It’s Time For Permission Calling

After more than a decade of meetings and millions of dollars spent in research,
legal fees, and more meetings, our political leaders determined that
most people don't want telephone calls made to their home without
giving their permission. They created The National Do Not Call Registry (NDNCR) in 2003 which is
administered by the Federal Trade Commission.

However, I find it close to useless. My home phone still rings a half dozen times a day with calls from people who are not covered by the NDNCR. Not counting Sundays that means that my home is getting over 1,800 unwanted phone calls a year.

Of course, the first thing the politicians started doing after making the law was to make exceptions for some groups in complying with the new law. The first group they exempted – was themselves. Yes, they determined that "we the people" really want to be called at home by them and their representatives – even if it is for the purpose of asking for money. Next they added charities. I assume in their minds this was some sort of political slime offset not unlike buying a carbon offset.

Additionally, they exempted:

  • People or companies conducting surveys.
  • Companies with which you have an existing business relationship for up to 18 months after your last purchase, payment, or delivery from it. Think about this the next time a store asks you for your phone number when you check out. By purchasing from them you are now subject to being telemarketed by them for the next year and a half.
  • Companies can also call you up to three months after submitting an inquiry to that company. That's right – call for some information and you are fair game unless you specifically tell them not to contact you.
  • There is also a loophole that allows mortgage companies to call you with unsolicited offers if you apply for a mortgage. The FTC identifies it as a pre-screened offer which is allowed. You can't make this stuff up.

It's election season here in the United States which means we are being bombarded by political calls. In my case, 100% of them come from automatic, robot dialers with a recorded message. It makes you want to not vote for the person calling. However, if we followed that rule there would be nobody at the polls on election day.

Even if you check Caller ID, most of the callers block their true identity and numbers. Even with Caller ID, your phone is still ringing all the time with calls from people who do not have your permission to call.

I could go on with the exceptions, exemptions and Catch 22 rules but the fact is the Do Not Call Registry does not work. With that in mind, I think it's time to start a "Permission Calling Initiative." It is a simple concept.

  • First, you register the phone numbers of people from whom you wish to get phone calls. It doesn't have to be with a government entity. We can get rid of the department at the FTC that is administering the list and use the money saved to help bail out one of those mortgage companies that was making too many "pre-screened offers." It could be done technically with your own phone and some additional technical features in the equipment.
  • If someone calls you who is not on your "call registry" then they have to have their called ID unblocked. That way you can look at your called ID and see if you want to take a call. Anyone whose ID is blocked will not ring your number and you can elect if it automatically goes to your voice mail or if they hear a message telling them to unblock their numbers.
  • If you get a call from a number and it is not someone you want to hear from again, you simply enter a code on the keypad and they are blocked from even being able to ring your phone.
  • No exceptions except for emergency and law enforcement personnel.

Is this all a pipe dream? Of course it is if we wait for our government to implement it. They have too many vested interests to do what's right. But, we don't need our political leaders permission to do this. We don't have to ask the FTC if it okay with them. We just need someone tinkering in their garage to invent the technology so we can implement it ourselves in our own homes. Actually some of this technology already exists. I think it should be part of every phone sold. We shouldn't have to buy an add-on service or piece of equipment. Until that happens – keep tinkering. 

Imagine what a feature like this could mean in terms of permission. How many telephones are there in the US? In the world? People are bombarded with interruption marketing. It's why permission marketing works. It's why you'll see more and more technical solutions on the personal level to help stop the interruptions.

2 thoughts on “It’s Time For Permission Calling”

  1. I feel for you.
    It is too bad that politicians continue to exempt themselves from Do Not Call law.
    StopPoliticalCalls.org is fighting for the privacy of the American voter.
    1 – Creating a Political Do Not Call Registry
    2 – Testifying in the US Senate about robo calls (Sen. Feinstein’s Robocall Privacy Act)
    3 – Forcing states to enforce existing robo call laws (CA, MN, NJ, etc..)
    4 – Getting politicians to take a do not robo call pledge (7 have)
    As I testified at the US. Senate these robo calls are an epidemic and this election cycle “phone spam” and are invading the privacy of All American Voters.
    Our members are taking a stand and saying enough is enough at the National Political Do Not Contact Registry at StopPoliticalCalls.org.
    Here is a quote from a member recently:
    “I’m a shift worker, working variable shifts. I depend on my sleep to be able to do my job safely and efficiently. I’m a locomotive engineer. Imagine the disaster were I to fall asleep, operating a freight train carrying hazardous materials in your neighborhood, due to fatigue from being awoken in my middle of the night on a continuous basis during election season. Please stop..”
    Learn more.
    Shaun Dakin
    CEO
    http://www.stoppoliticalcalls.org
    A non-profit fighting for the privacy of the American voter

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