Cell phone owners could find their names in the phone book

| Monday, August 30, 2004

Wireless phone users could soon be listed in the phone books just like anyone else. And just like people who have traditional phones, they will have a choice as to whether they are listed or not.

The New York Times reported that in October, most of the larger cell phone companies will begin to compile a list of people and phone numbers to make the information publicly accessible.

Currently, people who look up a number in the phone book, call the 411-information line or look up a number in an online directory cannot find the numbers of cell phone users. The relative privacy of cell phone numbers has created difficulties for some people as more and more U.S. citizens completely disconnect from their land lines and rely solely on their cell phones to communicate.

That change has prompted other changes as well, including an initiative, now under way, to connect cell phones to the 9-1-1 network to allow emergency operators to see the location of a person calling the 9-1-1 number.

The Cellular Telephone Industry Association, an industry organization, said that consumers’ numbers would be added only if they choose to be included in the directory. In addition, the group said in a statement, wireless companies do not plan to charge phone owners who choose to opt out.

However, despite that, Verizon, one of the largest cell companies, said it would not submit its customers’ information, The Times reported.

According to John Siebert, project manager of the OOIDA Foundation, 91 percent of truckers responding to the OOIDA member survey said they used a cell phone in their daily truck operation. More than 81 percent said the cell phone was the main form of personal communication.