Schumer: Telemarketers Will Abuse Cell Phone Directory

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, blasted a plan to create a national cell phone directory, saying it would give telemarketers the chance to inundate consumers with unsolicited calls and text messages.

The senator released a statement Sunday warning about the directory and promoting legislation he is co-sponsoring that would make the proposed cell phone directory opt-in only. Cell phone companies would be required to obtain permission from consumers to list their cell numbers in the directory. A fee would not be permitted for keeping numbers unlisted.

Schumer also is a proponent of a national do-not-e-mail list that is similar to the national no-call list, despite doubts among regulators regarding its feasibility. The Federal Trade Commission is expected to release a report on the proposed do-not-e-mail list by Wednesday.

Calling cell phones while using automated dialing equipment, including predictive dialers, is already illegal under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

The wireless industry has stated that the list will not be published or sold. Consumers could obtain information from it only by dialing 411. The Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, a trade group, plans to create the directory.

Nevertheless, Schumer said a cell phone directory would be a “gold mine for telemarketers, spammers and pranksters” who would use it to send unsolicited marketing calls to consumers.

“The bottom line is we need a belt-and-suspenders approach to make sure the cell phone industry and telemarketers don't take advantage of consumers with a cell-phone phone book,” Schumer said in a statement.

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