Silent Numbers: they’re like nick-knocking, only worse

On 13/07/2011 by Ron

Twenty years ago, if the phone rang, we’d just answer it.

There was no Calling Number Display, and we all just used to hope it was someone we wanted to speak to.

Calling Number Display is known by many names, including Caller Line Identification (CLI), Caller ID and Caller Name Display (CND). It means that your telephone number is displayed to people you’re calling.  If they’ve got a compatible handset, they can see who you are before they answer.

Today, it’s extraordinarily impolite to block your phone number when you’re making an outbound call.  To manage time effectively, your friends and colleagues need to be able to identify what’s relevant to them, and fast, and everything else can go on the back-burner. We’ve all got a finite amount of time to get work done, and the telephone can be a big distraction.

When you’re calling someone, let them know who you are straight-up.  At least if they know who’s calling, and they miss the call or they’re too busy to answer at the time, they can get back to you as soon as possible.

Remember, there’s a big distinction between a call being unwelcome, and an interruption being unwelcome.

The worst offenders for not sending CLI would have to be government agencies and large corporates, which default Calling Number Display to “off” in their PABX systems for outbound calls.

In fact, one Melbourne public hospital, which Shack West has dealt with in the past, was even sending the wrong CLI (from an old number range) with every outbound call! How does that help anyone?!

Look at it this way: would you open an email, if the “From:” field was blank? Would you open your front door, if you asked who was there and got no response? Would you answer a text message with no sender information?

Of course, to protect your privacy, you can always block your number on a call-by-call basis.  This is as simple as dialling a code like 1831 before the rest of the number.

But even if you have an unlisted or silent number, consider dialling the short code 1832 before calling friends or family you trust. This will send your CLI for that call only, and your friends (and Shack West) will thank you.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has a fact sheet about Calling Number Display.

These days, not sending your number on outbound calls is like digital nick-knocking. It’s annoying, and it’s unproductive.

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