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Keith Appleyard

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A place to share stuff that isn't at all fintec related but is amusing, absurd or scary.

How to Opt Out of the new UK Mobile Phone Directory

10 June 2009  |  18209 views  |  1

Are you aware of the new controversial 118800 mobile phone directory which launches next week?

Do you want to learn how to opt out of it?

Start up firm Connectivity (www.118800.co.uk) has bought lists of 16 million phone numbers – around 40 per cent of those in regular use in the UK – and addresses, which are typically used in the premium rate industry, to set up its service.  The lists typically cost them about 15 pence per record.

Connectivity insists it is 'privacy friendly' because it will not give out mobile numbers, but instead act as an intermediary to put users in touch with whoever they are searching for.

Instead, operators will find and dial the target's number and ask whether they are prepared to receive the call. If the target (you) doesn't answer their phone, then they'll send you an SMS message with the callers Name & Phone number for you to respond to.

For either transaction Connectivity is going to charge the Enquirer £1.  

The 'search' criteria is pretty broad : First Name, Last Name & Town. If they find multiple matches then they ask for more details like Address or Company Name. So I did a search for myself, and I'm in there! Yet my cellphone is recorded with the Telephone Preference Service – "the central opt out register on which you can record your preference not to receive unsolicited sales and marketing telephone calls" – so I shouldn't be on their database? 

Of course I'm fervently hoping that via Caller ID I'll be able to recognise Connectivity calling me and automatically Cancel the call – but then I'm going to be irritated a minute later with the SMS Message. 

Beware that Connectivity is using the tag line "start searching for friends now" – so whilst it might be nice to hear from old friends via Friends Reunited or Facebook, I don't want to be disturbed when I'm driving the car or in a Business meeting! Its bad enough having Sales people call me 9-5 on my Cellphone.    

Anyone who does not want to be contacted via the mobile phone directory must Opt Out. 

The Information Commissioners Office said in a statement "….Opting out of the service should be made as easy as possible for anyone who does not want their details to be used for the directory service…."

So how do you opt out? Well in Connectivity's parlance you can elect to 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." 

Connectivity doesn't acknowledge your SMS request.

As it goes live next week, the sooner you opt out the better. I'm intrigued whether the Information Commissioner thinks that a 4-week delay for opt out is justifiable?




Comments: (1)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 18 June, 2009, 14:52


Thanks for this. If you go to its website too, it is possible to follow the link to make yourself ex-directory. You type in your phone number and it sends you a five digit number to confirm you are the owner of the phone. You then type in the five digit number in to the correct box on the webpage and voila. Hopefully no unwanted calls.



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job title IT Consultant
location Bromley
member since 2008
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Focussing on IT Strategy and Systems Architecture issues, primarily in the Payment Card Industry - scope is Global. SME on topics such as Data Protection and Encryption.

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