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118800 Mobile Phone Directory Not A Privacy Threat Says ICO

In a move that could help people in searching out the mobile numbers of people whose number they don’t know, a start up firm will begin offering mobile phone directory service from around next week.

The new directory service, which will be available through or by calling on that number, has already sparked a wave of criticisms among privacy campaigners, with myriad of complaints were lodged on to consumer watchdog forums; however, as of now, only the website is live.

Connectivity, the startup firm behind this contentious service, has assured that the service won’t breach privacy rights of the mobile phone users, and asserted that it had already consulted with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) about the same.

With around more than 42 million numbers in its database, the directory service is all set to be launched on 18 June. Unlike traditional telephone directory service, the mobile phone directory will require people to feed in name, surname, as well as location of the users in order to find their mobile numbers .

Furthermore, if the information so entered matches with the profile of more than one person, then the service would ask about other details, including street name, postcode, etc. However, the service further offers opt-out feature, for those who simply don’t want their details to be there on the database.

Besides, the ICO has already given its green signal to the service, saying that it did comply with the existing laws, and was only a bit different from the firms who use such databases for cold calling.

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Our Comments

It is easy to feel threatened by this new mobile service but from what we've learnt the data they collated does not (and should not) have included minors phone numbers. Connectivity has also said that they will respect the rights of mobile phone users. Furthermore, the price of each inquiry (£1) will surely dissuade spammers.

Related Links

Mobile phone directory to launch

(BBC News)

Data watchdog clears mobile phone directory

(The Register)

Millions of mobile phone numbers held on new directory service


Mobile phone directory service faces consumer uproar


Mobile directory enquires launched


118800 to give out mobile details to anyone

(Tech Digest)

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.