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back to article Mobile directory made legal threats to get personal details

The company behind a controversial new directory of private mobile phone numbers threatened O2 with legal action when it refused to provide its customers' personal details, The Register has learned. Start up firm Connectivity, which will launch its 118800 service next week, approached O2 18 months ago for access to its customer …

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Opting out...

Well I've been to their website and opted out, even though I'm not entirely sure I was on their system in the first place, in which case, I've just given them my number.

They say I'll now be marked as "ex-directory" if someone tries to contact me but but there was, however, no option to say "I don't want my number passed on to anyone, anywhere, any time which strikes me as dubious.

Still, I've saved their number on my phone under the name "Junk", so anything that appears from it will be ignored!

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Surely...

...swapping personal details like this breaks the Data Protection Act.

If I receive a message from them, I'll be making a DPA complaint. If we all do so, we can sink the bastards and get the law tightened up.

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Can we just...

... use the 1188000 service to get put through to the private mobile number of the managing director of Connectivity and get them to make sure we are removed from their list straight away? After all if the MD believes in their product they will have all their details in the system so we can contact them.

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A good match.....

...for Phorm, expect a merger soon.

I tried out their service via the web, they appear to have no record of me.

I don't like the opt-out form either, not only has it a stupid captcha wotsit, but they're asking you to enter a number that you don't know they've got. I would advise everyone not to opt themselves out until these pond life actually contact them, otherwise how do you know that they won't use the numbers they glean and some data mining of other sources to match people up to their mobile number.

I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that there are a class of businesses that need to be nuked from orbit, just to be sure....

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Hot tip for when these charletans call

Ask them hold, go outside and mow the lawn.

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Linux

@Cameron Colley

There are two numbers on their website. You can text from the number you want to remove. Or ring their 0800 number up

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Virgin Mobile

Have just told me that they did not sell their user data to connectivbastardy. Now all I need to hear is that they are scrapping any work with phuckorm.

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Removing numbers

I just rang the 0800 number from my landline and had both my better halfs' number and my own removed.

The chap with whom I spoke was very understanding of the privacy issues and as wel as assuring me about the possible "marketing" use of the numbers voiced his own concerns about the service - do be honest he did not believe the "service" will survive.

The two numbers have been marked as ex-directory but not expunged as removal would lead to the reinstatement during the next phase of db update.

The reason for the four-week delay in "removal" is that connectivity are only paying a third party for a four-weekly update to the db; they are not performing the actions themselves, instead farming it out to that (un-named) third party for sanitisation.

I have additionally written to phonepayplus, given them all the details of my complaint and if I find either of our numbers on there in future I have given notice of legal action, not limited to, but including, misuse of private information, possibly illegally obtained private information, other DPA abuses and extortion based upon the fact that it will cost the user to opt-out of the "service" given their standard removal instructions.

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(il)legal threats

Errr, the spamflingers might be entitled to REQUEST information, that does not mean the ISP's are obliged to hand it over.

If they are too thick to understand the meaning of request then they surely cannot be trusted with private information. I can't see them being any better than politicians or (un)civil servants!

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Anonymous Coward

Do *not* call 118800 to opt out

This is their way of collecting valid mobile numbers - they have no intention of opting you out, they are using this purely to collect numbers.

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Remind you of somebody?

I only ask because what we have here is a company with a business model that will only work if they adopt sneaky, underhand practices and then try to take the moral high ground when these practices are called into question.

Are they perhaps related to Phorm? We should be told.

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Here are their own words - my correspondence

Note: I didn't use my own name :-). I start from the premise of not beating people up if I want to have information, they too could make mistakes (basic algo; assume c*ckup before evil, unless it's MS).

They may have been agressive in data acquisition according to the article, but at least their communication is polite, swift and to the point.

My email to them:

===============

I would like to know the route by which I can (a) establish if I am present in this directory and (b) -if true- establish the route by which you have acquired that information.

