Customers, privacy activists raise doubts about Web service

By Alex Johnson

Jan 30, MSNBC

An online directory that claims to provide 90 million mobile telephone numbers is raising concerns among cell phone users and privacy advocates about unwanted callers who rack up the minutes on their calling plans and the difficulty of opting out of the list.

Until now, cell phone users, reluctant to be interrupted in their cars or in public with unsolicited calls, could try to protect the privacy of their numbers by being judicious about whom they gave them to. But the directory service, offered by Intelius Inc. of Bellevue, Wash., threatens to take away that privacy.

Intelius charges $14.95 a pop for the numbers, which it says it collects from public sources, such as property records and other businesses. The owner of a number has no say in the matter.

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photo: While some people are happy to reconnect, a mere $14.95 could cost you your privacy. Kris Sanchez of NBC affiliate KNTV of San Francisco reports (NBC News Channel)