Friday, December 14, 2007

Wireless Phone Contracts and Privacy (Part Two)

This is the second part of my post about the privacy policy of major wireless phone service carriers.

In the first part I gave some information about the policies of Alltell, AT&T and Sprint Nextel on the issue of privacy. I also talked about the Customer Proprietary Network Information, or CPNI. This term refers to the information collected from you that is made available your carrier solely by virtue of their relationship with you. This information includes the quantity, technical configuration, type, destination, and amount of your use of the telecommunications services you purchased.

Now let's proceed with the remaining major carriers that were not included in the previous post. Let's take a look at what T-Mobile has to say about their customer's privacy:
Wireless systems use radios to transmit communications over a complex network. We do not guarantee that your communications using the Service or Products will be private or secure, and we are not liable to you for any lack of privacy or security you may experience. You are responsible for taking precautions and providing security measures best suited for your situation and intended use of the Service. We may (but are not required to) monitor, intercept, and disclose your transmissions, location or communications and may disclose your billing, account, calling records, or other information, in good faith reliance on legal process, if required by law or to protect our rights, business, network or customers. We may locate you through our network. Your caller identification (such as your name and Number) even if unlisted may be displayed to others (for example, on the equipment or bill of the person receiving your call or any Internet site you visit.) We may list your name, address, and Number in a published directory with your consent. The way third parties handle and use your personal information is governed by their policies and we are not responsible for their policies, or their compliance with them.
T-Mobile is giving the customer the responsibility of taking precautions when using their device which is perfectly fair in my view. Being careful when using a mobile phone is always a good idea. They may also reveal gather information about you if the law requires it. However, they also stress that they have no control over how third parties may handle your personal information. You can visit to get in depth info about their privacy policies.

Now let's proceed to US Cellular's policies on Privacy. The Customer Service Agreement of US Cellular states that they may, " release information about you or your account when required by a subpoena or other lawful process. We will not provide you with notice of such requests." I think that their statement is very clear.. unless you have some trouble with the law then you can be sure that your personal information is safe.

US Cellular also reassures their customers that the company is dedicated to providing superior customer satisfaction and is committed to protecting customer privacy. They will take this responsibility seriously as a key component to earning and maintaining their customers’ trust. US Cellular's associates adhere to a Code of Business Conduct that supports our commitment to protecting customer privacy. This is pretty reassuring piece of info. You can find the company's policies and practices pertaining to the use and protection of customer information at their website's Privacy policy page.

Now let's wrap this up by checking out Verizon Wireless' privacy policy. The company's Customer Agreement states that,
We may use and share information about you and how you use the services: (a) so we can provide our goods or services; (b) so others can provide goods or services to us, or to you on our behalf; (c) so we or our affiliates can communicate with you about goods or services that any of us offer (although you can call us any time if you don't want us to do this); (d) to protect ourselves; or (e) as required by law, legal process, or exigent circumstances. In addition, we may include our own or third-party advertising in the services you've purchased from us, and we may share information about you with affiliates, vendors and third parties to, in addition to the above reasons, deliver relevant advertising to you while using the services. We may collect and transmit information regarding your use of the services through applications or other software present on your device. If you do not want us to collect, transmit or use such information about you for the above purposes, you should not use the services; by using the services, you expressly authorize us to use your information for these purposes.
Verizon may collect information about their users and reveal them to third parties for several reasons including requirement by law. They also stress that the customer may choose not to use the services if these conditions prove to be unfavorable or violate the user's privacy.

I hope that I provided some insights and information on the privacy policy of various wireless service providers. I think that it's always good to research and compare options to find the most appropriate choice. Hopefully, you can find a service that will give the best protection of your personal information or privacy.

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