Users can 'unlist' numbers from phone directory services

Users can 'unlist' numbers from phone directory services

SINGAPORE - From April 1, it will no longer be mandatory for fixed-line operators to publish directories of residential telephone number listings ("Grey areas in new phone listing rules" by Mr Francis Cheng; Forum Online, Dec 25).

These changes reflect the decline in the demand for such services and concerns about the open publication of personal data. Recognising that some individuals may wish to search for the phone numbers of people they know, operators will have to continue providing the "Service 100" directory inquiry service for callers seeking particular residential telephone numbers.

Operators such as StarHub may voluntarily choose to continue publishing directories containing residential listings with listed numbers, in printed form, CD-ROMs or online. Users will be given a one-time option to unlist from such directory services free of charge.

Once the number is unlisted, it will not appear in any commercially/voluntarily published directories and the "Service 100" directory inquiry database. The Infocomm Development Authority's decision covers fixed-line numbers starting with only "6" and excludes mobile numbers because there was no regulatory requirement to publish mobile numbers.

Under the Personal Data Protection Act, organisations should use personal data only for the purposes for which the data was collected, and cannot disclose the data to other organisations without explicit consent.

If you register your mobile number to obtain one-time passwords for your credit cards, or for the purpose of hospital appointment notifications, the relevant organisations should not use these for other purposes without your consent.

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