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Can you hear me now?

telephone.jpgWell this is really stupid. The good folks at Concurring Opinions have put up an entry letting folks know that they may start more getting telemarketing calls again next year. If you’re like me, you signed up for the federal Do Not Call list shortly after it came online back in June 2003. If you’re also like me, you may not have realized that the Federal Trade Commission, which keep an eye on the list, did something very stupid, deciding that requests would expire after five years. This means that starting in June 2008, phone numbers will begin falling off of the Do Not Call registry, and telemarketers will be free to harass and harass again.

The FTC says there’s an easy fix - just sign up again. “It was so easy for people to sign up in the first instance. It will be just as easy for them to re-up.” Sure, that’s relatively easy to do. But why should folks even have this burden placed on them - they signed up once, why isn’t that good enough? The FTC says that the expiration is intended to thin out the list, removing numbers for folks who have moved or changed their phone numbers. “Just like a regular person who needs to clean out their address book every so often, the commission felt that was something that was important to do with the registry.”

A Congressman from Pennsylvania calls BS on this, however, noting that the list is automatically purged, every month, of any phone numbers that have been disconnected or reassigned. Which would seem to cover the FTC’s big concern. And Representative Doyle introduced legislation to the House seeking to make registration on the Do Not Call list permanent, because folks “shouldn’t have to keep a calendar to find out when they have to re-up to keep this nuisance from happening.”

Well lookey here - Congress is actually trying to do something that would make our lives just a smidge easier. It’s like Opposite Day or something.

(And as a PSA, you can register your phone numbers or file a complaint by calling 1-888-382-1222 or heading over to www.donotcall.gov.)