The Information We Obtain and How We Use It
The information we obtain from you is generally necessary for us to provide your services and design new services for your future use. For example, we need to know your name, address and the services you buy from us to properly provide and bill for those services. When you call us, our representatives pull up account records and may refer to your bill, your calling patterns, and other information we have to answer questions you may have or recommend how we can best serve you.
We may also use information in our records to protect our customers, employees or property – for instance, to investigate fraud, harassment or other types of unlawful service activities involving MTC or other carriers that we do business with. In some cases, it may be necessary to provide this information to the government or third parties who make a lawful demand for it.
We share information within our MTC companies to enable us to better understand our customers’ product and service needs, and to learn how to best design, develop, and package products and services to meet those needs. Currently, our primary lines of business include local and long distance services, Internet access for businesses and consumers, and on-line services. We also offer other products and services, for example, Frame Relay, T1/DS1, telephone equipment, cellular and voice mail services.
Accuracy of the Information We Hold
We want the information we obtain and use about customers to be accurate. If your service information or your personal contact information changes or you see an inaccuracy on your MTC bill, let us know so we can correct it.
Security and Accountability
We have information systems that collect and store customer information in addition to systems that store our own business records. These systems have different types of security as appropriate for the information stored. MTC requires employees to keep customer information confidential and we hold them accountable for their actions.
Providing Services to Enhance Your Privacy
Non-published numbers, Caller ID and Caller ID blocking services, Anonymous Call Rejection, and No Solicitation are among the privacy services MTC offers to enhance your privacy.
Disclosure of Information Outside MTC
As a general rule, MTC does not release customer account information to unaffiliated third parties without your permission unless we have a business relationship with those companies where the disclosure is appropriate. For example, we may hire outside companies as contractors or agents; or we might be engaged in a joint venture or partnership with a company. Upon occasion, MTC may decide to stop providing a service or may decide to sell or transfer parts of our business to unaffiliated companies. When this happens, we may provide confidential customer information to these companies so that they can offer you the same or similar services. In all of these situations, we provide information to these other companies only as needed to accomplish our business objectives and the companies are bound by requirements to keep MTC customers’ information confidential.
There are exceptions to the general rule. For example, we might provide information to regulatory or administrative agencies so that they can accomplish their regulatory tasks (for example, responding to a customer complaint) or to maximize the efficiencies of our own processes (such as getting mailing addresses correct, for example). Other disclosures will be driven by legal requirements imposed on MTC. MTC complies with “legal process,” such as a subpoena or court order or other similar demand, associated with either criminal or civil proceedings.
Disclosure of Account Information
If you tell us in writing to release your account information to someone, we will honor your request and provide that information.
Your account information is released to other carriers when you give us your permission or when they advise us they have your approval to access the information. This most often occurs with respect to a sale of service they want to make or have made to you. Unless we are advised that permission from you has been granted, we do not release the information.
We may provide account information to collection agencies when customers do not pay their bills. We restrict the use that can be made of this information to collection activities only for our charges and for the charges we bill for others.
Other carriers use MTC to bill for their charges. In this case, they provide us with information about you, including your calling patterns, and we bill you on their behalf. In turn, we provide them with non-sensitive information about your service, such as the date your service was established or disconnected; whether you have toll or 900 blocking services, whether you have a calling card or not and when it was issued, how you pay your bills and if they are paid on time.
Disclosure of Customer Telephone Numbers, Names and Addresses
Telephone number, name and sometimes address information is “released” by MTC in different ways. It is sometimes released as “lists” to entities that are entitled by law to receive the information or which have entered into contracts with MTC to receive it. The information is sometimes released through the network “transactionally,” such as when your phone number and name are released through a Caller ID mechanism. Sometimes the information is provided in reports to those persons who are being called by you and want to know more about who is call1ng them and when. Whether a number is recognized as “published” or not will generally depend on the medium by which the number is captured and released.
For example, a person can ask MTC to include them in directories (that is “publish” their number) or not. Persons can ask to not be published in directories but included in Directory Assistance (non-listed numbers). Or persons can ask not to be either in directories or Directory Assistance (non-published). All of these terms refer to a “listing” status.
