Welcome to the bloggy home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Percolate and general internet tinkerer. This site is about media, culture, technology, and randomness. It's been around since 2004 (I'm pretty sure). Feel free to get in touch. Get in touch.

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Cell Phone Do-Not-Call Not True

I’ve been getting emails lately about the need to register cell phone numbers on the national do-not-call list. Well, folks, it turns out that this, like most email forwards, are simply not true. I’ll explain in a bit, but here’s what the forward looks like:

Starting Jan 1, 2005, all cell phone numbers will be made public to telemarketing firms. So this means as of Jan 1, your cell phone may start ringing off the hook with telemarketers, but unlike your home phone, most of you pay for your incoming calls. These telemarketers will eat up your free minutes and end up costing you money in the long run.

According to the National Do Not Call List, you have until Dec. 15th 2004 to get on the national “Do not call list” for cell phones. They said that you need to call 1-888-382-1222 from the cell phone that you wish to have put on the “do not call list” to be put on the list. They also said you can do it online at www.donotcall.gov

Before continuing, it’s important to note that it can’t hurt to register your cell phone number, however, this December 15th deadline is absurd. This according to Snopes.com:

Some versions of the exhortation to cell phone users to add their names to the Do Not Call Registry erroneously state there is a 15 December 2004 deadline for getting listed. Says Lois Greisman, the Federal Trade Commission official who oversees the anti-telemarketing registry: “There is no deadline; there never has been a deadline to register.”

It’s most likely that this email is somehow related to a cell phone 411 directory that is being developed by most of the major carriers. According to the Washington Post [registration required]:

The distress appears to stem from a plan, unveiled this fall, by several cell phone companies to set up national directory assistance, a 411 system, for cell phone numbers. Sprint Corp., Cingular Wireless, AT&T Wireless Services Inc., Nextel Communications Inc., Alltel Corp. and T-Mobile USA Inc. have hired Qsent Inc. to develop the directory; Verizon Wireless, the nation’s largest wireless provider is not participating.

Next spring, each cell phone company will begin asking its customers if they want their numbers included in the wireless directory, according to Qsent spokesman Jeff Fishburn. Inclusion is free, but customers have to choose, or opt in, to have their number in the directory. The directory is not expected to be activated until next fall at the earliest.

Putting your number in the do-not-call registry will not keep you out of 411.

In the end, this doesn’t matter that much. It can’t hurt you to include your number in the registry, but it’s creating a lot of unnecessary worry. (Also, if you haven’t learned it yet, before you forward anything, go to Snopes.com and look into it. They’re an urban legends reference page and they cover practically everything.)

This has been a public service announcement from your friends at NoahBrier.com.

December 10, 2004