What Is CPNI (Consumer Proprietary Network Information)?

The Consumer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) is information that telecommunication services (I.E. local, long distance and wireless telephone carriers) acquire about their subscribers. The information that is collected typically includes the services they use, as well as the amount that they use these services and the type of usage.

To be more specific, the type of information the CPNI includes is the various data displayed on a customer’s monthly phone bill, which may include:

• Telephone line type and its technical characteristics

• Service class

• Existing phone charges

• Local and long distance service billing records

• Directory assistant charges

• Usage data

• Calling patterns

• All optional services to which the customer has subscribed

• And so on

Although the CPNI collects all of the above information of telephone customers, the CPNI does not include the customer’s personal information, such as their name, address or phone number. The only parties that are privy to this personal information are the customer and their telecommunications company.

Furthermore, it is important to note that the Telecommunications Act of 1996, together with the clarification from the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC), usually forbids the use of any information that is collected about a customer, even for marketing purposes, unless express permission to use the information is first given by the customer. In addition, if a customer switches service providers, the previous telecommunications carrier they were with, is not permitted to use any information in an attempt to lure the customer back.

However, the CPNI does not prohibit everything. For example, the CPNI rules do not forbid the gathering and publishing of aggregate customer information. Moreover, the CPNI rules do not prohibit the use of telephone subscribers’ information for the purpose of creating directories.

Keep in mind, a telecommunication provider must have their customer’s permission first before they can share their customer’s CPNI with any third party, including other agents, affiliates, or parent companies. That being said, generally, when a customer allows a telecommunications provider to share their CPNI, this helps the provider to better serve the customer and meet their service needs. Nevertheless, a customer has the right to notify their carrier that they withdraw their consent to have their CPNI shared whenever they wish, and their carrier must comply with their request.

It is important that you know your rights so you have the chance to protect yourself and your personal information. Therefore, should you feel that your rights are ever being violated, you can find out who owns a phone number [http://www.whoownsthisphonenumber.com] and file a compliant with the FCC.