Should Cell Phone Numbers Be Publicly Accessible?

Should Cell Phone Numbers Be Publicly Accessible?

Back in the dark ages, when only a few people had cell phones, there was no question that cell phone numbers should be private. They were only used for emergencies and were far removed from the general public. Times have changed. From your grandmother to your neighbor’s 12 year old, everyone has a cell phone. Now that cell phones are as common as land lines, the question of whether or not cell phone numbers should be included in public directories is up for debate.

The Argument For Cell Phone Directories

Cell phones have become so popular that many people have eliminated land lines from their homes and opted to have a cell phone. Since they are so common, there has been a push to add cell phone numbers to phone directories. Cell phones can be the most reliable way to get in touch with people; these numbers should be easily accessible. Land line numbers are easily found, if there is no block on them, but cell phone numbers are not. Those who are pro cell phone directories also argue that if anyone wants to opt out of a public phone directory, they can do so. Everyone will still be allowed privacy if the want it. The bottom line is that phones should be treated the same way whether they are land lines or mobile.

The Argument Against Cell Phone Directories

Cell phones have been in common use for over a decade and the phone numbers are still as private today as they were when they were first introduced. While it seems like it would be a natural leap to add cell phone numbers to the public phone book, it has not happened. People simply want to keep these numbers private. Several years ago Intelius Inc. thought they were performing a public service by listing 90 million cell phone numbers online in a public directory. When the general public found out about the directory, there was an uproar. After a lot of negative press and threats of lawsuits, the directory was taken offline.

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The other argument against making cell phone numbers public has to do with the charges incurred by phone owners. Some cell phone users pay for all incoming calls and texts on their phone; their plan is not unlimited with a flat fee. They worry that their bill will sky rocket with calls and messages from telemarketers as soon as their number becomes public. While there may be a list of private numbers, not everyone abides by it. It is fairly easy to mask where a text originated from to get around the privacy block. For these cell phone owners, it is not a matter of privacy, it is a matter of unwanted cell phone charges.

If you own a cell phone, and chances are you do, you need to educate yourself on the pros and cons of making cell phone numbers available to the public. It is essential to have an opinion on this debate that will affect you, your family and possibly your wallet.

Victor Converse is a private investigator and freelance blogger for reverse phone lookup.org – one of his favorite tools for finding out what he needs to know in the information age.


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