back to article Millions opted into UK mobile phone directory

A public mobile phone directory for the UK will launch later this month, loaded with millions of private numbers bought from marketing departments. From June 18, callers to 118800 will be asked for a first name, a surname and a town*. If a match is found, they will be connected to that person's mobile for £1. Connectivity, the …

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Not to callers

anyone I don't want to talk to using this service (including the operators) be prepared for a torrent of abuse. just like every scum bag that tries to flog me a service I don't want using prediallers.

You can f**k off if you think I'm paying to send you a text or pick up your voice mails.

This is what I think should happen to all "Opt out" businesses.

You can always opt out of this abuse by not calling me in the first place.

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without completing registration

it says it found multiple people in my town with my name, which presumably would be where i used to live and now live, being the only one in town. giving one of the house numbers offers me a page to signup so ican contact that person.

now to file an opt out......

is the current phone book for land lines an opt in or out service, i can't remember.

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Where's my cut?

We little people rarely get to see marketing research money change hands. I feel blessed.

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Opt out...

To Opt Out you apparently text E to 118800 (which is allegedly free).

I just hope that doesn't mean they ignore the opt out and spam the shit out of users even harder.

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To Unsubscribe...

Either Dial 0800 138 6263 and get stuck in queue hell while racking up their phone bill.

Or at your expense text E to 118800

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Well it found me

Admittedly at an old address, that I haven't lived in for over two and a half years... Don't know what mobile phone no they have for me, because I don't fancy either a) Ponying up £1 into their revenues, or 2) Giving them my current number...

I'm toying with the idea of a subject access request - and also requesting an explanation from them as to where they obtained my data...

Martin

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Pissed off...

I was able to find myself, I would like to know how since I dont give my permission for any person or company to disclose my details.

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From the FAQ

"Please allow up to 4 weeks for your ex-directory request to take effect."

How does it take that long? Incompetent twunts

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It finds me

but at a past address (where I haven't lived in years). It's probably not even my current mobile number. I don't really want to opt out using my current number in case they don't currently have the right one (which would be ideal). I'm going to phone shortly and opt myself out.

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Unhappy

Dodgy

So you can opt IN on your website, but opting OUT requires sending a text message?

Shady business model if you ask me...

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From the FAQ's

Can I be ex-directory with 118 800?

You can become ex-directory by texting the letter ‘E’ to 118800 from the mobile phone you want to be made ex-directory or you can call us on 0800 138 6263. Standard network charges apply. The first time 118 800 contacts you you will be sent an SMS reminding you about how to become ex-directory. Please allow up to 4 weeks for your ex-directory request to take effect.

I really dont like giving any numbers out to anyone and ALWAYS read the wording of those tick boxes at the bottom of the form, usually something like this:

I accept the terms and conditions - Tick Box

I would like you to would like you to bombard me with endless shite offers : yes / no (yes is default)

I would like you to sell my details to other companies peddling any old shite, if you agree to this tick the relevant box -

Yes - I dont want you to pass my details on

No - I do want you to sell my details for profit

Scum sucking marketing scumbag mothers!

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Unhappy

Very Suspicious

Like El Reg, I did a quick (un)scientific test, looking myself up.

It came back saying there were several matching criteria in my town, and could I supply more information to help narrow the search (house number, street name, postcode).

However I happen to be fairly certain there is NOT another me in my town. And since I've had one mobile number for 15 years, it's not a duplicate of me.

I never give permission for my mobile number to be released to third parties, so there is some suspicious data gathering going on here.

They also charge the full £10 if you want to check your details (as per the Data Protection act), and you need to supply lots of personal information (e.g. Passport, bank statement, utility bill).

There doesn't appear to be a simple way to check if you are listed - you need to register your number before they'll let you look it up fully - "give us your number and we promise we won't list it"

Dodgy!

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It appears they know who I am

However, calling the 0800 customer services number to get me removed from their database just results in me going around and around and around on a queue....

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Found

I can find me, but at the address where I lived 2 years ago! Not exactly current data.

