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Do We Really Need a Digital Reverse Phone Directory?

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Wouldn't it be nice to instantly see the name of the person calling pop up on your caller's ID? In his article "Dear Google: We Need a Quality Reverse Phone Number Lookup for Google Voice", David Gewirtz lays out many reasons for having such a service. The first and most obvious one is, of course, missed calls. Imagine you missed a call and instead of just unnamed number, you could actually see who was trying to reach you.

That would be very convenient in a number of instances: from telemarketing and debt collector calls we might not be willing to take, to banal unrecognized phone number checks.

But it turns out that having a free reverse phone lookup public service may be running against some privacy protection regulations. When Google introduced their phone reverse service back in 2010, they had to take it down shortly after due to many complaints from users who discovered their private information publicly available in Google's phonebook.

The major cell phone carriers also seem to be reluctant to establish a 411 cell phone directory because the numbers may end up in the hands of telemarketeres.

And then there is a whole other problem of getting a hold of someone's cell phone number as Donnie Johnston points in her article: Goodluck Finding Someone's Cell Phone Number.

What do you think? Do we need an open source reverse caller ID service?

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