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Ottawa, 8 August 2012


To: Distribution List

RE: Privacy concerns due to the unmasking of blocked Caller ID information

Dear Madams/Sirs:

It has been brought to Commission staff’s attention that certain third-party applications or services available to wireless phone subscribers can circumvent a calling party’s attempt to protect his or her privacy without the party’s knowledge. For example, TrapCall service, which is provided by Teltech Systems, allows a user to unmask a telephone number that has been blocked using the Caller ID blocking feature.

Commission staff notes that the protection of subscribers’ privacy is a fundamental telecommunications policy objective, which is reflected in section 7(i) of the Telecommunications Act. Over the years, the Commission has implemented a number of regulatory measures designed to safeguard the confidentiality of customer information and protect the privacy of consumers (e.g. the requirement for certain telecommunications service providers to offer features such as Caller ID blocking and Call Trace). While these features are beneficial for the protection of subscriber privacy, they are particularly essential for various subsets of telecommunications users (e.g. shelters for victims of domestic violence, social workers, and law enforcement officers) who could face threats to their safety if the Caller ID blocking feature is circumvented without their knowledge.

Commission staff considers that applications or services such as TrapCall violate the privacy expectations of subscribers who use the Caller ID blocking feature, and is concerned about the potential impact of such services.

In light of the above, Commission staff is seeking responses from all Canadian wireless carriers to the questions set out below. Wireless carriers are requested to file their responses with the Commission by 22 August 2012 directly to John Macri at

  1. Are you aware of any applications or services, such as TrapCall, available to your subscribers that have the ability to circumvent privacy safeguards? If so, please identify these services and describe how they work.
  2. Have you received any customer complaints with respect to the TrapCall service or similar services that circumvent privacy safeguards? If so, please provide the nature and number of complaints received.
  3. Describe the actions, if any, that you have taken or that you propose to take to address the potential violation of subscribers’ privacy expectations.
    1. Provide a description of each technical solution and explain, with supporting rationale, which solution would be most effective in addressing the issue of circumventing the Caller ID blocking feature.
    2. Identify and explain any other potential approaches, such as regulatory measures or changes in your company’s terms of service, that can be implemented to maintain the privacy expectations of subscribers.

Yours sincerely,

Original signed by William Lloyd for

John Macri
Telecommunications Policy

cc: William Lloyd, CRTC, 819-997-4654,  
James Ndirangu, CRTC, 819-997-3670,
The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association

Distribution List

Bell Mobility Inc.  
Data & Audio-Visual Enterprises Wireless Inc. (MOBILICITY Wireless)
Globalive Wireless Management Corp. (WIND Mobile)
MTS Inc. / Allstream Inc.
Public Mobile Inc.
Rogers Communications Partnership
Saskatchewan Telecommunications
TELUS Mobility
Vidéotron s.e.n.c. / Videotron G.P.

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