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Ring Ring

Big brother is calling you. Will you accept?

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Pirate

Simon Davies

> Simon Davies, director of Privacy International, briefly worked as a consultant on the venture, which is backed by the investment firm 3i. He left two years ago after it became clear the business plan was dependent on opt-out, rather than an opt-in consent. "There was just nothing I could contribute after that," he said.

That would be the same Simon Davies from 80/20 Thinking (as well as Privacy International) who counts Phorm amongst its clients? Remind me.. is Phorm opt-in or opt-out? El Reg readers might like to discuss this apparent inconsistency..

(Or am I just a Privacy Pirate?)

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Count me out...

Yeah I know my mobile no is on my CV and everything but even so - I dont see why some muppets should make a cent from people I have no interest in getting access to pester me.

Mind you Search does not work - it crashes, and insists that one of my friends with a very distinctive name appears more than once in his home town (nonsense...) and the opt-out line is either inundated with calls or no being manned.

Hope they die quite quickly.

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Couldn't get it to work at all

After searching my name and then providing more details when it claimed multiple matches it said the page didn't exist.

Good work!

As a general principle I dislike this. I try never to give explicit or implicit consent for anyone to do anything with my details but I'm only human and I sometimes miss. Passing my details to sales people is annoying enough, but to directories seems like an abuse.

Still, at least they don't give out numbers directly, just annoy you with text messages.

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Paris Hilton

Here's a clue....................

If you don't have my mobile telephone I don't want you to have it.

And I don't care which obscure tick box I missed I do not want you to sell it.

Isn't there supposed to be laws preventing this sort of thing.

Oh yes that right the Information Commissioners Office. Nuff said

Paris because she wouldn't let her personal details be sold in this way

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very odd...

This is very odd.

I have searched for myself, and found myself at an address i havent lived at for over 2 years !!

The really annoying thing is that i NEVER EVER EVER give out my mobile number to ANYONE bar friends and family. I certainly dont publish it on forms, letters etc - so how the hell did they get my details ????????????????

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Anonymous Coward

"Give us your money or we'll compromise your privacy"

Surely this is little more than extortion?

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Who said they could use this data?

"the firm now says it will give each person the chance to opt out the first time they are contacted via the directory"

I think rather a lot hangs on how they do that. If it is made obvious to the victim that the default position is "don't put them through" (*especially* if the victim turns out to be under-age) and that by accepting the call they are, in effect, giving legal consent for the company to keep them on the database (which children may not be in a position to do), and that there is an easy way to reverse that decision later (and I'm not sure a web-site really counts, particularly if it is one of those dreadful Windows-only jobs), then that would be fine.

But what are the chances of that happening? In practice, I expect the conversation will be "Your friend Charlie's on the line, shall I put him through?", followed by a "Er, dunno, suppose so." and finishing with "OK. [click]", which (to my non-legal mind) strikes me as raising a whole raft of DPA issues.

People can be quite cagey about their mobile number. I've certainly never been asked for permission to use it in this way and would definitely say no. Only a handful of people know my mobile number. (Family, childminders, schools.) It's not quite for emergency use only, but pretty close. As a result, when it goes off I can assume it is important enough to excuse myself from pretty much whatever I'm doing. (I'm rarely more than 10 metres away from a landline. It's not like I'm playing hard to get.)

Fortunately, the business may go under before any case reaches court. It seems to me that the people whose numbers you don't already know and the people who are unlikely to give consent to a passing stranger wanting to harvest their privacy for profit might overlap quite a lot, so the service is likely to charge a premium rate fee but then fail to put you through. How many times will you play *that* game?

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Anonymous Coward

I like

I like how you can add yourself online but to be removed you need to phone or text them.

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Unhappy

Got me too, allegedly

Out of curiosity I also searched against myself.

I was also told that there were multiple matches. I live in a relatively small town so I find this unlikely but as I can't say for sure I can go with it. I have had multiple numbers over the time I've been using mobiles, but my current one I have had for quite some years now. Which could mean that they have got the data from various sources and some of it is very outdated.

