If one key legislator gets his way, it would be illegal in Iowa for companies to publish your cell phone number if you don’t give permission. Senator Steve Warnstadt, a democrat from Sioux City, is co-chair of the Senate Commerce Committee and he’s sponsoring a bill about cell phone numbers. Under Warnstadt’s proposal, a cell phone company would have to get your permission before your cell phone number could be listed in any published directory. Warnstadt says it’s a “consumer privacy and consumer protection” issue that hasn’t been addressed at the federal level. He says if you don’t want to be charged for the minutes eaten up by people you don’t know who’re calling you because your number’s on a directory, that should be your choice. Warnstadt says a number of wireless companies have already promised not to release customers’ numbers to a cell phone directory if the customer doesn’t agree, and Warnstadt believes his proposal would encourage all companies offering cell phone service in Iowa to adopt that “customer-friendly policy.” He’s making the proposal without receiving a single complaint from someone who had their cell phone number published without their consent. “At this point, I haven’t heard that that is happening,” he says. “I’d rather deter it and prevent it from happening than wait.” The bill must clear committees in both the House and Senate and then win approval in the full House and Senate before it lands on the governor’s desk.
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