Written Testimony of
Before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
S. 1963, the "Wireless 411 Privacy Act”
September 21, 2004
Chairman McCain, Ranking Member Hollings, and other distinguished members of this
committee, thank you for the opportunity to submit this testimony. I am Susanna Montezemolo,
Legislative Representative with Consumers Union,1 the independent, non-profit publisher of
Consumer Reports magazine. Consumers Union, through our publications and online service, has been
active in educating consumers about how to protect their personal and financial privacy. Through
our popular campaign, www.escapecellhell.org, Consumers Union has triggered over 15,000
grassroots activists to e-mail their Senators and Representative about the importance of protecting
consumer privacy that could be jeopardized by a wireless 411 directory.
Since they came on the market some two decades ago, cell phones have become an
incredibly convenient tool for consumers. Whether used for personal reasons or for business, the
cell phone has obviously enabled consumers to become more mobile, which is important in today’s
fast-paced society. But consumers also view cell phones as more private than landline phones.
Many consumers have come to expect that if their cell phone rings, the person on the other end will
be someone to whom they personally gave out their phone number. Because most cell phone
customers pay for their incoming calls, consumer control over their number should be viewed
through the lens of both privacy and out-of-pocket costs.
We believe that legislation is necessary to ensure that the more than 168 million cell phone
customers in the U.S. have control over how and when – or even if – their cell phone numbers are
included in any directory of cell phone numbers. Given that the Cellular Telecommunications and
Internet Association (CTIA) has anno