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In Australia, government agencies, emergency services, and other organisations use information about your phone numbers, such as the location of your phone and the type of service you have. This information is stored in the Integrated Public Number Database (IPND).

By default, all phone numbers are unlisted. As your service is created, you can choose to have a listed or unlisted phone number. Unlisted numbers are not publicly available but can be accessed by some government departments and law enforcement agencies during emergency cases.

If you consent to do so, telecommunications companies will share your name, phone number, and address details with government departments like the electoral office and other third parties. Read the telco’s privacy policy before giving your consent.

This article will discuss what IPND is and how it's used by telcos, emergency services, and other organisations. We'll also explain how to check if a number is in the IPND and how to update it if necessary. Read on below for all this information!

What is an IPND?

The Integrated Public Number Database is a centralised storage of all active phone numbers across Australia. The data helps the allowed entities to quickly identify the location and type of phone number used for calls made in Australia. This makes it easier to locate someone who has made a call with their mobile or landline phone.

The customer information gathered includes the user’s name, address details, (listed or unlisted) phone number, and service provider. Users are divided into “critical” and “non-critical.”

  • Critical users use the number to protect life, property, and security. They are utilised by ECS (emergency call services), EWS (emergency warning system), law enforcement agencies, and the national security department.
  • Non-critical users of the database information are directory and operator assistance providers, public number directories publishers, researchers and providers of government policy, health, and electoral research, and the location-dependent carriage services (LDCS).

What phone numbers are included?

You may be surprised that the list includes landline phone numbers and private payphones. You might be even more surprised that it doesn't have mobile phone numbers. However, even if you do not own a landline or payphone, there is still a chance your information could end up on the database. This is specifically true if you made purchases at an online store or have been registered for public programs such as health services or social assistance programs.

What is the purpose of IPND?

Responding to emergencies and finding the location of users anywhere in the country are made easy by this centralised database. This can be incredibly useful in a variety of situations, including when:

  • A person is calling from an unknown or suspicious number.
  • An emergency call needs to be traced back to its source.
  • An organisation wants to know where its employees are making calls to manage their workforce better.

The information collected includes numbers in the early stages of being disconnected or not yet connected.

Some numbers in the IPND may be disconnected or those that are not yet connected. This can happen when a mobile network operator (MNO) or internet service provider (ISP) cannot complete an application correctly.

The IPND does not include unassigned numbers, which are numbers that have been allocated by MNOs but have never been activated as part of their operations.

Who updates this?

Telecommunications providers are responsible for updating their records in this directory. The Telecommunications Act allows telecommunications providers to access the list to view and update their records, including any fax numbers or telephone numbers associated with their business.

Telecommunications providers can also delete records from the IPND if they are no longer accurate or necessary. For example, suppose a telecommunications provider changes its business name. In that case, it should update its records in the list so that these updates will appear on all subsequent caller ID screens of customers who receive calls from this provider’s phone number.

Emergency services can use information in the database to determine an address or respond to an emergency call. If you're calling the police, fire, or ambulance service, they can use information in the IPND to respond to your call. This is done by determining an address and sending the appropriate emergency service to that location.

Your data in the IPND must be accurate and updated. This ensures that the responders will find your address if you call Emergency Services 000. Calling this number helps the emergency services search your address details in the database.

Is consumer consent necessary?

You must give consent before a provider can pass information about you on to government departments or third parties such as marketing agencies.

For example, if you have a phone and Internet service provider, they may be able to share your name and address with the police or another government department if they receive a court order to do so.

You can opt out of having your information shared with third parties by contacting your service provider directly.

Access to your private information is protected by the Telecommunications Act 1997. This means they need to get your consent before they can pass your information on to other companies or government agencies. You can withdraw this consent at any time. Telecoms must stop passing information about you on to other people if you do this.

Takeaway

The IPND maintains a database of information to help deliver essential services to the public, but upholding the privacy laws to protect users is extremely important. While it is mandatory in Australia to provide basic information for ease of access during critical times, protecting your privacy by being unlisted is still an option you can make.

If you need help in getting a secure internet connection, a SIM-only plan, or NBN get in touch with SpinTel today.

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