Heiko Recktenwald on Fri, 5 May 2000 12:09:51 +0200 (CEST)


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[Nettime-bold] telecom privacy: US West & SSNs (fwd)


Voila:

Subject: telecom privacy: US West & SSNs  (fwd)

Voila:

Until the very recent news about the Supreme Court filing by EPIC and others
in the "US West v. FCC" case about CPNI (Customer Proprietary Network Info.),
little if anything was on the screen involving US West and privacy of consumer
information. That's the way it seemed to be except for the earlier stages in
this CPNI case and the CallerID controversy of what is now the "old days." But
the US West-privacy front is quiet no longer. 

Recent US West bills were accompanied by a glossy insert that along with the
usual marketing promos, directed customers to "uswest.com/online" for access
to ordering products and services, reviewing and archiving phone bills,
contacting repair, getting updates and discounts, and making suggestions and
asking questions. How nice. How Net-hip.... The real fun, however, begins when
you discover you have to register and supply a PIN--which says US West, must
be the last four digits of your SSN. No SSN-PIN, no access. Company "policy,"
they say. "Security," they say. It's for your own protection.... US West says
those four digits will yield a positive ID of the customer and admit they will
link it to the full SSN. Even if the customer hasn't previously disclosed
their SSN to US West, the company wants you to do just that to access these
free online goodies.

US West, regulators and informed consumers know full well that the telco
cannot require SSN disclosure; e.g., when ordering new local service; yet with
this latest online nicety, US West appears to be trying to get through the
back door what they know full well they can't get through the front door. The
telco (no longer merely that, of course) however, would presumably
disagree--this "service" is only "discretionary;" it's not a "telecom"
service; if it is, then it's unregulated....

A complaint to WA State regulators a few weeks ago focused largely on US
West's otherwise impermissible attempt to require SSN disclosure as a
condition of access. PUC staff indicated by way of background
that  consumer complaints concerning US WEST and SSN issues totaled eight
between 1996 and 1999, along with one consumer inquiry. The
present complaint is still pending.

------
Excerpts from the exchange between PUC staff and US West:

PUC: "Cust[omer] would like to access the online services of US W. US W said
that they need his social security number to set up the pin #.  Cust does not
want to provide it.  Why is US W requiring the ss#?"

USW: "To ensure  user security due to the customer being able to view bills &
pending order activity, E-Business requires customers to authenticate
themselves by entering a 13[-] digit account number.... The customer will also
be prompted to enter the last 4 digits of their SS#.  This is the SS# ... that
has been recorded on their billing records.  However, part of the problem here
is that [the consumer] has refused to share his SS# with USW (which he does
have a right to do). E-Business customers may have the need for additional
information about the use of this application or encounter problems."

PUC: "I believe you ... can ask for the SS # [,] but if they say no, isn't
there an option to provide any other 4 numbers?"  Then, "... the customer does
not have  on file and is not required to provide a SS# to USW.  What
accomodations will US W make to allow this customer  and others on-line
access?  Can't US W just request any 4[-]digit number as a PIN number?  I
don't think you can require a ss#.  I would hate to think US W plans to  limit
this function to people because they don't want to provide it."

US West: "You're right[;]we can't require a SS# & I truly feel as this is used
by more & more customers that have a privacy issue that we'll figure out a way
to accomodate customers."
------


Background excerpts from "uswest.com/online:"

Welcome to the online center that helps you to do business with 
U S WEST on your terms. These convenient new features offer you 
instant access to the services you need, and they're always 
available. 

Sign up to review your bill or make online payments. 
Plus, try our reverse directory lookup 

[review bills & payments] 
[contact customer service] 

 e-mail us 

Now you can have 'round the clock access to new 
products and services. 

repair requests 

online yellow/white 
pages 

Free e-mail updates on the latest technologies and 
e-mail service offers. 

 1995 - 1999 U S WEST 



PIN Registration Help 

1. You must enter your U S WEST account number as it appears on
your U S WEST phone bill. Account # is located at the top 
right corner of your U S WEST bill and is made up of your Area
Code, Phone Number, and Account Code (Example: "303-999-9999-111") Please
enter numbers only, the "R" is not required.

2. You must enter the last four digits of the Social Security
number for the U S WEST customer who appears on the bill. For 
example, if your social security number is 123-45-6789, then you
would enter only 6789. 

3. If your account does not have a Social Security number on your
U S WEST customer record, you will be unable to register 
for a U S WEST PIN number and use the Online Tools. Please
contact us at 1-800-244-1111 to update your records. 

[....] 


