What is Customer Proprietary Network Information?
Customer Proprietary Network Information ("private information") is defined as:
- information about the quantity, technical configuration, type, destination, and amount of use of a telecommunications service subscribed to by any customer of a telecommunications carrier, and that is made available to the carrier by the customer
solely by virtue of the carrier-customer relationship; and
- information contained in the bills pertaining to telephone exchange service or telephone toll service received by a customer of a carrier.
Why is it an issue?
In its December, 2001 bills, Qwest Corporation ("Qwest") included an insert to its Arizona customers' bills notifying them that Qwest would be disseminating individual private information to its affiliates unless the customer contacted Qwest within 30
days and informed Qwest that they did not want their private information shared with other Qwest affiliates. This is referred to as an "opt out" policy because customers have to call Qwest to "opt out" of having their private information released.
On January 16, 2002, the Commission held a Special Open Meeting in response to an overwhelming number of calls from consumers expressing confusion over Qwest's notice and its implementation of an "opt-out" policy.
Customers also expressed a lot of frustration because they could not reach Qwest to "opt-out" of having their private information released because the toll-free number provided by Qwest was frequently busy and they could not get through to a Qwest representative.
In addition, concern was expressed that an "opt-out" policy, especially as implemented by Qwest, was misleading and insufficient to protect the privacy rights of Arizona consumers.