Abstract - The Information Society 10(4)

Caller ID and the meaning of privacy

Laurie Thomas Lee and Robert LaRose

Caller ID service continues to be a controversial issue in the US because of its privacy implications. State and federal regulators, legislators, scholars, and the courts have examined and responded to the privacy issue from a policy perspective, but perhaps without a complete understanding of the meaning of privacy in the context of the debate. Consequently, privacy in the context of the Caller ID debate is explored from a social science perspective. In addition, the motives for seeking and preserving privacy are examined, and the dynamic relationship between the caller and called party positions are explored. Furthermore, an analysis of current and proposed Caller ID features and policies are provided, with a view toward understanding how these proposals balance competing privacy needs. Finally, an analytic framework and a foundation for the further study of caller and called party privacy that should lead to a better understanding of the privacy debate and the privacy implications of Caller ID are established.

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