Slanted "facts" from
the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
The following is an except from the document
ID and My Privacy: What Do I Need to Know?" from the
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.
Notice that this document lists 10 reasons
to choose Complete Blocking, and only three anemic reasons in
favor of Selective Blocking. Although each of the reasons to choose
Complete Blocking is in itself legitimate, the total of these
special cases probably constitute a tiny fraction of 1% of all
subscribers. I find it outrageous that public policy regarding
the convenience and useability of the phone sytem can be set by
such a small group.
This whole document gives me the creeps.
Notice the tabloid-like use of boldface to guide your thinking
(all the while using the word "choice" liberally). I
particularly like the cloak-and-daggger warnings in the last paragraph
describing when Selective Blocking is a good choice. Doesn't this
strike you as borderline paranoia?
"Remember, Selective Blocking puts
you at risk for the occasional slip-up -- by yourself, guests,
the babysitter, or children. A single call where you or a guest
forget to enter the Selective Blocking code (*67) can leave you
open to unwanted marketing or, worse, a stalker or harasser.
Post the blocking sticker provided by the phone company on your
phone so you and others are reminded of the blocking option you
have selected. When you visit others and use their phone, always
ask which blocking option they use."
Caller ID and My Privacy: What
Do I Need to Know
Choosing Complete Blocking. Your decision to choose Selective or Complete
Blocking depends in large part on the risk you face if your phone
number is revealed to someone else. The higher the risk, the more
likely you will want to choose Complete Blocking. Your phone number
will automatically be blocked for every call you make when
you select Complete Blocking. You may unblock individual calls
by pressing *82 before dialing the number (1182 on rotary phones).
Listed below are situations in which you
might want to choose Complete Blocking.
- You have an unlisted phone number.
In other words, you have decided that your telephone privacy
is very important, and you are willing to pay a monthly fee to
the phone company to keep your number private. You want Complete
Blocking to prevent your number from being captured by people
and businesses you call.
- You are a victim of stalking, domestic
violence or another form of harassment and must block your
phone number at all times.
- You are a member of a profession
in which the privacy of your home phone is important. You may
at times need to make work-related calls from home and want to
ensure that the persons you call are not able to reach you there.
Some examples are: health care professionals, especially mental
health care providers; school teachers; law enforcement officers;
probation officers who may call parolees from home; judges and
other court officials; social workers; entertainers; IRS and
other government employees.
- You operate a domestic violence shelter
or a safe home and must safeguard the phone number and location
of the residents.
- You want to report crimes to the
police department's Crime Tips Line, but want to remain anonymous.
- You have occasion to call a "help"
hotline and want to remain anonymous. Such hotlines include:
suicide prevention, AIDS information, immigration assistance,
and mental health help lines. Note: If you call 911-emergency
or an 800 or 900 number, your phone number cannot be blocked.
- You do a lot of price shopping
from home and do not want your phone number collected for marketing
purposes by the businesses you call.
- You have visitors to your home
who might use your phone, such as babysitters, your children's
friends, relatives and other guests. You don't want to risk revealing
your number when phone calls are made, so you choose Complete
- You are helping a friend or relative who
is vulnerable to telemarketing scams like get-rich schemes,
sweepstakes and prize offers. To help them limit who is able
to capture their phone number, you suggest they select Complete
- In general, you are someone who is very
conscious of your privacy. You want to take every precaution
to safeguard it and therefore choose Complete Blocking.
Choosing Selective Blocking. If you experience few of the risks listed above,
you are more likely to choose Selective Blocking for your home
phone. Here are some situations where Selective Blocking makes
- Most of the people you call from home
are friends and family. Those who subscribe to Caller
ID don't like to pick up the phone unless they see the phone
number of the caller.
- You live alone, have few visitors, and
are very careful about your use of Selective Blocking.
You are not likely to forget to enter the Selective Blocking
code *67 when you need to shield your number.
- You don't really know how you feel
about phone number privacy, so you choose Selective Blocking
on a trial basis to see how it works for you. You might change
to Complete Blocking in the future if you find that you prefer
a higher degree of privacy.
Remember, Selective Blocking puts you at
risk for the occasional slip-up -- by yourself, guests, the babysitter,
or children. A single call where you or a guest forget to enter
the Selective Blocking code (*67) can leave you open to unwanted
marketing or, worse, a stalker or harasser. Post the blocking
sticker provided by the phone company on your phone so you and
others are reminded of the blocking option you have selected.
When you visit others and use their phone, always ask which blocking
option they use.