paccnd1.html Chapter 1 See index.html for links to the other parts of this report.

- Robin Whittle 26 August 1997





This report outlines the findings of the AUSTEL Privacy Advisory Committee (PAC) on the Calling Line Identification (CLI) based telecommunications service known as Calling Number Display (CND). CND is a service which delivers to subscribers or "receivers" of CND, the telephone number, and sometimes other related information, of the telephone service of the caller, in this report referred to as the "sender".

CND services have been available in some overseas countries for up to six years. They can provide subscribers with a range of useful functions and enhancements which enable organisational and residential consumers to better manage their incoming telephone traffic. Research indicates that CND services are considered to be useful and desirable services, even amongst consumers who do not subscribe to these services.

However, because CND services are based on providing the CLI of senders to CND receivers, CND services can have serious privacy implications. CND changes the relationship between calling and called parties, as, with the introduction of the service, callers will be required to take positive action on the occasions they wish to withhold the number of the phone service from which they are calling. The automatic provision of this information has the potential to identify callers before they have identified themselves, and to remove the control they have previously had over the disclosure of their information to others.

The privacy implications of CND for senders fall broadly into two categories. The first is the level of control CND senders have over the automatic provision of their number to receivers, and whether this information is provided on the basis of informed choice. The second major privacy implication arises from the uses to which CND information may be put by receivers, particularly organisational and business receivers, who have the capacity to capture and possibly manipulate CND generated information.


In line with its terms of reference (Attachment I) the PAC has developed three sets of voluntary self regulatory guidelines for the protection of customer privacy in an opt out CND environment. The guidelines provide a comprehensive framework for the provision of CND services which reflects the privacy expectations of Australians. In conjunction with this they reflect one of the highest levels of consumer privacy protection for CND services in the world.

The guidelines address privacy protection in the internationally accepted key areas of:

They establish clear, common privacy criteria on which new CND services can be offered, and are broad and technologically neutral to facilitate the scope and flexibility of future service innovation. This will enable both consumers and industry to have a firm baseline of privacy expectations and guarantees on which new services can be built.

The following recommendations are incorporated by the guidelines:

The introduction of CND must be considered in the context of the post July 1997 telecommunications regulatory regime. While it is anticipated that the existing carriers will progressively introduce CND services over the next few years, there is likely to be in the future a range of carriers and service providers offering CND services, and telecommunications will potentially be transmitted from calling to called parties over several networks. As far as possible the guidelines have been developed to address the establishment of a standard across different networks.

Regulatory solutions in a multi carrier and multi service provider environment need to establish a basis for common procedures throughout the industry, and common understanding by consumers. The guidelines attempt to enhance seamless delivery of CND services to ensure the integrity of the communication of consumer privacy preferences and to increase the privacy effectiveness of the service.

1.1 Principles and requirements for the provision of Calling Number Display services (CND) in Australia (Attachment A)

The Principles and requirements address the key privacy issues raised by CND. The privacy protection standards established by the CND Principles and requirements represent the highest internationally recognised consumer protections for the privacy regulation of CND services. The standards established for CND services are based on the principle of informed choice, and are designed to balance the interests of both CND senders and receivers. The Principles and requirements will enable CND services to function effectively by providing receivers with a high number of identifiable calls, while providing CND senders with an internationally accepted range of privacy protection options.

It is proposed that CND be introduced to Australia on an opt out basis. As a result telecommunications consumers who do not exercise a choice to withhold their CLI will default to sending their CLI each time they make a telephone call. However, it is recognised that the introduction of new technologies and services should not result in consumers being required to pay to maintain a level of privacy which existed before the new service was available. As a result there will be no charge for consumers maintaining their current level of privacy, and the choice to withhold transmission of CLI will be provided free of charge. The withholding of CLI may be implemented either on all calls made from a telephone service (line blocking), or for the duration of single calls (per call blocking). Consumers with line blocking will also be able to send their CLI for the duration of a single call free of charge (per call sending).

The Principles and requirements provide for consumers to be able to exercise informed choice concerning their participation in CND services by requiring a comprehensive Public Education Campaign about CND before its introduction to a given market.