I don't doubt you accept data in good faith, but my many years with Data Protection have shown me that my data rights are far from managed well - so badly that I started to consult on the matter. You can email me at xxx

[Side note: this is one of the DPA flaws - you get contacted by someone, and when you ask how they got your data you're told they have "bought a list" - there appears to be no decent route to force such a company to indicate where they got the data from so you can go after the bastards that resell your info without permission. But I digress]

Their answer:

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Dear Mr xxx

Thank you very much from your comments, we do only buy data in good faith and carry out very stringent audits on all of our data suppliers. The quickest way for you to find out if we have you on our database would to do a search on yourself (this will be free of charge - you are charge nothing at this point).

If you refer to our privacy policy page on our website full details of where to write to and the information needed to enable you to find out where we obtained your number are there.

Please ignore the £10.00 fee request, this in no longer applicable.

We have to ask you for a certain amount of information to be able to track back where your number was obtained. We can assure you this information is not used for any other purpose apart from that.

By the end of today we will have a facility available on our website so that you can remove yourself from the directory.

Kind regards

[I have removed the name]

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Phone directories?

What use are phone directories for individuals anyway? when was the last time you looked someone up in one?

For them to work it would need to publish your home address too. Talk about stalkers charter.

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Legislation?

As far as I am aware the 2003 DQ 'liberalisation' only covered land line (technically, all numbers previously offered through BT DQ which did not include non-geo/mobile) numbers, so if that is the legislation that they attempted to threaten the Mobile Operators with then I'm not surprised that they got told to f-off.

If I remember rightly, post-liberalisation, BT adopted a 4-tier system which most of the larger TelCos also use, these are;

DE (Directory Entry, DQ and Phone Book/web listing)

DQR (DQ Only, Provider marketing calls)

XDNC (Ex-Directory no calls, except Provider marketing calls)

NQR (No listing at all, no own Provider calls)

DE, DQR and XDNC entries are obliged to be passed on to 3rd party DQ services, NQR are not. DQ services are legally obliged to honour the tier, so even though XDNC is passed to other services, they are only entitled to tell callers that the number is not listed, they cannot blindly connect a call either.

It's worth double-checking with your provider what tiers they offer and what you're currently classified as.

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Note Directory Enquires is opt out.

As is Phorm. Of course unlike DE if you block cookies or scrub your cache you don't stay opted out.

You have to request to go ex-directory. It seems that where landlines are concerned most people are not that bothered.

But this is not a service provided (say) jointly by all the mobile phone companies.

Its a business. And it links A.N.Other to you more or less wherever you are.

With data that's 5 years out of date (and I guess the caller pays for the number up front) it won't be in business for very long. And what about that very poor attitude to data protection.

Was it started by ex-govt employees?

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Paris Hilton

tmobile

I'm assuming these guys have sold my old number, as well as my wifes current number because we opt out of everything - no matter what the company.... and the reason I left tmobile was when I started getting cold called by lots of different companies just after I got my renewal letter from them... same with my wife... I won't ever been going back to them...

Amusingly when they asked why I was leaving, and I said because of cold calls from people they sold my number to, they actually asked for my new number with o2 so they could inform me of future offers?!?! ODFO!

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Thank you Orange :)

Thank you Orange :)

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If...

If I ever get the first call from this service it will be the last time they ever call me!!! This will be due to me calling their mothers various insulting names for a prelonged amount of time or until they hangup....

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Leave them talking

I had a problem with cold calling on a BT landline. I tried abuse, it didn't work, they are made of stern stuff these cold callers, I asked not to be contacted but they just got someone else to call who would say "oh, I’m soooo sorry, they haven't put into the computer that you don't want to be contacted, but whilst your on the phone" argh. so I came up with a cunning plan, rather than get stressed out about it, I would answer the phone and as soon as I realised it was a cold caller I put the phone on the arm of the chair, left them speaking to Mrs Thin Air, while I went off and did something far more interesting. It seems to work for me because the calls do eventually stop; after all they are wasting their time and money, not mine.

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