However, the telephone network does not recognize a number as published/listed or non-listed or non-published. Thus, the network will “pass” that number to interconnecting carriers (local, long distance, wireless) and to called parties. Only if the network (a) has the capability to block the number; and (b) you have invoked a blocking mechanism will the called party (but not the carriers in between) be unable to see the calling number. And, where both the calling number and name are “carried” as part of the network call, generally both will be displayed or both will be blocked.
In some cases, such as on some party- or coin-operated lines, as well as calls to pay-per-call (900) or toll-free numbers (such as 800/888/877 numbers), the network does not have the capability to block your underlying phone number even if you invoke Caller ID blocking. And there may be other services that rely on this type of automatic number identification (ANI) technology, such as cable companies that offer movies keyed to the automatic delivery of your phone number or pizza companies that route your calls to the closest stores based on your number. There are a variety of businesses that subscribe to these types of services. By federal regulation, however, businesses that utilize this technology can only use it to provide you the service in question or one directly related to it. And, because federal law requires phone numbers associated with facsimile transmissions to be released as part of the facsimile, these phone numbers are not blocked either.
When you order services from us to connect to an Internet Service Provider (ISP) or choose a carrier, we may need to advise them of your telephone number in order that they may provide your requested service. This includes non-listed and non-published telephone numbers.
In addition to the above types of disclosures, MTC is required, by law, to make disclosures of customer telephone number, name and address information in certain circumstances, including those described below.
We are required to provide listed customer names, addresses and telephone numbers to directory publishers – our own and others. MTC and other directory publishers may publish this information in alphabetical or reverse directories that take the form of paper directories, electronic directories over the Internet, or on CDs. We also provide customer name and addresses for all customers (including non-listed and non-published customers) to directory publishers to allow for directory deliveries, but only for that purpose.
We are required to provide customer names, addresses and telephone numbers to directory assistance and operator services providers. This information includes non-listed information, as well as the name and address of non-published customers. By contract, MTC requests these companies to honor the privacy indicators that may be included in their purchased lists and such indicators are included for non-listed and non-published numbers. Some of these providers offer Internet or online directory assistance services.
In some cases, when you dial 911, your name, address and telephone number information is provided to the emergency service provider. And, by law, we are required to provide this information, including non-listed and non-published information, to emergency service providers and emergency support services providers upon request in a more comprehensive format.
If you place a long distance call using a provider other than the one you use on your home phone — for example, if you place a calling card or third number billed call from a pay phone – MTC is required by law to provide billing name and address information to the service provider. This includes names and addresses associated with non-published and non-listed information where the individual has not objected. This information cannot be used for marketing purposes. Similar information is provided with respect to the provision of services by non-MTC carriers.
We might provide your name and address to administrative agencies where we are working with them to minimize costs and maximize accuracy. For example, we might share this information with the Post Office so that we continue to get reduced postage rates and you get your bills and other information from us in a cost-efficient, reliable and timely fashion.
We also compile lists of customer names, addresses and telephone numbers of the type printed in the White Pages directories and provide these lists to qualified companies that are conducting product promotions. Non-published and non-listed numbers are not included in these lists and we remove other customers from these lists by request.
Your Control Over the Disclosure of Information
You tell us the telephone listings you want to include in our directories and in directory assistance. You also may choose to have a non-published or non-listed number, or to exclude your address from your listing.
As we addressed above, in certain cases you can block the transmission of your telephone number (and name) to those persons you call.
Some states have adopted their own “Do Not Call” laws, which are usually managed by a third party database administer. Often those laws permit continued contact with persons whose numbers are on the list when there is an existing business relationship, so you might get a call from us even if you are on these kinds of lists.
It is MTC’s practice to stop sending direct mail materials to individuals that request it not be sent. There are no laws that control this accommodation, but we respect the desire of individuals to be free of such communications if they wish.
MTC or its business partners may use e-mail to communicate with customers about events or new products and services or to respond to visitor’s e-mails. We will not send commercial solicitations to customers who request it not be sent. Please note that if you do make the request to be excluded, some e-mail messages may still come to you, although not those dealing with commercial solicitations. For example, we may e-mail you about viruses, or changes to your service, or other types of product advisories.
We honor customer requests to have their names removed from lists that MTC might provide to firms desiring to do product promotions. Customers with non-listed and non-published numbers are not included on the lists. For individuals with listed information, if you do not wish to have your name included on such lists, just tell us and we will remove your name at no charge.