Although I still have misgivings, I am about to register my telephone number on Canada’s National Do Not Call List (DNCL).
I know, you are wondering: if this can stop telemarketing calls, what’s not to love?
The catch 22 is that I must first allow my personal information to be “collected, used and disclosed by the National DNCL Operator in order to register, verify and de-register residential, wireless, fax or VoIP telephone number(s) on the National DNCL.”
If that isn’t bad enough, the National DNCL will then “disclose my registered phone number to telemarketers and clients of telemarketers and other subscribers to the National DNCL to prevent telemarketing calls to those numbers.”
“The numbers may also be disclosed, on a confidential basis, by telemarketers and clients of telemarketers and other subscribers to the National DNCL to another person involved in supplying the subscriber with services to enable compliance with the National DNCL Rules.
In addition, personal information will be collected, used and disclosed by the National DNCL Operator, the CRTC and/or its Complaints Investigator Delegate in order to investigate complaints regarding violations of the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules, to administer and enforce these rules, and for audit and quality assurance purposes. Personal information may also be disclosed to Canadian and/or foreign law enforcement agencies for the purpose of administering or enforcing any law or carrying out a lawful investigation.”
So the deal is, to stop telemarketers from abusing my privacy, I must first give up my privacy by handing my phone number over to an absurdly long list of faceless people and agencies:
- National DNCL Operator
- clients of telemarketers
- other subscribers to the National DNCL
- another person involved in supplying the subscriber with services
- the CRTC
- CRTC Complaints Investigator Delegate
- Canadian law enforcement agencies
- Foreign law enforcement agencies
Canada has been a world leader in the field of Privacy Law, with both federal and provincial privacy commissioners. Recently I heard Ann Cavoukian talk about how we deserve to have our privacy protected, and that corporations need to implement “Privacy By Design.”
Still, handing over personal data feels like the opposite of personal privacy protection, particularly for someone whose only “loyalty” membership is with my bank that knows how I spend my money. What is the point of protecting personal information from Facebook and the like if I hand my data over to a government agency that promises to pass it to the very telemarketers I wish to discourage?
Today, I just had a call from a telemarketer who curtly informed me that they “have no list.” When I started to explain the “Do Not Call List” he hung up on me at “Canadian Law.” The alacrity of his hangup suggests the DNCL might actually work.
So maybe it is time to give the DNCL a shot. If it works, the only disadvantage I can see is that my husband will lose out on the entertainment value he currently derives from telemarketer baiting. When he has time, he makes them work hard, answering questions, providing information, and generally toys with them for as long as possible. The theory is that the best way to make them stop is to cost them money, but the problem is that there are just so many of them — for every company you teach not to call, hundreds or thousands of new ones pop up every day.
These days it seems as though I’m getting a handful of telemarketer calls every day. Total strangers are calling me up and very often asking for me by name, so they already have some of my personal information. For the past few years I’ve interrupted telemarketer pitches at start with the instruction to “remove me from the list”. I can’t really say whether or not if that helps, because the number of telemarketing calls seems fairly constant, but that’s just an impression; I don’t have any hard data.
To frame this adventure as an experiment, beginning tomorrow, on May 21st, 2013, I will start making a log of all the telemarketing calls we get. A month later, on June 21st, I will register with the DNCL and log the telemarketing calls we get over the following month.
I’ll let you know how it comes out. :)
Screen Capture from Canada’s National Do Not Call List (DNCL) website