Senator Looking To Limit Non-Existent Mobile Phone 411 Service

Wireless carriers have been talking about creating some sort of 411 directory assistance service for mobile phones for some time now. However, many people aren’t too thrilled about the idea, believing (perhaps accurately) that directories of phone number are what caused the landline telemarketing mess in the first place. With that in mind, Senator Barbara Boxer from California is proposing legislation to limit what carriers can do with a mobile 411 listing. Those in the industry says these restrictions aren’t needed – especially since no official plans for a list have been set up yet. Besides, they say, the directory assistance is only for people who call in – and not for printing out a big list that can be used for telemarketing. Other ideas include having the operator directly connect you (so the phone number is never given out directly) and first sending a text message asking for permission to be contacted by a caller. The Boxer bill says that any directory should be “opt-in” only, but the industry believes (correctly) that almost no one would opt-in. In the meantime, I’m wondering if the carriers will take a page from the landline carriers and charge people a regular service to have them not listed in the directory. You always have to wonder about companies that get people to pay them money for not doing something. In some areas, it’s called extortion.

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