Hello again Richard
Here are the answers to your questions from 118800.co.uk:
118 800 is happy to answer the questions you have posed. There is a lot of misinformation being published about our service and we welcome the chance to set the record straight.
1. If we become ex-directory will you still sell access to our details to other private companies? How do intend to stop companies abusing your service.
Whether someone is ex-directory or not, we NEVER sell the information we hold on people in our directory to third parties.
As the service doesn’t disclose mobile phone numbers, or any other personal information, to enquirers we fail to see how this service can be abused by companies. 118 800’s mobile connection service exists to put friends and acquaintances in touch with each other when one party has lost the other’s mobile phone number, or simply doesn’t have it to hand. The service always announces the enquirer by name to the person in the directory, so the latter will never be in put in the position of having to take a call from someone they don’t recognise
2. How can we have our data completely removed from your service? If we can’t what are your reasons and justifications?
You can have your data completely removed from our service. But we advise you simply to become ex-directory so that – when we refresh our data – we can ensure you remain ex-directory if your details come to us again.
3. What steps have been taken to protect the contact details of children?
We have no children listed in our directory. We have to be able to positively identify each person in our directory as being of adult status before we accept them as a listing. However, where an adult has used a phone then passed it onto a child, the adult may be listed in our directory with that phone. So we do advise parents to make children’s phones ex-directory.
4. Why isn’t your service an opt in directory which gives the individual the option of being apart of your service?
Our service operates on an opt-out basis, like a landline directory enquiry service, in order to achieve a scale that will provide a useful service to people. We all lead busy lives and would never get round to opting in to something like a directory enquiries service that plays such a small part in our day to day lives. We believe it’s our responsibility to ensure that people know we exist and that we make it easy and free for them to become ex-directory. We would strongly suggest it’s easier to find out how to become ex-directory with 118 800 than it is with landline directory enquiry services in the UK.
5. Why is a directory enquiry service asking people to remove their telephone contact details? Doesn’t this defeat the object of your service?
We’re not asking you to become ex-directory. We believe this is a useful service for lots of us on occasions we need to get hold of someone when they’re out and about and we don’t have their number on us. We’re simply saying that for anyone who decides this doesn’t fit with how they use their mobile phone then we‘ll make it easy to become ex-directory
6. Who is your data protection officer and what are their contact details?
We have a privacy function, not a named office. In the UK (unlike in other EU countries) there is no obligation to have a named officer. You can write to us at:
118 800 Privacy Office, PO Box 2747 Reading RG30 4ZQ
7. What are you going to do about the website scalability problems which have prevented many users from becoming ex-directory?
Importantly, there is no mobile connection service being operated by 118 800 as of 9th July 2009. All ex-directory requests made by people in our directory before the service was temporarily suspended will be processed. The ex-directory function will be restored as soon as the service becomes operational again.
The reason we took the decision to suspend the service was to improve the website service to customers. We launched our Beta service on 3rd June 2009 and had hoped to implement developments whilst remaining fully operational. But the attention our site has attracted has made this impossible. We intend to be up and running with an improved service shortly.
Some reassuring PR answers but I’m still concerned that children are vulnerable to being contacted. Most children have their phones purchased by a parent with their parents credit/debit card details. This means the vast majority of phones are registered to adults. Also the easiest top up mechanisms provided by the mobile companies require that the credit/debit cards that are used to top up pay as you go services require the registered phone user and the card holder to be the same. Maybe this is something the mobile companies also need to be looking into, could we have a flag put on the phone that this phone actually belongs to a child either at the mobile company or with you? How do we do this?
The plea just to become ex-directory and not have our data removed is a little concerning “when we refresh our data – we can ensure you remain ex directory”. This feels a little like a threat saying we are going to get your data sooner or later. The point is you have no right to hold data about me or use that in marketing, you’ve provided us with no advise on how to remain out of your data set for ever , I never gave you permission to hold data on me in the first place. If I have to spend time every month requesting you remove my data your company is causing me an inconvenience and I believe that this is illegal in the eyes of the law under the Data Protection act. As for the argument about opting out, when I had my land line connected I was asked if I wanted to be ex directory, when purchasing my mobile phone I was never given this option. Yes your correct we all have busy lives and finding the time to opt out is also difficult. How about you contact us all and ask us if we wish to be in the directory? After all that’s what happened with land lines. Asking us to become ex directory means you can boast that you have X amount of numbers in your data base and is nothing more than publicity, I believe this is the real reason you don’t want us to remove our data. If we all remove our numbers you don’t actually have a product to market. Its our data and we have a right.
I believe you miss understood question 5, which maybe down to my wording but my point was, why wont 118 800 let me publish their contact details? Its a little odd that a directory enquiry service doesn’t want their numbers to be published. After all that’s what your business is about.
As the ex directory service is down how do people currently register to become ex directory? It would be nice to provide alternative contact methods, we have a email address now but how about letting us know who we can call?