I find that hard to believe because as a rule I never allow my data to be passed onto 3rd parties, however there is always the possibility that I may have missed something somewhere.

It all seems rather dodgy to me.

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Anonymous Coward

tps

http://www.mpsonline.org.uk/tps/

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Black Helicopters

who?

"We have more than one person who matches your query"

Strange, since I'm not only the only person in my town with my name, but as far as I know, the only person in the country, if not the world with my name.

Further searching gives:

"ERROR - Page not available at this time

...the page you have requested is not available or no longer exists. Please select one of the links below"

I guess my details are safe for now.

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Seems to find me very easily...

I search for myself: firstname, last name, town/city.

Like others say it says there are multiple matches, and asks for more info, so I type in "Bullshit" into the company box and low and behold it says it found me!!!

So apparently I work for bullshit. Not wise in these troubling economic times. Anyone want to buy some bullshit? I've got loads..... come to think of it so does this new website....

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In fairness....

Their security is extremely good. the lack of an accessible search results page on their site makes it very tricky to get any information out of it.

Search provider that can't provide search results? Epic Fail!

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Very shady bunch

They won't let us search the database without charging us money.

Every other 118 website I've been on let you look up people for nowt.

And there is no way to see if they have you on their records without giving them your number in the first place (and paying them a quid) just to tell them to delete your records.

Meh

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The opt-out info is used

So, they think if you don't want to be called, I'll get in touch and confirm my details so as NOT to be in the list. Seen that coming!

My phone has a "filter incoming" function which I have used to good effect.

I recommend that other readers find out how to filter their calls from their phones

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Unhappy

Soon

It will be a rare thing to be a truly private citizen.

: (

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Boffin

TPS FTW!

Register your mobe with the Telephone Preference Service (http://www.mpsonline.org.uk/tps/). Then if someone phones trying to flog you double glazing you can get their wotsits nailed to the thingy-ma-blob. Unfortunately, it won't stop SMS spam though...

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Take off and Nuke them from Orbit

You know its the only way.

I would like to be more constructive but dealing with people prepared to squirm a profit out of such practices will only result in a lot of drawn out wiggling, weaseling and zero action. All indicators are that they are going to opt people who's information they have in to all the 'services' they provide and also use the opt-out procedure to opt-in the people who choose to opt-out. Then they will swear blind that you have opted in. It will be a while before people scream blue bloody murder at a level that gets any authorities attention and then they will string it out with 'system'/'software'/'database' errors until Beelzebub gets frostbitten tootsies. Where's the bit in the T&C, in Wing Ding 1 point, that says you agree to be opted back in after a period of 3 months if you do not opt out again.....?

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4 weeks to unsubscribe?

I can almost guarantee that my girlfriend's ex-husband will continuously hassle her through this service within those four weeks :(

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Nice use of technology...

They have a pretty website... But no way of removing yourself from their list without phoning an 0800 number (which gets you stuck in a queue... At least they will have to pay for this call), or texting E to a £1 text line...

And why on earth would it take 4 weeks to remove?

update tbl_numbers set ex_dir="1" where mobile_num="07123456789"

Complicated stuff.

I'll be interested to see if I was on there, I always tick the "don't share" boxes, so if I'm on there I would be very interested to know how.

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Anonymous Coward

Quite simply, there will be hell to pay if I'm on it.

Let's go through it piece by piece.

1 - When I provide my details I make a point of checking the terms under which this is collected. If it states ANYWHERE that it will be handed off to 3rd parties it's abort (or untick if that option exists). This means my information should NOT end up there.

2 - If they have acquired my information they have various obligations themselves, like checking if the data they have received is accompanied by the appropriate permissions.

If I find they hold my data, two things will happen.

1 - A formal complaint about 118800 itself will go to the Information Commissioner - not only has my data been illegally obtained, it has also not been handled with the appropriate care (I'll come to the "why" in a minute)

2 - a separate formal complaint will go to the IC about illegal provisioning of information, and again bad maintenance of information (another obligation). I don't know who did it, but 118800 will have to answer the IC investigation, and via that find the abuser. I've had it so often the someone calls me because I'm allegedly "on a list" that I would really like to nail the people who made that list. So far. that appears to be total BS.

