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CFP'93 - Pac Bell

CFP'93 - Pacific Bell Privacy Policy

Pacific Bell

Knowing the importance customers place on responsible handling of customer information, Pacific Bell adopted a company privacy policy late last year. As customers have increasing choices among telecommunications providers, privacy protection is likely to become part of the decision when customers choose.

Pacific Bell knows from surveys and consumer forums that Californians are very sensitive to privacy issues. Pacific Bell's policy is an important first step in defining its position on privacy in an increasingly complex, and competitive environment. The Policy is also intended as a practical, internal resource or working reference. It compiles and documents the company's decisions, procedures and practices that protect information, as well as tariffs, statutes, and regulations that guide how information is protected. The Policy currently contains 10 guidelines, covering Customer Information Safeguards, Customer Options and Controls, Residential Customer Protections, Unlisted/Nonpublished, Billing Information, Customer Information and Marketing, Position on Selling Information, Pacific Bell's Internal Use of Information, Balancing Competitive Pressures and Customer Privacy, and Future Products and Services.

For example, some of the guidelines define options offered to customers to allow them to protect information they don't want used by Pacific Bell employees. Other guidelines address controls on the release of information to third parties for billing purposes.

Pacific Bell's policy is a considered first step in seeking a balance between crucial customer privacy protections, cost issues, and the need for some use and transfer of information within the telecommunications industry. Pacific Bell believes there is no such thing as a perfect policy, but setting a stake in the ground is essential. In addition to seeking substantive feedback on the policy, Pacific Bell is considering whether and how to communicate its policy to the public. Pacific Bell believes any policy must be tested on an ongoing basis, to reflect evolving industry and privacy issues.

Privacy: Ten Guidelines

  1. Customer Information Safeguards Pacific Bell safeguards personal customer information and has "Principles and Guidelines" and methods and procedures to guide use and release of customer information.

  2. Customer Options and Controls Pacific Bell respects that customers may want to protect their identities and allows options and controls that give customers a choice.

  3. Residential Customer Protections Pacific Bell protects privacy interests of all customers with particular awareness of residential customer concerns. There are strong protective rules for residential customers, and Pacific Bell believes those rules should be preserved.

  4. Unlisted/Nonpublished Information Pacific Bell does not make available unlisted/nonpublished customer information in directory/database services or in list products.

  5. Billing Information Pacific Bell believes information released for billing purposes should not be reused by the recipient for purposes unrelated to providing telecommunications services, or resold to others, except as provided for by tariff.

  6. Customer Information and Marketing Pacific Bell does not use customer information to market to customers who have requested we not do so.

  7. Position on Selling Information Pacific Bell does not sell customer information-unless that information is already available to the public via Pacific Bell Directory, Directory Assistance,* or provided as necessary to authorized telecommunications providers for billing purposes only. (*Directory Assistance-only information is provided only by a DA operator, thus preventing unauthorized release and limiting direct third party access.)

  8. Pacific Bell's Internal Use of Information Pacific Bell follows careful guidelines controlling its internal use of information. Pacific Bell follows regulatory rules limiting access to certain customer information by customer premise equipment and enhanced service sales personnel, including Information Services Group's (ISG) sales personnel. However, Pacific Bell believes it has the basic business right to keep and use customer information to conduct its business. Customer information is available to Pacific Bell, Telesis, and Pacific Bell Directory personnel to perform their jobs. Pacific Bell does not release information to PacTel companies.

  9. Balancing Competitive Pressures and Customer Privacy Pacific Bell is sensitive to privacy concerns of customers when addressing competitive pressures for releasing information. Competitors' demands should not be the only factor determining privacy decisions; customer expectations are also an important factor.

  10. Future Products and Services Pacific Bell examines potential products and services for privacy implications.

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