Maintaining Optimism in the Face of Reality. Occasional observations on the state of the world, society, business and politics. Usually anchored by facts, always augmented by opinion.

Who's (really) Calling?  | e-mail post

Ken Belson of The New York Times today reports on a new service from startup Star38. Star38 provides a service, aimed primarily at collections agents, that allows a collector to spoof a customer's caller ID service, allowing them to show their calls as coming from a different person or telephone number.

Personally, I can't get too upset up about the idea of collectors being able to mask their numbers. Consumer debt runs rampant in this country, and a delinquent debtor is probably not going to answer a call from "Legbreaker Collections" or even an unknown caller, so there is legitimate value for those firms. What is troubling, however, is that while Star38 has aimed their service at collectors, it is presumably only a matter of time before the technology falls into other hands. It would certainly allow for some fun practical jokes.

Now, given that phone companies derive substantial revenue (and margin) from ancillary services like Caller ID, they are worried that if the integrity of Caller ID data is broadly compromised (and I imagine it will take more than just collection agents spoofing Caller ID) then consumers may not elect to pay for that service. BellSouth is saying they are looking into the practice.

They're probably just upset they didn't think of selling the service first.

e-mail post | Link Cosmos | [Permalink]  |  | Thursday, September 02, 2004
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