Verizon Sues Over Wash. Phone Privacy Rules

The Associated Press
Published: Nov 22, 2002

SEATTLE (AP) - Verizon Corp. is suing over the state's telephone privacy rules, saying they impede business and wrongly overstep federal guidelines.

The state rules bar telephone companies from selling customers' calling records or using them to market anything but telecommunications services without customers' permission. The rules were adopted Nov. 7 and are to take effect Jan. 1.

The Federal Communications Commission in July required telephone companies to give their customers an opportunity to be taken off marketing lists, but do not require customers' express approval to use account information for internal marketing purposes.

Verizon's lawsuit, filed Thursday, accuses the state Utilities and Transportation Commission of overstepping its authority and undercutting the company's ability to speak to and serve customers.

"Their rules really tie our hands," said Melissa Barran, spokeswoman for Verizon Northwest in Everett.

Glenn Blackmon, the UTC's assistant director for telecommunications, said the state rules were designed to be respectful of the business needs of telephone companies and the privacy of consumers.


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