The Principles and requirements also recognise the prima facie privacy requirement of existing silent line customers, and provide designated arrangements for existing silent line customers in the transition to opt out CND services. Existing silent line customers will be automatically provided with line blocking and per call sending at the introduction of CND services, and will have the opportunity to change to sending their CLI with per call blocking when changing their service options with their direct connect carrier or service provider.

The guidelines require that the privacy protection preferences of customers must be transmitted between interconnected networks of carriers and service providers. In a multiple carrier and service provider environment, it is clear that not all carriers and service providers will provide CND to their directly connected customers at the same time and that they will compete with each other on the type and pricing of CND products. While this requirement for interconnectivity between networks is primarily to maintain the integrity of the customers' privacy preferences, it is not intended to be an impediment to competition because of poor co-operation. Thus, in making CND services available, carriers and service providers will need mechanisms to respond to other network operators' requests for interoperability in a timely way.

1.2 Calling Number Display (CND) Public Education Campaign Guidelines (Attachment B)

Public Education Campaigns will play a key role in informing consumers of both the privacy implications and the available privacy protection options in the supply of CND services. The CND Public Education Campaign is a precondition for the provision of CND services. Telephone services must not be able to send CND unless the consumers who use them have been targeted by a CND Public Education Campaign and the specified levels of consumer awareness have been achieved. Campaigns will be resourced, developed and conducted by the carriers and service providers offering CND services. The Campaign guidelines address the obligations of carriers and service providers in structuring campaigns which will provide adequate opportunity for consumers to understand the privacy implications of CND services for their telephone usage and the particular level of privacy they require.

The guidelines accommodate the progressive introduction of CND services, and accordingly are intended to apply to the provision of CND services in a range of market contexts. Campaign success criteria have been set at a level of 80 per cent awareness amongst consumers of the key campaign aims. The methods employed to achieve the awareness success criteria will vary depending on the size and geographic spread of the consumer group being targeted by the campaign.

For this reason, the guidelines do not prescribe any particular media for the promulgation of CND Public Education Campaigns, as the development of appropriate campaigns will be specific to the nature and scale of the product being introduced. In the case of CND services introduced to a niche market, such as exchanging CND between the customers of a single mobile carrier, carriers and service providers may be able to reach campaign aims by using direct mailing techniques. In the case of CND services introduced to the fixed network on a broad metropolitan or regional basis, the use of mass media would clearly be required.

1.3 Guidelines for the use of CND information (Attachment C)

The Prime Minister's Innovations Statement of 6 December has flagged the introduction of generic privacy protection legislation covering information on individuals held within the private sector in Australia. Although this legislation is likely to provide for the uses of CND generated information, in the interim there is no privacy protection for this information. The Guidelines will provide a voluntary and self regulatory framework for establishing privacy protection protocols for ethical organisations for the uses of CND generated information, and may also provide a framework for future enforceable privacy protection standards.

CND offers benefits to businesses and other organisations by providing customer personal information relating to incoming calls. This information can be used to enhance customer services. However the receipt of CLI by organisational consumers raises privacy protection issues, in particular because of the potential for secondary uses involving the unconsenting use, manipulation, and disclosure of personal information. The provision of CND services places an onus on organisational receivers to employ ethical privacy protection protocols for the secondary use of customer personal information.

The Guidelines provide acceptable standards for CLI privacy protection, within the existing Australian legislative framework. They are based on internationally accepted privacy protection principles. It is recognised that government agencies and either commercial or non commercial organisations may record and use CLI derived from customers' phone calls to the organisation, and as a result the Guidelines are designed for use by all organisations.

The Guidelines also provide practical models for organisations to notify consumers of the organisation's use of CLI information.


On 15 September 1994 the Minister for Communications and the Arts, the Hon Michael Lee MP, wrote to AUSTEL requesting a Privacy Advisory Committee be formed. The Minister requested AUSTEL provide advice on a number of privacy issues of particular concern, including CND, as a matter of priority. In relation to CND he noted:

I am advised by Telecom that the CND trial in Wauchope was conducted with full community consultation and that it was generally well received. However, I would expect any widespread introduction of CND to be accompanied by appropriate industry guidelines to ensure that consumers are able to exercise informed choice.


