Tuesday, January 3, 2006
Carmel on the Case: Cell Phones
For many people, it is a monthly mistake. Your cell phone bill arrives- and as usual- you've gone way over your minutes. But if you think your bill can't get much higher, think again. In tonight's Carmel on the Case, investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero shows us why your cell number could soon be public knowledge.
WSVN--It's one of the few things you trust is secret.
Unless you decide to give it away.
"Your cell phone is supposed to be a more private line."
There's no way for someone to find your cell phone number.
Or for you to find theirs.
"I like to keep my cell phone number private."
But we found cell phone numbers may soon be as easy to access as home phones.
This oregon company is creating a cell phone directory assistance - a system some worry will invade your privacy-and inflate your phone bill.
Beth Givens: "If your telephone number is in some kind of directory or it could be sold to third parties you are all that much easier to contact.
The company - QSENT - wants cell phone companies to give up their subscribers' numbers.
If it has its way, it will make everyone's number public faster than you can say...
Greg Keene: "May I help you?"
It could even have the program up and running sometime this year.
Greg keene: "The goal of this service is provide 411 service for those who want it and need it, nothing more."
But some cell phone users worry that will allow unwanted calls from annoying neighbors, persistant co-workers, even a bad blind date-sending phone bills out of control.
Greg Keene: "It would be wasting my minutes and my bill would go extremely high."
Not to mention, it's a whole new territory for telemarketers.
But QSENT promises--customers must choose to be included--cell phone info will not be sold-and no paper directory will be printed.
Greg Keene: "It will not be used to power lists, it will not be used to create an internet website, it will not be used to create any other type of service."
Sounds good - but breaking that promise - could be perfectly legal.
That's why on Capitol Hill, congressman Ed Markey is pushing a bill to keep phone numbers private... Or he warns, it'll soon be open season on your cell.
Representative Edward Markey: "The phone companies should have no right to create a directory that allows anyone to call anyone on their cell phone any time they want."
Carmel Cafiero: "We found - right now - some cell phone companies are still deciding whether they'll hand over customer's numbers - so check with your company to see if their systems will protect you. Carmel Cafiero 7 News."
If you have a story for Carmel:
Call her in Dade at 305-627-CLUE
Or in Broward at 954-921-CLUE