Cell Phone Directories – The Legal and Privacy Issues

If you have ever tried to find out a person’s cell phone number by conducting a forward search, or attempted to track down your friend through their wireless number via a free reverse lookup, you were probably unsuccessful. Why? It has nothing to do with you incorrectly using the service; the reason is a free mobile phone directory does not exist.

Why? It isn’t because no one has thought of the idea. In fact, many of the major mobile providers wanted to create a central opt-in directory that would be known as Wireless 411. The problem was there were too many legal and privacy issues involved, and it was eventually decided to dismiss the project indefinitely.

Some of the major issues are that unlike a landline telephone, which is often assigned to a home or business and is shared by all who live or work at the location, cellphones are personal phones that are typically used by the owner, and some owners are children and young adults. Another problem is a money issue. Those who subscribe to a basic wire line service pay a flat monthly fee and do not pay for any calls they receive, and are not charged when making local calls. Conversely, wireless users must cover the cost for virtually all calls and text messages they make and receive.

Therefore, if a mobile phone customer’s number was freely accessible through a directory, anyone who cared to look would be able to obtain it and call or text as they desire, costing the consumer money in some shape or form, regardless of their wireless plan. Hence, suddenly unwanted calls would become more than just annoying; they would come with a price.

As a result, conducting a forward search on a cellular number is illegal. This is why you won’t be able to find any information on a wireless subscriber using this method. That being said, the same is not true for a reverse cell phone lookup. Although you won’t be able to find out the identity of an owner, or their address details for free, you can pay to find out this info from a private directory.

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