Mobile Interference…

18 06 2009

So some smart alec has sat down to ponder their next entrepreneurial move. The person, or people, in question came up with the brainbox idea that we need a mobile phone directory. After all, so the logic must go, we have a landline telephone book, and therefore will gladly welcome a mobile directory. Apparently.

The company, operating from 118800.co.uk, has bought the numbers from different companies and collated them all into ‘the database’. If ever you have filled in a form asking for a contact number, you could well be in this system. Without your knowledge. Unless, of course, you are already aware of this and are (a) happy with it, or (b) have deregistered. Except that even if you have deregistered, it will take four weeks for your name and number to be removed from the database. So you’ll still be searchable for this period.

It is not that the idea is simply unneccessary which is the problem. By which I mean that if I want people to call me then I will give them my number. After all, there is a reason I haven’t given it to people who do not have it. Of course it is a point, but that’s not my main gripe.

Nor is the main problem that you have to opt out, rather than opt in to the system. I don’t feel I should have to opt out of a system I was not even aware I was part of. Again, this is a problem, but it is not my main concern.

My main concern is that the company have done this a little behind the back of the public, assuming that people who have put their numbers in for something else will be happy to be part of the system (which is of course completely disjointed thinking). Perhaps a consultation, or even some form of media coverage before this was running would have helped matters. As far as I’ve been aware, there has been neither. The creators of this have worked on one massive assumption, namely that people will welcome such as thing. I’m not sure that they will.

There was one particularly interesting case cited on the radio today. One woman (she remained anonymous) who had rung in admitted she had genuine concerns for her daughter from her former husband. The man was known to be stalker-ish, a criminal, and a threat to the child. The court orders apparently proved as much. By making this facility available, it has given the man a route back into the child’s life. He can now find his daughters mobile number and, using deceptive methods, much more easily gain access to her once again. Now call me old fashioned, but surely the court orders are there for a reason?

I’m really unsure, and slightly uneasy about the whole thing. Pranking people has suddenly become a whole lot easier. Imagine receiving a call from 118800 saying you had a call from a friend, accepting it, only to find it is someone else who has rung up to, in effect, bully you. There is no way of blocking who can call you and who can’t. The only option therefore is to opt out. Obviously in four weeks time, but you can last that long suffering at the hands of someone, or some group of people, can’t you?

And so, I’ve now opted out. If perhaps I was aware I was on the system before it launched then my own misgivings would have been quelled somewhat. If you want my mobile number, perhaps you could try the very old-fashioned method of just asking?

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3 responses

19 06 2009
brigidjones

Can’t find it! Am rather interested in it though, I wouldn’t mind so much if they’d actually announced it and allowed people a good opt-out but that’s bloody cheeky that they’ve done it without asking anyone

19 06 2009
Luke_D

Sorry, there was a typo in the address. I’ve changed it now, and added the link.

20 06 2009
brigidjones

It can’t find me. Hurrah.

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