I Still Don't Want To Hear From You

by Alan J. Claffie

After the barrage of political phone calls leading up to the election, I thought peace and quiet was going to be restored on the other side of November 7th. I was wrong.

Maybe it's just my heightened sensitivity to the far-too-frequent interruptions by the phone's ringer that started up in election season, but I've noticed a lot more unwanted phone calls than before.

Lately, it's been people wanting to know my opinion on stuff. I went on and on at length on this subject way back in May. And while that might have opened a couple eyes, nothing noticeable came of it. I'm still getting calls form people who have surveys that that ask stupid questions and take too long to complete, leaving frustrated survey-takers (assuming they care) with incomplete results that, if we're lucky, they have to throw out.

We investigated the National Do Not Call legislation during the election season and got bad news: in addition to the politicos, pollsters and charities are not bound by that law. The Federal Trade Commission's wording is "Because of limitations in the jurisdiction of the FTC and FCC, calls from or on behalf of political organizations, charities, and telephone surveyors would still be permitted".

That blows, and it should be changed.

This week's project is to compose a nicely-worded letter to elected representatives asking them to consider new legislation that will remove loopholes from the original DNC. Maybe call it a "Total Do Not Call" or "Complete Do Not Call".

You have to figure that there would be a lot of support for such a thing. There's like a gazillion people on the current DNC list I'm sure. These are people who don't want to be called by salespeople. What are the odds that all those people are perfectly fine with getting calls from politicos/pollsters/charities?

I'd be willing to wager that if you had X number of people subscribed to the original DNC list, and you started up a complete DNC that shuts out any and all unwanted calls, that approximately 99.9% of those people would also sign up for the new list.

I'm not in favor of turning off my phone completely. I'm also not in favor of having people call me out of the blue, but only if the call is actually to me and not shotgunned out where it might find me randomly. If someone wants to discuss something regarding my work or my hobbies, I'd be happy to take the call. But if you're just going to relay the same message or ask the same questions to me and a bunch of other people, don't bother.

Whether anything comes of this, who knows. But it'll be interesting to see if I get a response from those elected to represent me (no matter how flawed my voting criteria was after the great political phone call revolt), even if that response is "buzz off, we've got important work to do here without your interrupting us". Wouldn't that be ironic?

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