Struggling with connectivity

Robin points out that the 118800 mobile phone directory service has been suspended. Operators Connectivity claim that the suspension is to allow revisions to the beta version of the service, but speculation has it that the volume of ex-directory opt-out requests has buried them and the website was unable to cope with the traffic.

I had some contact with Connectivity* in the early days of the business, and concluded that whilst their approach – requiring opt-out but not actually revealing phone numbers – probably doesn’t breach the Data Protection Act, clearly there would be folk who would be unhappy with it. However it seemed unlikely that there would be such an extreme reaction to the 118800 service. The viral campaign against Connectivity has been a success – I’ve received emails from all sorts of folk, and seen the message in a host of completely unrelated discussion fora. 118800 crosses an invisible line of acceptability from a privacy perspective, and in light of the fight over Phorm which has seen all its partners withdraw from the UK trials, the future might not be too rosy for Connectivity either.

* Purely on an informal basis – I’ve no commercial relationship with Connectivity