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Claim: SBC Ameritech customers must contact the company within thirty days to prevent the distribution of their personal information.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2002]
Origins: Issues regarding privacy and the sale and distribution of customers' personal information for telemarketing, direct mail advertising, or other purposes by financial institutions and telecommunications companies continue to simmer. In this specific case, the issue concerning SBC Ameritech is similar to the one raised by 2001's somewhat exaggerated
The issue here is the use of "opt-out" schemes which require customers to take the initiative in contacting companies to prevent the sharing or sale of their personal information. Jennifer Granholm (not "Grandholm") is the Attorney General for the State of Michigan, one of
CPNI is, in general, specific information about calls placed by telecommunications customers: whom they call, when they call, and where they make those calls from. (Some states have also defined CPNI to include unpublished and unlisted phone numbers.) FCC regulations prohibit telecommunications carriers from using CPNI to market services to customers, identify customers who call their competitors, or regain customers who have switched carriers without the approval of those customers. A federal court has ruled that requiring customers to contact carriers and invoke an opt-out program satisfies the approval requirements laid down by the FCC.
However, the Data Sharing Notice issued by SBC Ameritech, which
SBC Ameritech, its affiliates and authorized agents would like to offer you products and services that will best meet your needs by using information about services you have already purchased from the SBC family of companies.This notice informs SBC Ameritech customers that information about the "types of services you purchase, how you use them, and the related billing of those services" may be used by SBC Ameritech itself (and their affiliates) "to offer additional products and services to you." In other words, if you use SBC Ameritech's long distance services, they might use your information to offer you SBC's DSL services as well. This notice does not proclaim that SBC will sell CPNI to other companies for marketing and advertising purposes unless you ask them not to.
Protecting the privacy of your service and usage records is your right and our duty under federal law. We are required to inform you that you have a choice in allowing us to use the information about the services you have purchased from SBC Ameritech, SBC Long Distance or other affiliates to offer additional products and services to you. We could use your customer information to advise you of products that may be of interest to you, like DSL with Internet or long distance, even if you do not currently have any services from those SBC affiliates. Your customer information includes the types of services you purchase, how you use them, and the related billing of those services. If this use of your customer information is acceptable, then no further action on your part is required
If you do not want us to use any of your service and usage information to offer products and services, please call 800-303-7260 within
The employees and management of all the SBC Ameritech family of companies would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued business. We are proud to carry on our long tradition of providing our community with reliable, technologically advanced and affordable
The heart of the issue is that SBC's auxiliary services (such as DSL and Internet access) are technically offered by separate companies established by SBC, and thus SBC Ameritech must obtain approval to share customer information with those companies. All of the information remains within SBC's "family" of companies, however, so the claim that SBC will "sell" your customer information unless you opt out is misleading.
Last updated: 4 December 2007
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