Caller ID (NOT Another Flame!)

Caller ID (NOT Another Flame!)

Post by ames!ames!claris!portal!cup.portal.com!flem.. » Thu, 15 Feb 1990 03:31:08



I have been observing the recent debates over Caller ID services.  The
major arguments seem to boil down to these:

    The pro-Caller-ID people want an "electronic peephole" so they can
    see who's calling and screen out junk calls.

    Some anti-Caller-ID people are upset about losing the privacy of their
    unlisted telephone numbers.

    Other anti people are worried about the public refusing to call help
    hotlines (*, battered women, IRS, etc.) if they believe their
    call may be traced.

All good arguments.  Well, technology got us into this problem; let's
see if technology can get us out.  (Technical fixes are more appealing
than legal, political, or societal-behavior fixes since they can, at
least in theory, explored and tested rationally.)

Electronic peephole -- compare the following two calls given Calling
Line ID and its more sophisticated cousin, Calling *Party* ID:

             Calling Line ID        Calling Party ID
              (number only)          (ASCII string)
          +-------------------------------------------
Call #1   |   703-847-1234          ABC CARPET SALES
Call #2   |   703-847-5678          VA. STATE PATROL

Given the ASCII identifiers, which call would you take if you're
sitting down to dinner and your daughter is an hour late?  What about
if you're given only the numbers?  Clearly, the "electronic peephole"
is of limited value with unfamiliar callers if only the Line ID is
provided.

Unlisted phone numbers -- my impression is that these users don't
particularly want to keep their identity secret to the called party...
they just don't want their phone to start ringing with junk calls.
Given Calling *Party* ID (rather than Calling Line ID), they should be
happy.  For example, I don't care if the recipient's box lights up
with STEPHEN FLEMING as long as it *doesn't* light up with
703-847-8186.

Hotline privacy -- probably the strongest of all the arguments, in my book.
 I don't buy the position that hotlines could advertise their refusal
to use Caller ID... a suicide hotline I might trust, but the IRS I
would not.  But these are a *small* percentage of all calls.  A
per-call disabling feature (e.g., a three-button sequence before
placing the call) could cause the recipient's box to light up
ANONYMOUS.  If I got a display like this at home, I would refuse it...
but a * hotline or a newspaper reporter could choose to accept
the call.

So... I don't claim to have followed all the religious wars last year,
but it seems to me that a combination of Calling Party ID and per-call
disabling solve most of the problems relative to Caller*ID.  In
addition, it provides a more attractive (read: higher revenue) service
to the 99% of humanity who don't think of people in terms of phone
numbers.  Why aren't the BOCs rushing to offer this as a solution?

Simple... Judge Greene won't let them.  Running a phone number through
a database and flashing an associated ASCII string onto your screen
qualifies as an information-processing service, and that's a no-no.
Sure, there are technical problems -- you'd have to have databases
that lots of people can access quickly enough not to delay call setup --
but the technical problems will never be solved if there's not a
market for the solution.  Conversely, if the BOCs were to start
developing the technical means to support Calling Party ID, solutions
could be available in short order.

Conclusions are left as an exercise for the student.

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Caller ID (NOT Another Flame!)

Post by Roy M. Silverna » Fri, 16 Feb 1990 09:48:19




> Why aren't the BOCs rushing to offer this as a solution?
> Simple... Judge Greene won't let them.  Running a phone number through
> a database and flashing an associated ASCII string onto your screen
> qualifies as an information-processing service, and that's a no-no.

I haven't studied the break-up too closely, but it would seem this is
an ideal opportunity for a symbiotic service. Couldn't the private
sector produce a company to service this information-processing? And
wouldn't that be seperate from the BOC itself?

Quote:> Sure, there are technical problems -- you'd have to have databases
> that lots of people can access quickly enough not to delay call setup --
> but the technical problems will never be solved if there's not a
> market for the solution.  Conversely, if the BOCs were to start
> developing the technical means to support Calling Party ID, solutions
> could be available in short order.

I'll just bet some commercial concern steps in. Probably with the
spread of ISDN, which has the bandwidth and embedded information to
ease the task, such services will become as attractive a third-party
option as feature-laden third-party equipment is today.

As with any enhanced service, I'm sure there will be the equivalent of
the AOS, as well. Sharks are everywhere in the Matrix. (oops...
*punk pervades me at times ;-) We already know, though, that there
is money to be made brokering information, so you can be sure
_someone_ will market this.

Quote:> Conclusions are left as an exercise for the student.

Uh, oh... Err.... How much of my grade is this, anyway? :-)

Roy M. Silvernail  | UUCP: uunet!comcon!roy  |  "Every race must arrive at this
#include <opinions.h>;#define opinions MINE  |   point in its history"
SnailMail: P.O. Box 210856, Anchorage,       |   ........Mr. Slippery
Alaska, 99521-0856, U.S.A., Earth, etc.      |  <Ono-Sendai: the right choice!>

 
 
 

Caller ID (NOT Another Flame!)

Post by William Degn » Sat, 17 Feb 1990 14:56:01


In a message of <Feb 15 03:45> ames!ames!claris!portal!cup.portal. writes:



Quote:>I have been observing the recent debates over Caller ID services.  The
>major arguments seem to boil down to these:
>   The pro-Caller-ID people want an "electronic peephole" so they can
> see who's calling and screen out junk calls.
>    Some anti-Caller-ID people are upset about losing the privacy of
> their unlisted telephone numbers.
>    Other anti people are worried about the public refusing to call
> help hotlines (*, battered women, IRS, etc.) if they believe their
> call may be traced.

What if...

Pushing the NO ID code on an outbound call causes the CO to send a
public-key encrypted caller ID which could be decrypted by telco
security. Then everybody is protected for what they want.

Disclaimer: Contents do not constitute "advice" unless we are on the clock


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