First, this nationwide directory will become operational in 2006. However, it won't include all cell phone numbers. What is proposed is a dynamic privacy protected database of cell phone users from six large carriers. When the wireless directory launches, it will be empty. To be listed in this free directory, you must opt in through your cell carrier. The participating carriers include:
- ATT Wireless
Noticeably absent from the list is Verizon. Verizon's President stated the wireless directory is a "terrible idea". One concern is the database could be misused and subject users to unwanted sales calls. Qsent, who is the directory aggregator for the carriers, says this won't happen because there are safeguards to remove the caller information from the operator's display once the operator is through with the record. The company also does not offer the information in an online format such as AnyWho or print like your local Yellow Pages. These carriers also suggest telemarketers and salespeople aren't inclined to use 411 to find prospects because of the cost.
Apart from misuse, various groups are concerned about privacy. While the Qsent system is being developed, Congress is developing the Wireless Privacy 411 Act. If this becomes law, there will be tighter restrictions on data use and a provision for accepting or rejecting directory calls from any carrier. There are also several states working on similar laws that might get preempted.
The important point is you have the right to choose to be included in this directory. Regardless of your decision, you should start looking for notices from your cell carrier on this issue. You should also consider these two questions:
1. Is there a benefit to me to be in the directory? For some people, who use a cell phone as their only phone, you might want to be included. This is especially true if you use that number for business.
2. Are you satisfied with how your data will be handled if you opt-in? Some people will be comfortable and see this directory as another phone directory. Others may be more concerned as one or more third parties are involved. The number of third parties depends on how your carrier handles 411 calls. Some carriers contract out this service.
Finally, the National Do Not Call Registry is to prevent telemarketers and automated dialing systems from calling personal numbers. Being listed in this registry does not have a bearing on being listed in the wireless directory.
Last Updated (Wednesday, 09 September 2009 03:02)