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July 18, 2011

Phonebooks.com, Verizon Wireless Stop Sharing Cell Phone Numbers


By SIP Trunking Report Contributor



Telecom service provider, Verizon Wireless, and Phonebooks.com, an online telephone directory that offers free cell phone number information, announced that Phonebooks.com will discontinue sharing cell phone numbers in their directory.


Phonebooks.com started offering information on cell phone numbers last August with a database of over 2.4 million numbers. The company decided to discontinue the service as customers expressed concerns about lack of privacy.

Phonebooks.com worked with Verizon Wireless to take a joint stance in addressing consumer privacy issues. Until a utilitarian solution can be found, Phonebooks.com will not display information associated with phone numbers that were originally issued as a mobile phone number.

“Even if a consumer's mobile number is obtained lawfully by Phonebooks.com, we believe that Verizon Wireless customers should have the opportunity to provide informed consent before it is published,” said Steve Zipperstein, vice president of external affairs for Verizon Wireless, in a statement.  “We are pleased that the leadership team at Phonebooks.com agrees that the safety and privacy of all consumers is a high priority.”

Company officials said consumers should be vigilant in protecting their personal information, including mobile phone numbers. Documents such as county and property records, which include names and contact information, may contain their cell phone numbers.  This information is often publicly available.

“Our wireless phone database was provided at no charge, to benefit the public and assist people in finding the information they were looking for,” said Aaron Rosenthal, president of Phonebooks.com. “While anyone, at any time, was free to remove themselves from this directory, we understand that some people may have specific privacy concerns in regard to their cell phone number.”

Recently, Verizon Wireless announced that 85 Verizon Wireless Communications Stores across the country have been awarded the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star certification. Additionally, 41 communications stores have received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).


Rajani Baburajan is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Rajani's articles, please visit her columnist page.