Coming Soon: A Cellphone Directory

After years of anonymity, the numbers of most of the nation's mobile phones will be compiled later this year in the first wireless directory. The database being assembled by the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Assn. is expected to include about 75% of the 163 million mobile phones in the United States, making looking up a wireless number as easy as dialing 411.

The association is pitching the directory as a boon for real estate agents and other on-the-go professionals who want people to be able to find their mobile numbers. But privacy advocates, some members of Congress and even a major cellular carrier — Verizon Wireless — fear that mobile phones, once immune to telemarketers and e-mail spammers, could become as vulnerable as home telephone lines and computer in-boxes.

"The world of telecommunications continues to change, and every day wireless becomes a more significant part of our world," CTIA President Steve Largent said. "This system will provide consumers an opportunity to opt in, if they choose." Critics counter that the promise of consumer choice is disingenuous because many cellphone service contracts contain clauses that give permission to publish numbers.

News source: Yahoo! News

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