.
From 1946 to 1949, he served as a principal prosecutor in the Nuremberg Trials. He was involved in the eleventh case, the "Ministries Trial," in which he prosecuted members of the German Foreign Office and other governmental ministers of the Nazi Regime.
Back in the United States after Nuremberg he became a Special Assistant Attorney General for the State of New York from 1950-1952. In 1953 he joined the telephone company as an attorney, working first as a labor lawyer for Bell Laboratories. In 1965 he joined AT&T's legal department as a corporate attorney. He eventually became AT&T's chief counsel for privacy and fraud matters.
Bill retired from AT&T after 31 years in 1984. In his retirement he wrote about and was involved with the International Criminal Court, as well as matters of privacy, security, electronic surveillance,
and freedom of informaiton. In 2011 Bill was awarded the Joshua Heintz Award for Humanitarian Achievment.
On the several occasions when I interviewed him for the book, he repeatedly impressed me as having a rare combination of wit, charm, quickness, humor, and knowledge. Although he was not sympathetic to the phone phreaks, neither did he demonize them. He always seemed to have a certain amusement in his voice and twinkle in his eye when we talked. One newspaper reporter described him as being able to "charm women like snakes" and I have first-hand evidence that this was so: after having dinner with him in 2008, my wife told me he was "the only 89-year-old man I'd consider leaving you for."
RIP, Bill. You will be missed.