Monday, October 15, 2007

Intrusive registration process requests cellular number, and makes me mad as hell

As Howard Beale (Peter Finch) said in Network: "I'm mad as hell and I'm just not taking anymore!"* (NOTE: I'm not suicidal (as Beale was), just spitting mad.)

"Cell, no! I say." And I say it again as my bottom line.

What's gotten my goat is the proliferation of purveyor and solictor intrusions. I encountered the latest, this morning, from a company I otherwise trust. had invited me to join askville, which benefits Associates (i.e., affiliate marketers). Step one was painless: entering my login details. However, the intrusive next screen in the registration process stopped me dead in my tracks.

Enter my cell(ular) phone number and provider/carrier? Heck no, Joe!

I'm already sick of spam in my e-mail boxes, junk mail in my mailboxes, and unwelcome, unsolicited phone calls on my land lines. However, those are mere nuisances compared with unwanted, unsolicited cellular calls that waste time, distract, and squander precious peak-time minutes. If time is money, the first three buggers are costly; the fourth: a double dipper.

Thankfully, good spam filters, junk busters and do not call registries screen and stem many unwanted communications, and it's illegal for telemarketers to dial most cell phone numbers (except those furnished voluntarily or unwittingly). Goodie for us who don't want to be bothered. TDB (Too Darn Bad) for scammers and solictors biting the bit to breach others' privacy and wallets.

Of course, creative, persistent intruders have found other ways to skin the proverbial cat. For example, scammers have gone phishing, and solicitors have set their sites on mobile devices.

Don't get me wrong. I trust (unlike some other companies) not to spam me or bombard my mobile phone. Moreover, is only one of an increasing number of service providers to request cellular numbers; e.g., vendors that proffer made-to-order maps, directions, ring tones and many other wares do, too.

To reassure potential registrants, askville, by shares its FAQ, Privacy Policy, Terms of Service, and answers to the following questions here:
  • Why do you want my phone number?
  • Okay, but will you ever call or text me again?
  • Will receiving a text message cost me any money?
I believe askville's answers. What I don't trust, however, is ANY entities' ability to secure my sensitive 411. Credit card companies, hospitals, academic institutions, Google, and heck, even Uncle Sam, have been hacked and their clients' identities and sensitive information compromised. Consequently, I'm in no rush to weaken my already-permeable privacy by dipping my cellular number into one of the world's largest marketing pools.

To most who ask for my mobile number, here's my answer: "Cell, no!"###

* My source: Wikipedia >> Network (film). Wikipedia's source: Quotation and screenshot for the film, Copyright MGM, and possibly also Copyright Peter Finch. It is believed that the use of a limited number of web-resolution screenshots for identification and critical commentary on the film and its contents on the English-language Wikipedia, hosted on servers in the United States by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation, qualifies as fair use under United States copyright law. Any other uses of this image, on Wikipedia or elsewhere, may be copyright infringement. See Wikipedia:Non-free content for more information.To the uploader: please add a detailed fair use rationale for each use, as described on Wikipedia:Image description page, as well as the source of the work and copyright information.