I am responding to "When the caller becomes the callee, ID can be scary" by Scott Taylor (July 30). I have been using the Caller ID service on my home phone since it was introduced in June. Taylor has valid concerns about the motives of those who call him, but his solution, choosing anonymity when calling others, is analogous to sticking your head in the sand and hoping that others will ignore you.
When a caller has requested that his information be blocked, our machine reports "Anonymous Call." Conventional phone courtesy dictates that when the phone rings you answer it - but Caller ID allows the home owner to be more selective in who has access to his home through the telephone.Our family will not answer any anonymous call - just as I would not want anyone to open our door to a stranger wearing a stocking mask over his head. If someone expects me to talk to him, he had better be willing to identify himself. I may receive a phone solicitation as a result of calling a business, but I will know after the first ring whether or not I want to pick up the phone and hear their sales pitch.
If anyone wants to make an obscene or harassing call, I would suggest they do so anonymously so I do not waste time answering the phone - and if they choose to give me their name and phone number while making calls that would embarrass them legally, that is their right. Taylor is naive to think that he must answer the phone every time it rings.
Taylor asks the question "What are the legal and ethical issues if someone uses my phone for improper calls and my name and number are identified through Caller ID?" I am astounded that a responsible adult would feign ignorance on such an issue. If it is your phone, and your name and number are attached to that phone, you take full responsibility for all calls made from that phone.
You would be foolish to give just anyone the keys to your car, likewise you are foolish to give just anyone access to your phone. I would suggest Taylor reconsider the purpose of having a home telephone and discuss this with his family.
Despite what he would suggest, a telephone is not a toy to be used by small children on a slow summer afternoon - use of the telephone requires informed responsibility. After reading his article, it is evident that Taylor, his 8-year-old daughter and the rude business owner all need lessons in sensible and responsible use of the telephone.
John B. Call
Salt Lake City