The PAC was established to advise AUSTEL, under section 53 of the Telecommunications Act 1991. Consistent with the Minister's reference, the PAC has developed guidelines addressing the offering of CND services in accordance with its terms of reference:

... to identify general privacy principles applicable to the telecommunications industry and to develop specific guidelines where necessary ...


... to make recommendations concerning appropriate privacy principles, including the principle of "informed choice", about the introduction of new technologies and specifically the use and re-use of personal data.

In 1992 AUSTEL conducted a public enquiry into the privacy implications of telecommunications services, including CND. Public submissions were invited and received, and the resulting report, Telecommunications Privacy (December 1992), devoted a chapter to issues raised by public submissions on CND.

The deliberations of the PAC took account of international developments in privacy protections for CND services, and expert opinion on specific communications and technical issues. The Committee was also able to examine in detail the evidence of the Telstra CND trial in Wauchope in northern New South Wales, conducted during 1994, and to compare the results of this trial with the findings of international studies on consumer attitudes to CND.

The Wauchope trial research report is valuable, as it is the only available evidence of the consumer experience of CND in Australian conditions. The trial provided the Committee with evidence of the operation of CND, the effectiveness of CND public awareness campaigns, and consumer privacy experiences and expectations. Several member organisations of the PAC, including AUSTEL, were involved in a consultative capacity advising on the trial structure and conduct through the Wauchope CND Trial Consultative Committee.

Early in its consideration of CND, the Committee received a presentation from Denny Sterley, of Sterley and Associates, the communications consultant to the Wauchope trial. The Committee has had the opportunity on three separate occasions to consult in detail with Denny Sterley on the Wauchope community's attitude to CND and privacy, on the effectiveness of the communications strategies used in the trial's public awareness campaign, and on the development of guidelines for the implementation of future CND Public Education Campaigns.

The Committee also attended a demonstration of CND equipment and a range of CLI based services at the Melbourne offices of Nortel.

In order to more intensively address the issues, the Committee formed a CND working group, comprising AUSTEL, the carriers, the Privacy Commissioner and the consumer representative nominated by the Federal Minister for Consumer Affairs. The working group concentrated on developing guidelines reflecting the best of international regulation for the protection of consumer privacy in the provision of CND services, and met on average every three weeks.

CND has been available in a range of European countries and North America for up to six years. In North American jurisdictions in particular, the introduction of CND services was associated with considerable controversy, largely because of inadequate consideration of the privacy interests of CND senders. In the period since introduction, privacy protections in North America have become more widely available and more accessible. In developing an appropriate privacy protection strategy for Australia, the PAC has had the opportunity to examine and take account of the experiences of other jurisdictions. International regulatory solutions to privacy protections have provided valuable models for introducing CND services to Australia in a way which will balance the benefits of the service to receivers with the reasonable privacy expectations of all telecommunications consumers.

The group considered in detail the issues of:

The group also considered some CND issues which are indirectly related to privacy, including the consistency of CND blocking codes, the seamless operation of CND services across telecommunications technologies and carrier networks, and the ranges of available customer equipment. The Committee was concerned that consumers should be able to exercise privacy options simply, reliably and effectively, that the integrity of the communication of consumers' privacy choices between interconnected carriers be ensured, and that carriers and service providers provide options for receiving CND and related services which meet a range of consumer privacy needs. These issues are fundamental to both the ease of understanding and the ease of use of CND privacy protection options by consumers, enabling them to better and more easily exercise informed choice in determining an appropriate level of privacy protection.

In line with the Minister's reference, the AUSTEL Privacy Advisory Committee decided in the first instance to limit its examination of CLI based services to CND. It should be noted therefore that this report has considered only narrowband services on existing PSTN and ISDN networks. It has not considered CLI uses in the broadband environment where customers are likely to increasingly use interactive services, rather than just carriage services. These services may give rise to different commercial and privacy imperatives which will require additional consideration as broadband networks evolve to enable such applications.

The AUSTEL Privacy Advisory Committee has reserved the right to review the privacy implications of new CLI based services before they are introduced to Australia.