Wireless Privacy Act to Protect Georgian's Cell Phone Numbers
|Monday, January 24, 2005||
Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774
ATLANTA, GA – Governor Sonny Perdue announced today a new legislative initiative to provide privacy protection for consumer’s cell phone numbers – the Georgia Wireless Privacy Act. The legislation will be introduced by State Senators David Shafer and Cecil Staton.
“Georgians should not have to worry that their personal cell phone numbers could be made public without their consent,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “It is important that we act to protect their privacy and help our citizens avoid the nuisance of unwanted calls and text messages.”
The purpose of the legislation is to protect Georgians in light of the upcoming disclosure of private cell phone numbers in the nationwide “Wireless 411 Directory” being organized by the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association and several major wireless providers.
The Governor’s legislation provides that a wireless service provider must first obtain the express consent of a consumer before their name and number are included in any directory or directory database. The form for obtaining the consumer’s express consent must also meet certain specified requirements. For example, the form must be signed and dated. It must also state that by signing the form, the consumer is consenting to have their number sold or licensed as part of a list.
The legislation will give consumers who provide express prior consent the ability to revoke that consent at any time. The service provider must comply with that request within a reasonable time period, not to exceed 60 days. The legislation also provides consumers may not be charged for electing out of the directory.
There are currently no state safeguards protecting cell phone numbers from being published in a directory, making them available to solicitors or open to text-message spam and other unwanted calls. As incoming calls and text messages often cost airtime minutes for cell phone users, publishing cell phone numbers in a directory could not only compromise privacy, but it could prove costly as well through the consumption of usage minutes.