Howard County Maryland Blog

Local Politics and Current Events

Phone for Rent

Posted by bsflag2007 on Thursday, February 22, 2007

Is there anyone out there who actually enjoys getting calls from telephone solicitors, or computers, or advertisers …. or automated calls from political campaigns? OK, the calls from Cheryl Crow and Lance Armstrong were kind of amusing – the first time.

Does anyone actually respond to these calls? Buy the product? Apply for the mortgage? Well – someone must, or they would have stopped making them by now. To those folks I say – stop that! It’s like giving-in to a whining child. It only encourages them to continue or even escalate. I can speak from personal experience here —- every time I give-in to my whining children I regret it… and pay for it.

Unfortunately, since we can’t seem to get everyone to play from the same telephone solicitor rearing handbook, we have been forced to turn to legislation and no call lists and rules to try to halt these annoying behaviors without interfering with the rights of free speech. I’m not sure why we have to give Canadians freedom of speech (lots of telephone solicitors are based in Canada) — though I’d be tempted to reconsider my no tolerance policy for torture of foreign nationals in this case. But I digress.

Using the “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” theory of government — the folks in Annapolis are going to try to stop these annoying phone calls through the “no call list” by removing the exemption for political users. This might be considered “self-policing” but if it works, I’d be happy – and surprised.

Legislation would ban automated political calls

Proposed bills would end candidates’ exemption from no-call registry rules

Sun Reporter

Originally published February 22, 2007, 4:03 PM EST

Annoyed by pre-recorded phone calls from political candidates? Maryland lawmakers have heard the complaints, and now they’re considering getting rid of a political exemption from the do-not-call registry.”

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I have a different approach based on a fundamentally capitalist argument.

My phone is my tool — my personal property. I pay for it. I pay for its’ acquisition, its’ maintenance, its’ connection, its’ service. It is a device and a service I purchase and pay for for MY convenience. (this is the same argument I use for my daughter’s cell phone – which I assert when I want her to turn it off and not answer it during dinner – but again, I digress).

I would like to develop a device which charges people who use my tool without my permission or agreement.

We have come close with the devices and services which block “private numbers” from ringing through — (which strikes me as another annoying pay for protection scheme — I pay the phone company for a service for my convenience, then they allow/facilitate the unauthorized and annoying use of my tool by telemarketers, then offer to protect me from these people for a fee)—- but the telemarketers figured out ways around that, and people with very real privacy concerns are penalized.

I heard about a device which would answer your phone and if it detected a computer on the line would send out a tone which would disable the computer — I think it was wishful thinking, but I want one.

It is my proposal that we stop thinking about our personal tools – our telephones – as some kind of community property that unauthorized folks have unlimited rights to use without compensation to the owner.

I would like a device attached to my phone which could be programmed to automatically allow pre-approved numbers through…. and would issue a warning to others —- “there is a $5 per connection charge for ringing this number which can only be waived by the owner of this number…. do you wish to proceed with connection?” Then – when I answer, I have the ability to either process the charge or not. If “not”, I may add that new number to my approved database. If “process the charge” – I’ll just let them keep calling and collect my $5 — or put them on the permanent do not ring list.

Of course, the telephone company would want a cut of the action — they are accomplices in the whole “scheme” of things, after all.

Unfortunately, the problem with this device is that once it becomes a success, it will become obsolete almost immediately. Once the privilege of being annoying begins to carry a price tag, it will stop.

Maybe I should concentrate on the device that enables us to zap the computer – that would be more satisfying. Investors welcome.

Cindy Vailancourt

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One Response to “Phone for Rent”

  1. jim adams said

    Count me in Cindy

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