What Data Does My Cell Phone Company Collect About Me?

by : Gloria Moore

In the U.S.A., Customer Proprietary Network Information, better known as CPNI, is information created by virtue of the relationship that exists between a subscriber and their carrier. This information generally includes the type, location, destination, amount, technical configuration, and quantity of a customer's telecommunications services (e.g. local, long distance, and wireless phone service, etc.) that have been purchased.

More specifically, what type of information does the CPNI include? CPNI includes a variety of information typically found on a customer's monthly telephone bill such as:

&bullThe type of telephone line - technical characteristics
&bullThe class of service
&bullCurrent phone charges
&bullDirectory assistant charges
&bullLocal service and long distance billing records
&bullCalling patterns
&bullUsage data
&bullOptional services that have been subscribed to

The information CPNI does not include is the more personal details of a customer such as their name, address, or phone number. The only parties that should be aware of the CPNI information are the customer, and the customer's telecommunications carrier.

Under the Telecommunications Act of 1996, in accordance with clarifications from the FCC (Federal Communications Commission), the use of CPNI information is generally prohibited without the express permission of the subscriber, even if the purpose is for marketing the subscriber's other services.
If a subscriber switches their service provider for another, their initial service provider is strictly prohibited from using the information as an attempt to get the customer back.

That being said, not everything regarding Customer Proprietary Network Information is prohibited. For instance, the CPNI rules do not prohibit the assembling and publishing of aggregate customer information. Furthermore, it does not ban the use of subscriber information for creating directories.

Remember that in order to share a customer's CPNI with their agents, affiliates, or parent companies, telecommunications service providers need the customer's permission first. If the customer gives their consent, their carrier will be permitted to share the customer's CPNI, which helps them to learn how to better serve and meet their customer's service needs. Finally, a customer can withdraw their consent to have their CPNI shared at any time. They simply have to notify their carrier.