Now, obviously the IC isn't going to move as much as a foot with just one complaint, so I suggest you do the same. Get your facts, than hit them.

I haven't yet explained why I can claim "bad data maintenance" - there is a requirements to ensure the data you hold is up to date, and I have solid evidence that hasn't happened.

You see, I left the country 5 years ago..

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Name + town? Yeah that's going to work...

My name is very common where I live so the chance of them finding the right number is slim. Even if they have a postcode there used to be someone with the same name living in the house next door. Then there's the famous boss of a football club whose stadium is across the road. Hopefully anyone looking for me will get him, that should be fun. :D

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Anonymous Coward

How do I find out

How do I find out where they got my details from? Can anyone provide me of details how to do this? As I am pretty religious about opting out of being contacted about anything. So far on my mobile I've only received calls from friends and family, to whom I've provided the number. I'd like to keep it that way.

I'm certain that I've never given my permission for my details to be used in such away by those I have dealt with, never mind a 3rd party So I'd like to find out who it was that has sold my details.

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Oh good...

I am on there... Fan-bloody-tastic...

Love to know how.

Oh well, had this number over 8 years, about time I ditched it!

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Happy

'Elf n Safety note....

If you use this service to make cold calls during "peak commuting times" .... what are your legal liabilities? Do you have to do a risk assessment beforehand , if you're a company?

...Should be interesting... Verrrrry interesting!

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Si

It seems I'm on the list

Although I didn't want to sign up to confirm it. I'll be opting out at the first chance I get, but what's the betting they never bother offering people the opt-out?

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Register investigation?

...Into how they're getting this information. I'm on it multiple times and I don't give permission for my mobile number to be passed on.

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Coat

Consent

"Generally it comes from companies who collect mobile telephone numbers from customers in the course of doing business and have been given permission by the customers to share those numbers."

>>Er-HEM.<<

The case is usually that such consent is implied by some piece of small print hidden on a companies T&C's rather than any actually informed consent from the person who is the object of the re-sold details.

Mines the one with 'fuck capitalism' across the back.

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Happy

Opt out

From the site:

You can become ex-directory by texting the letter ‘E’ to 118800 from the mobile phone you want to be made ex directory

So I have - I have more free texts than I'll ever use anyway.

4 weeks is RUBBISH though. It's just updating a flag on a database. What DB are they using, some kind of whelk stall stuff? Access, perhaps?

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Got me too.

This annoys me greatly. Sure I can file a DPA request to find out what information they have on me, but I don't believe I can find out where they got it from, and that's what irks me.

Someone, somewhere has broken that particular law by passing on my details, and they appear to be able to do it with impunity.

I imagine if an enterprising lawyer were reading this and were to take a fiver from each interested party, s/he would very quickly have a large enough fund to take them to court to find out.

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4 weeks?

What kind of crappy database are they running that takes 4 weeks to delete a record - or to set a flag next to it? It's not the sort of thing that should require any human intervention, so it should be able to take effect immediately.

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Meh

Anyone who knows my name, where I live and has a genuine reason to contact me would either have my number already or be able to get it without paying £1

And if the people who don't have a genuine reason to contact me want to pay £1 to be rejected, be my guest.

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lutin

This is utter tripe.

I am absolutely positive that I am the only person in the world with my first name and last name and yet when I put in these details along with my town it tells me that they've found more than one person with those details.

Nonsense. I've also only ever had one phone number.

I'm not going to put in more detailed search criteria, for fear that the are actually harvesting that data through the form.

/tinfoil hat off now

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shiote

What a complete shoite worthless serivce.. If I am on the DB then I am getting off it PDQ!!

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Unhappy

Oh, and the feedback form insists you fill in the agree to T&C's box

So no chance there, because I don't. Also no response to earlier text unsubscribing.

Anonymous uncontactable and they claim they have my number.

Very pissed off.

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