Tuesday, September 14, 2004

New rules for reverse phone directory lookup

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has just produced guidelines regulating how incumbent local carriers can offer reverse directory assistance. (Instead of asking for a name and locality to get the number, this service provides name and location when given the phone number.) The issue has a couple of privacy issues, both pro and con. On one hand, it provides personal information that the individual may not want handed out, based solely on their phone number. On the other hand, the service may give people more information about who is calling them, giving them greater control over intrusions into their seclusion. Hard call. According to this article in ITBusiness.Ca, they've hit the balance by only providing name and general locality, not home address. And, presumably, unlisted numbers will not be included in the directory.

CRTC's reverse directory search policy addresses privacy advocates' concerns

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) recently established a framework for the provision of Reverse Search Directory Assistance (RSDA) offered by incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs). RSDA is an expanded directory assistance service that provides the listed name and address associated with a specific telephone number.

The Commission has decided to allow ILECs to perform information searches when presented with telephone numbers under certain conditions.

As part of the public process leading to the current CRTC decision, the ILECs stated that none of objectives of the Telecommunications Act would be adversely affected if they provided RSDA. On the other hand, groups such as the Anti-Poverty Organization and the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, argued that this service contravenes the privacy protection provided by the Act.


Because of the significant safety concerns over providing street addresses, the Commission decided the only information that can be provided by RSDA searches are name and general locality, such as city, town or postal code.

There were some concerns expressed that RSDA service could be a valuable asset to commercial entities involved with telemarketing. They could use the service to determine the names and addresses of those calling for information about products and services without their knowledge or consent.

To address this issue, the new regulations prohibit the use of RSDA for compiling and updating telemarketing lists. ..."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


It is really mind boggling and annoying when we receive phone calls from unlisted or suspect phone numbers.

I am aware of a site that allows one to investigate unknown or suspect phone numbers that aren't listed in the phone book (reverse cell phone & unlisted number lookup tools & techniques). It is http://www.backgroundrecordsregistry.com

It is really worth a visit.

Just a thought,