 1995 - 1999 U S WEST



[U S WEST] [legal notices] 

Copyright  1998 U S WEST. All rights 
reserved. Permission is given to view, 
copy, print, and distribute material on 
this Web site subject to the following 
conditions: 
 * This material may be used only for 
notification internal, informational, 
non-commercial purposes. 
 * Any copy of the material or portion 
counter thereof must include this copyright 
notification notice. 

Content and Liability Disclaimer 

U S WEST uses reasonable efforts to include 
accurate, complete and current information 
on this site, however, U S WEST does not 
warrant that the content herein is 
accurate, complete, current, or free of 
technical or typographical errors.

Some restrictions apply to products and 
services. Some products and services are 
not available in all markets.

Access to, and use of, this site and the 
content thereof is at the risk of the user. 
We have provided links to certain other 
World Wide Web sites solely for your 
convenience, and U S WEST is not 
responsible for the content of any other 
sites. It is up to you to take precautions 
to ensure that whatever you select for your 
use is free of such items as viruses, 
worms, Trojan horses and other items of a 
destructive nature. 

U S WEST MAKES NO WARRANTIES OR 
REPRESENTATIONS, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, 
INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO WARRANTIES OF 
MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR 
PURPOSE, OR NON-INFRINGEMENT. 

NEITHER U S WEST NOR ANY PARTY INVOLVED IN 
CREATING, PRODUCING OR DELIVERING THIS SITE 
SHALL BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INCIDENTAL, 
CONSEQUENTIAL, INDIRECT OR PUNITIVE DAMAGES 
OR ANY DAMAGES WHATSOEVER ARISING OUT OF 
YOUR ACCESS, USE OR INABILITY TO USE THIS 
SITE OR ON ANY OTHER HYPERLINKED WEB SITE, 
OR ANY ERRORS OR OMISSIONS IN THE CONTENT 
THEREOF. 

[....] 


Contributions 

Any comments, suggestions or other 
information sent to U S WEST is provided 
without restriction or obligation on 
U S WEST and will not be held in 
confidence. 
  

Consent to Monitoring 

U S WEST is under no obligation to monitor 
the material residing on or transmitted to 
this server. However, anyone using this 
server agrees that U S WEST may monitor the 
server contents periodically to (1) comply 
with any necessary laws, regulations or 
other governmental requests; (2) to operate 
the server properly or to protect itself 
and its users. U S WEST reserves the right 
to modify, reject, or eliminate any 
material residing on or transmitted to its 
server that it, in its sole discretion, 
believes is unacceptable or in violation of 
the law or these terms and conditions. 

U S WEST systems and applications with 
access control may be used ONLY by 
authorized users. User processing 
activities will be monitored for 
administrative and security purposes. 
Anyone using these systems or applications 
expressly consents to such monitoring and 
to the use of any evidence of unauthorized 
access, use or modification for criminal 
prosecution. 
  

Privacy Statement 

...strong commitment to protect customers' 
privacy on all the Web sites it operates. 
We welcome visitors to our sites, and we 
want to ensure you are comfortable. We 
pledge that as we gather and use 
information about you, we do so 
responsibly. All of our employees are 
required to safeguard the privacy of 
information about our customers. This same 
expectation is made of our partners, 
contractors and suppliers. 

The information collected from users of 
U S WEST Web sites is used to ensure 
quality customer service or to comply with 
state and federal regulations. For example, 
when an on-line employment application is 
submitted, that information must be 
retained to ensure fair hiring practices 
according to state and federal laws. That 
information would not be used to generate 
marketing lists, or shared with persons 
outside of those directly involved in Human 
Resource efforts at U S WEST. On other 
occasions, a user may submit information 
such as general inquiries, on-line 
ordering, inquiries for product and service 
information, establishing a profile for 
receiving news alerts or information, and 
for sweepstakes entry. We may use this 
information for our own customer contact 
purposes, e.g., to contact or send 
materials for marketing purposes, or to 
apprise customers of upcoming events and 
new products. However, we will take 
commercially reasonable steps to safeguard 
the information from unauthorized access, 
and will not make individually identifiable 
information that is gathered on our sites 
available to unaffiliated organizations for 
commercial purposes unrelated to the 
business of U S WEST. 

When users access a U S WEST Web site, 
information is saved down to the client's 
Internet Protocol (IP) address. When users 
access U S WEST DEX to perform a directory 
search, the client's IP address and the 
target city and state search parameters are 
saved. In a proximity search where a user 
is looking for a business, the user's 
address information is collected to ensure 
the search is accurate. 


