WHAT OTHERS SAY: More privacy on cellphones

Wednesday, June 20, 2012 | 11:05 a.m. CDT; updated 11:42 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Missouri lawmakers finally agreed this session that adding cellphones to the state's no-call list would be a victory for people concerned about their privacy.

Gov. Jay Nixon signed the bill into law. So now, simply by spending a couple of minutes at an admirably user-friendly website, Missourians can block many types of frivolous solicitors from dialing their cellphones or sending them text messages.

The federal government already has a no-call registry for cellphones. But Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster correctly notes that it is easier at the state level to catch violators and penalize them. His office pays for enforcement of Missouri's no-call list for land-line telephones through the fines it collects from companies that fail to heed the restrictions.

With the new law, Missourians will be able to block out those calls cheerily letting people know that the cruise of a lifetime could be theirs for the taking.

Charities are exempt from the law, so consumers should remain on the alert for boiler-room operations that solicit money for a charity and use most of it to profit the telemarketers themselves. Companies with which a consumer has an existing business relationship are also exempt. And, unfortunately, Missouri politicians could not bring themselves to ban political calls.

Lawmakers have talked about adding cellphones to the no-call list for years but always attached the idea to more controversial legislation. Now just about every politician in the state is stepping up to take credit for the bill.

No matter. Consumers who sign up by July 31 can be covered on the list starting Oct. 1. Those who sign up between Aug. 1 and Nov. 1 will be covered at the start of 2013. After that, the state will update the list quarterly.

Copyright The Kansas City Star. Reprinted with permission. Questions? Contact news editor Laura Johnston.

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