Will telemarketers want your cell phone number? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Will telemarketers want your cell phone number?

December 10, 2004

Albany-- Many people have "cut the cord" on their landline phones, and are using their cell phones exclusively. Many people enjoy the privacy of their cell phones, but those numbers could soon be listed in a National Directory.

Beginning next year, people could find your private cell phone number by dialing 411. "I'd like to keep my cell phone for private use," said Cell Phone User Beverly Ziemiecki.

Most of the Wireless industry agrees that a wireless directory would help small business owners who use their cell phones exclusively and want customers to be able to reach them. "I really don't need people soliciting me, trying to get me to buy things in a situation where I am in an emergency," said Ziemiecki.

This is a major concern for many cell phone users, and it's one of the main reasons some U. S. Senators are trying to pass the "Wireless 411 privacy act." The act would ensure that the directory is voluntary, guarantee that subscribers don't have to pay to be unlisted and prohibit publication of the list.

"I would be trying to figure out exactly who is this call and having to make a decision whether or not it's going to be a good thing to answer it," said Colette Jenkins, another cell phone user.

The Wireless industry promises not to list numbers in the directory unless given permission by the customer. Some legislators say those are just promises that can be broken and agree there needs to be a law.

A bill that would have made that promise law didn't come to vote in Congress this year. So the bill will start over when the new session of Congress begins in January.

The Wireless Association also promises that cell phone users will not be charged to keep their name out of the directory.

posted at 3:35PM by dave.miller@walb.com