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Rep. Pitts: Congress must show leadership on wireless directory

Location: Washington, DC

Rep. Pitts: Congress must show leadership on wireless directory
March 3, 2005

Washington -Renewing his effort to protect the privacy of cell phone numbers, Congressman Joe Pitts (R, PA-16) today reintroduced the Wireless 411 Privacy Act with Congressman Edward Markey (D, MA-07) and 21 other Members of Congress. The bill was also introduced in the 108th Congress.

"This directory could be a great service," said Congressman Pitts, "but it has to be done in the right way. Several states recognized this and have passed or are considering laws to protect consumers. They are doing this because Washington has refused to take action.

"That has to change. Congress must show leadership and pass protections for consumers. These protections should be flexible enough to allow the industry to innovate, but rigid enough to guarantee consumers' privacy. That's what this bill does," said Congressman Pitts.

The Wireless 411 Privacy Act, states that -

"Opt In" for Existing Users - wireless carriers must have clear preauthorization from all existing wireless users before including the user's name and phone number in the Wireless Directory Assistance database.

"Opt Out" for New Users - at the time of entering into an agreement with wireless users, wireless carriers must allow all new users a clear conspicuous mechanism to decline to participate in the Wireless Directory Assistance database.
No fees for being unlisted - No fees can be charged to consumers for being unlisted in the database.

Congressman Pitts added, "We've made great progress on this issue over the last year and a half. When Congressman Markey and I introduced this bill in 2003, very few people knew about plans for this directory. Today, it's almost common knowledge and it's clear consumers would support the idea if their privacy is protected. Congress must demonstrate the leadership our constituents have come to expect. We need to pass the Wireless 411 Privacy Act."

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