I switch telephone providers every year or so. As MNP (and LNP for that matter) is not available here, I have to switch actual telephone numbers alongside. In spite of that, I try to keep all of my old numbers – gotta like to stay in touch.
Generally that is attainable (however cumbersome and sometimes expensive) by setting up all the “old” numbers to forward calls to my currently active one. In luckier parts of the world, MNP addresses most of the issues. In addition, a new trend – specialized companies providing an attractive service “one phone number for life” – has been put on rails.
On the face of it, the idea seems very alluring. Probably everybody has gone at least once in his or her life through the horrors of a telephone number change by force.
Yet when you start pondering of it a number of apparent challenges come in sight:
- Complex white/black-listing is one of the features most pushed in “lifetime number” systems, meaning to help manage (un)wanted calls from largest variety of callers possible on a single phone number.
But what about DDoS?
As much as text based communications (e-mail) are now being routinely protected from DoS/DDoS, successful automated protection from denial of service attacks in voice calls systems is very unforeseeable.
This may rather cheaply be used to compel somebody into giving up their 50-year old number.
- Shit happens, and even the numbers specifically advertised as “lifetime permanent” get reassigned sometimes.
- and What about Privacy? (my “grand central”)
I like to have a good number of working phone numbers. This makes unbinding different parts of my work/life palpable.
Well, many of the numbers I currently use are registered in my name, so any snippets of information mentioning them are traceable to me. But at least not so easily and definitely not for the general public.
With a sole phone number for one’s entire life, it is bound to eventually become a nightmare for just about any most unsociable person on earth.
And the recent acquisition of the world’s largest lifetime phone number provider by the world’s largest data miner “Google” is rather worrisome.
Here’s the bottom line. There is absolutely no reason to envy poor fellow Americans for their privilege to get into this new technical marvel.
I am also pleased with my own substitute for the “lifetime number”.
For now it is my “lifetime email” – a collection of all the email addresses I ever used forwarding to my central mail box being filtered from tons of spam automatically and being protected from most DDoS’es by my current (super easily switchable!) email provider.