telcommunications privacy from telephone &
wireless companies

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Telecommunications and Internet Privacy

Gary Forsee, the CEO former CEO of Sprint, at a San Diego Technology meeting indicated they are interested in push marketing and other advertisements targeting their cellular customers. The following addresses the possibility of using user profiles and data provided to advertisers.

Pudding Media, a San Jose startup, announced intent to provide advertising supported web-based phone service. In order to enhance the value of the ads, Pudding Media proposes to listen to the conversation to display ads relevant to the topic of the conversation.

It is generally possible to block at least the monitoring of the targeted consumer, for example by revoking permission to invade privacy.


Special Privacy Obligations of Telecommunications Common Carriers

The (US) Telecommunications Act, at 47 CFR § 222, prohibits telecommunication common carriers from accessing account information for marketing purposes. An exception is when the customer expressly consents to marketing, and of course when the customer makes an enquiry regarding a specific service from a telecom.

Increased use of "click through" and obfuscated consent requests make a general "opt-out" letter prudent.

Until the FCC actively enforces 47 CFR § 222, telecommunications providers can be expected to ignore the law and accept the cost of lawsuits as part of the cost of doing business. Therefore it is beneficial to keep at least an electronic record of letters sent to common carriers.

This is focused on US law. Such letters are not necessary in most other developed countries.

"Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence." - European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms

Not Legal Advice

This is not legal advice. That's why this is called The Telemarketing Scum Page. If you want legal advice, find a website which provides proper legal advice. One place to look would be a government agency website. If all you want is samples from a webpage of someone ranting, you're already at the right place.

Why This Isn't Legal Advice

It isn't possible to provide a "generic" privacy request. In addition, some of the requests may not entail legal requirements.

The requests in these forms may be unsupported. For example, a request to "be informed whenever information is provided to third parties" may not have direct legal support.

There are other ambiguities I had not sorted out here. For example, I don't know whether the courts regard an internet provider as a "common carrier" for purposes of 47 CFR § 222. What is important is that it is necessary to refute "express consent" made through "click-through" and question-response tricks.

Using the Forms

This form is relevant to telecommunications companies only (because they are subject to the "express consent" requirement of 47 CFR § 222). More general forms are at www.skoozeme/privacy/glba_letter.html

The Forms (finally)


  1. This is in response to an on-line indication of collection of data suggestive of "unique viewer hits" data collection at one of your gateway pages.

    I am in receipt of your form describing various options to "opt out" of disclosure of my personal information. I strongly object to the requirement to "opt out" of disclosure of personal information instead of being asked to expressly consent to such disclosure. I was also unable to determine how to decline my consent to any use of my personal information extending beyond use of the information for servicing my account.
    I wish to withhold my consent to any use of my personal information except as necessary to service my account and meet my requests for goods or services.

  2. This is in response to a request I received during my call to your company, in which the representative asked to "access" my account. Since the representative already had access to this information and was permitted to use the information for the purposes of answering my questions, I found the request worded in that manner very deceptive. I expect better business ethics than represented by that, but unfortunately that was not the case.e.

  3. I had been asked, for what I believe could have been construed as a request for express consent to use my confidential account information for marketing purposes. I wish to clarify that I do not consent to such use of my account information.

  4. This is in response to an on-line indication of collection of data suggestive of "unique viewer hits" data collection at one of your gateway pages.

  5. I am drunk and have nothing better to do than write this letter requesting privacy. That's what drunk people do.

  6. I had recently received a spam email that includes reference to individually identifiable customer proprietary network information (also including forged email headers indicating the email was sent from your company). It appears that the sender of that spam obtained the information from your company.

  7. and finally... the straightforward:
    I am concerned about customer proprietary information being used for marketing purposes.


Again, pay attention to what you are sending.


re: Request for Protection of 47 USC 222 Data, Acct. No. xxxxxxx


I am concerned that my personal information may be shared in violation of 47 USC 222, without my prior express authorisation. I am further exercising my rights under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) and the Fair Credit Reporting Act to not have my information shared.

I request that my personally-identifiable information be used only for purposes of fulfilling my requests for services and products, and for processing transactions requested by me as your customer.

I do not wish personally-identifiable information concerning me or my accounts to be used for any purpose other than to fulfill my requests regarding the accounts. You do not have my permission to share my personally-identifiable information with third party companies or individuals, whether affiliated or non-affiliated. I do not wish to receive marketing offers.

I do not wish information to be shared regarding:
  - impressions or data related to user viewing
  - "click thorough" data or data related to user response
  - demographic data including but not limited to age, income, personal habits, gender, and ethnicity.

You do not have my permission to share information about my creditworthiness or credit status with any affiliate of your company. I am exercising my rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act to opt out of any sharing of this information by your company.

Specifically, I do not wish to have my name, my address, telephone number, email address, age-related data and income-related data shared.

Request Under 47 USC 222

Since you are a common carrier for the purposes of 47 USC 222, I am further requesting that no data related to my use of an electronic device, electronic device-related data and location-related data be used for any advertising purpose whatsoever.

GLBA Request to be Informed of Distribution

I further request under the GLBA that I be informed whenever my personally-identifiable information is provided to third parties, and to whom the information is provided. I wish to be informed regardless of whether the providing of the information is contrary to my request.

I further request under the GLBA that I be informed whenever information has been provided related to age, income, personal habits, gender, and ethnicity.

I do not expect this to create any burden on your company whatsoever if you respect your customers' private data.

Back to Sample GLBA Letter

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site first posted November 3, 1996 the GLBA page posted 23-Dec-03 ~~ this page rev 30-Apr-18 ~~ written in WordPerfect 5.1 ~~ copyright 2003, 2018 by S. Protigal ~~ Feel free to link to this.

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