Mobile directory blames press for latest failure
Absolutely, definitely not due to a privacy backlash
The operator of a new directory of private mobile phone numbers has blamed the press for its rushed launch and subsequent technical problems, which have seen the service shut down indefinitely.
Connectivity, which runs the 118800 telephone service and website, today denied reports it had been forced to suspend it by a deluge of public requests to remove information from its database. A press representative said the company was contacting publications who made the claim to demand corrections.
Instead, the spokeswoman said Connectivity was suffering technical problems caused by a rushed launch. She said it had lost two weeks of testing because of pre-launch press reports.
The launch of 118800 on June 18 sparked widespread privacy concerns. To fill its directory, Connectivity had purchased lists of about 15 million names and mobile numbers from marketing companies. Before it was suspended, users of the service were asked for a name and home town of the person they wanted to contact. Connectivity would then call the target and ask if they wanted to be connected.
Although it did not give out numbers to users, many felt the directory represented an unacceptable intrusion. A viral email campaign encouraged people to apply to have their information removed.
"You can remove your number from this list, and tell all your friends - especially those with children who have mobile phones. None of us agreed to this when we signed our mobile phone contracts," one example warned.
Connectivity bought mobile marketing lists after legal threats failed to extract customer information from mobile operators 18 months ago.
Despite the privacy backlash, the Connectivity spokeswoman said it was "absolutely not" the cause of the downtime. She said there was no indication of when service would be restored and could not provide any details of the problems.
A message on the 118800 website reads: "The 118800 service for mobile phone connections is currently unavailable - from this website and by phone - whilst we undertake major developments to our 'Beta Service' to improve the experience for our customers. We'll be back as soon as possible with the new improved service.
"All ex-directory requests made by people in our directory to date are being processed. There will be no need to resend these requests. And we will take further ex-directory requests when the service resumes. We will not be taking ex-directory requests by phone or text whilst the service is not operational."
Whatever the cause of the current downtime, it piles further pressure on Connectivity, which is backed by millions in venture capital. The service also collapsed almost immediately when it launched. ®
"most commentards normally stick up for the right to take photos"
- I don't. Street View is invasive and should be on an opt-in basis
"This is only the same as BT"
- Yeah I'm not with BT and phonebooks should be opt-in
"You just wait until that time when you really need a mobile number of someone"
- No, YOU just wait. I can't imagine a time when this would ever happen or that in the reverse scenario I would answer a call from someone who had used this service.
"I don't see the issue with being phoned up at an inconvenient moment."
- Really? Total invasion of privacy? Spam phonecalls? You have no idea why the TPS and Ofcom exist? Your answer to THEIR unwanted attention is to turn MY phone off or put it on silent? Why don't I just throw my mobile away in response to this service? Move to somewhere with no coverage? OR of course you can feel your own tit and I'll keep wishing the service under.
boo fucking who
I don't get you lot, if there is an article about Google getting bashed about their Street View service, most commentards normally stick up for the right to take photos in public etc etc.
But this issue, has got everyone riled up. I feel sorry for the company, the press basically distroyed them with completely false information, suggesting mobile numbers could just be looked up on their site, which is not the case at all.
This is only the same as BT's directory, you have to request to be made ex-directory on that, so why is the same service for mobiles a big issue.
If you don't want your number on their, then that's fine, but leave the service alone, it is going to be a serious missed opportunity if it does not recover. You just wait until that time when you really need a mobile number of someone, then you will feel like a tit for wishing the company under.
For these whining about being disturbed by their mobile, errrrr, what???? Put it on silent, turn it off, ignore the call. I don't see the issue with being phoned up at an inconvenient moment.
118 800's Day Off
I don't want my mobile number given out, as people are always trying to find out who I am!