Thursday, March 19, 2009

Anonymous Anonymous

Hello, Buddhist? Guess who's calling?

When my mother was staying at her old age residence, I would sometimes get anonymous calls, i.e. my cellphone i.d. check would display: "Withheld". Turned out it was a nurse or a social worker who was trying to reach me and who would get upset that I don't take their calls. "Are you aware that it could be an urgent or important call about your mother?" they would scold. "Sure", I would reply, "but then why would you shield your identity when you make such urgent important calls?". Eventually, I gave up and started taking all anonymous calls, enduring contacts with people I didn't really care to talk to, for the sake of my mother. But still, I would fume at the gall of all those anonymous callers who would call me, therefore obviously knowing who I am, while preventing me from knowing who they were. Now that my mother is not around, I went back to my regular "fuck you" policy with all unnamed callers. It's not a perfect solution, but what to do?

Enter Trapcall, a new service offered by New Jersey's TelTech systems, that allows cellphone users to unmask the Caller ID on blocked incoming calls, obtaining the phone number, and in some cases the name and address, of the no-longer-anonymous caller.

Oh, is that you, asshole?

The service is only available in the US for the time being, but as soon as it's offered in Canada, I'll be among the first to enroll.

P.S. I'm fully aware of the protection offered by blocked id to victims of domestic violence, for example, who might have to keep in touch with their batterers for children custody purposes. My answer is: Two words - Public Phones.

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