U S WEST, or agents on U S WEST's behalf, 
will use e-mail to respond to specific 
questions or issues, or to inform about 
events or new products. U S WEST will not 
send commercial solicitation via e-mail to 
individuals who log on to its Web sites who 
request it not be sent. If U S WEST should 
change this policy, this statement will be 
updated to reflect that change. 


U S WEST reserves the right to increase 
its' information collection capabilities in 
order to better serve our customer needs. 
This privacy statement will be updated in 
the event that U S WEST changes its 
practices regarding customer information 
collected via the Web site. 

[....] 

 1995 - 1999 U S WEST | legal notices | privacy statement
Title: Online Center
[U S WEST]

[....]

Welcome to the online center that helps you to do business with
U S WEST on your terms. These convenient new features offer you
instant access to the services you need, and they're always
available.

[....]

Sign up to review your bill or make online payments.
Plus, try our reverse directory lookup
[review bills & payments]
[contact customer service]
e-mail us
Now you can have 'round the clock access to new
 products and services.
repair requests

[online tools]
online yellow/white
pages

[....]

Free e-mail updates on the latest technologies and
e-mail service offers.

[....]

© 1995 - 1999 U S WEST | legal notices | privacy statement

Title: PIN reg.
[U S WEST]

PIN Registration Help

1. You must enter your U S WEST account number as it appears on your U S WEST phone bill. Account # is located at the top
right corner of your U S WEST bill and is made up of your Area Code, Phone Number, and Account Code (Example: "303-999-9999-111") Please enter numbers only, the "R" is not required.[Account # is located at the top right corner of your bill and is made up of your Area Code, Phone Number, and Account Code.]

2. You must enter the last four digits of the Social Security number for the U S WEST customer who appears on the bill. For
example, if your social security number is 123-45-6789, then you would enter only 6789.

3. If your account does not have a Social Security number on your U S WEST customer record, you will be unable to register
for a U S WEST PIN number and use the Online Tools. Please contact us at 1-800-244-1111 to update your records.

[....]

If you are still unable to register your U S WEST PIN please complete the Customer Service e-mail form with the the following
information:

1. The account number you are entering, including telephone number and the three digit account code.

2. The last four digits of the Social Security number for the U S WEST customer who appears on the bill.

We will research your account and contact you with the resolution. Thank you for your patience as we continue to offer you the convenience of additional Online Tools.
 

© 1995 - 1999 U S WEST | legal notices | privacy statement

Title: Notices
[U S WEST] [legal notices]

Copyright © 1998 U S WEST. All rights
reserved. Permission is given to view,
copy, print, and distribute material on
this Web site subject to the following
conditions:
 * This material may be used only for
notification internal, informational,
 non-commercial purposes.
 * Any copy of the material or portion
counter thereof must include this copyright
notification notice.
 * You may establish a hypertext link to
the U S WEST Web site from your World
Wide Web site so long as the page
containing the link properly
attributes the linked site to U S WEST
and does not in any way imply
U S WEST's sponsorship of your site.
However, you may not, without
obtaining U S WEST's written
permission, republish, redistribute or
otherwise make any copies, of the
materials on the U S WEST site, as a
part of the link, including by framing
or similar means, or otherwise.

No other use of the material within this
web site or portion thereof is permitted
without the express written consent of
U S WEST.
 

Misuse of Content and Copyrighted Materials

U S WEST has designated an agent to receive
notifications of alleged copyright
infringement. If you are aware of misuse of
content or copyrighted materials, please
complete and submit a Copyright
Infringement Notification Form. Subscribers
who feel that an infringement notification
has been filed in error may complete and
submit a Copyright Infringement Counter
Notification Form. The completed forms will
automatically be sent to the designated
agent.
 

Content and Liability Disclaimer

U S WEST uses reasonable efforts to include
accurate, complete and current information
on this site, however, U S WEST does not
warrant that the content herein is
accurate, complete, current, or free of
technical or typographical errors. It is
your responsibility to verify any
information before relying on it. U S WEST
reserves the right to make changes and
updates to any information contained within
this site without prior notice.

Some restrictions apply to products and
services. Some products and services are
not available in all markets Ð check with
your U S WEST Service Representative.

Access to, and use of, this site and the
content thereof is at the risk of the user.
We have provided links to certain other
World Wide Web sites solely for your
convenience, and U S WEST is not
responsible for the content of any other
sites. It is up to you to take precautions
to ensure that whatever you select for your
use is free of such items as viruses,
worms, Trojan horses and other items of a
destructive nature.

