Castel Agrees With DMA on Privacy Device Evasion

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Call center technology firm Castel, which attracted national press with claims that it could nullify the TeleZapper, said yesterday that it supports the Direct Marketing Association's opposition to the use of such technology to circumvent home-privacy devices.

"Our company is committed to honoring a consumer's preference for receiving calls from specific marketers or not," Castel CEO Geoffrey Burr said in a statement. "We have always supported the idea of do-not-call lists as the only truly effective method for ensuring consumer privacy against unwanted calls."

On March 4, the DMA urged against the use of technology "with the purpose of thwarting consumers' obvious preferences."

Castel supports government no-call registries at the state and national level, Burr said, as well as new Federal Trade Commission regulations against abandoned calls and dead air and a requirement that telemarketers transmit caller ID information when possible. He noted that Castel's call management system, DirectQuest, aids telemarketers in complying with those rules.

A Castel spokeswoman said Burr was traveling this week and was unavailable to answer questions.

The TeleZapper, produced by Royal Appliance Manufacturing Co., mimics the three-tone sound heard when a disconnected number is called, fooling telemarketing dialers into removing live numbers from their calling lists. However, according to Castel, DirectQuest looks for digital signals accompanying phone calls, rather than sounds, to determine whether a number is active, thus rendering the TeleZapper ineffective.

DM News reported on DirectQuest in its Feb. 17 edition. An Associated Press wire report followed about a week later, after which news outlets nationwide picked up on the product from Castel, Beverly, MA.

Castel has said the technology is useful to collections agencies, which often use the same outbound dialing equipment as telemarketers, in contacting debtors who may be using the TeleZapper to avoid their obligations.

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