U S WEST MAKES NO WARRANTIES OR
REPRESENTATIONS, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED,
INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO WARRANTIES OF
MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR
PURPOSE, OR NON-INFRINGEMENT.

NEITHER U S WEST NOR ANY PARTY INVOLVED IN
CREATING, PRODUCING OR DELIVERING THIS SITE
SHALL BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INCIDENTAL,
CONSEQUENTIAL, INDIRECT OR PUNITIVE DAMAGES
OR ANY DAMAGES WHATSOEVER ARISING OUT OF
YOUR ACCESS, USE OR INABILITY TO USE THIS
SITE OR ON ANY OTHER HYPERLINKED WEB SITE,
OR ANY ERRORS OR OMISSIONS IN THE CONTENT
THEREOF.

[....]

Dispute Resolution

Any claims arising out of the use of the
U S WEST Web site shall be resolved by
arbitration in Denver, Colorado in
accordance with the then current rules of
the American Arbitration Association. The
internal laws of the State of Colorado
(other than conflicts of law rules) and of
the United States of America shall apply. A
single arbitrator engaged in the practice
of law shall conduct the arbitration. The
arbitrator's decision and award shall be
final and binding and may be entered in any
court with jurisdiction.

Contributions

Any comments, suggestions or other
information sent to U S WEST is provided
without restriction or obligation on
U S WEST and will not be held in
confidence.
 

Consent to Monitoring

U S WEST is under no obligation to monitor
the material residing on or transmitted to
this server. However, anyone using this
server agrees that U S WEST may monitor the
server contents periodically to (1) comply
with any necessary laws, regulations or
other governmental requests; (2) to operate
the server properly or to protect itself
and its users. U S WEST reserves the right
to modify, reject, or eliminate any
material residing on or transmitted to its
server that it, in its sole discretion,
believes is unacceptable or in violation of
the law or these terms and conditions.

U S WEST systems and applications with
access control may be used ONLY by
authorized users. User processing
activities will be monitored for
administrative and security purposes.
Anyone using these systems or applications
expressly consents to such monitoring and
to the use of any evidence of unauthorized
access, use or modification for criminal
prosecution.
 

Privacy Statement

strong commitment to protect customers'
privacy on all the Web sites it operates.
We welcome visitors to our sites, and we
want to ensure you are comfortable. We
pledge that as we gather and use
information about you, we do so
responsibly. All of our employees are
required to safeguard the privacy of
information about our customers. This same
expectation is made of our partners,
contractors and suppliers.

The information collected from users of
U S WEST Web sites is used to ensure
quality customer service or to comply with
state and federal regulations. For example,
when an on-line employment application is
submitted, that information must be
retained to ensure fair hiring practices
according to state and federal laws. That
information would not be used to generate
marketing lists, or shared with persons
outside of those directly involved in Human
Resource efforts at U S WEST. On other
occasions, a user may submit information
such as general inquiries, on-line
ordering, inquiries for product and service
information, establishing a profile for
receiving news alerts or information, and
for sweepstakes entry. We may use this
information for our own customer contact
purposes, e.g., to contact or send
materials for marketing purposes, or to
apprise customers of upcoming events and
new products. However, we will take
commercially reasonable steps to safeguard
the information from unauthorized access,
and will not make individually identifiable
information that is gathered on our sites
available to unaffiliated organizations for
commercial purposes unrelated to the
business of U S WEST.

When users access a U S WEST Web site,
information is saved down to the client's
Internet Protocol (IP) address. When users
access U S WEST DEX to perform a directory
search, the client's IP address and the
target city and state search parameters are
saved. In a proximity search where a user
is looking for a business, the user's
address information is collected to ensure
the search is accurate.

There may be instances where U S WEST
generates general statistics about the
information provided by the Web site users.
This analysis is not specific to any one
user and is used for evaluation of the
effectiveness of the site. These statistics
may be used to understand volumes of usage
and to improve areas within the Web site
for all our visitors.

U S WEST, or agents on U S WEST's behalf,
will use e-mail to respond to specific
questions or issues, or to inform about
events or new products. U S WEST will not
send commercial solicitation via e-mail to
individuals who log on to its Web sites who
request it not be sent. If U S WEST should
change this policy, this statement will be
updated to reflect that change.

Users may be able to link to non-U S WEST
sites from this site. U S WEST is not
responsible for the content or privacy
practices employed by other sites.

U S WEST reserves the right to increase
its' information collection capabilities in
order to better serve our customer needs.
This privacy statement will be updated in
the event that U S WEST changes its
practices regarding customer information
collected via the Web site.

[....]

© 1995 - 1999 U S WEST | legal notices | privacy statement