ENUM and the loss of practical obscurity

Michael Froomkin, writing about ENUM, the proposal to converge the phone directory and DNS, says:

As currently specified, ENUM's intersection with the DNS creates a major privacy problem for the average person. [ ICANN Watch, via Privacy Digest]

Froomkin elsewhere cites Parsing Hype From Hope: Will ENUM Spark Changes In Telecom?, by Rod Dixon, who asks:

Is ICANN ready to manage the deployment of what is likely to be a ubiquitous, global, telephone system? I doubt that anyone would think so today, but, if not ICANN, who? [ CircleID]
Even more than who, I wonder: how? Consider this bag of Google tricks, which were undocumented when first reported by ResearchBuzz News a year ago:



I'd say the cat's most of the way out of the bag already. Public information is, well, public. Is it it even theoretically possible to stuff the cat back into the bag? I don't see how we can legislate practical obscurity back into existence.

We might, however, use public information more intelligently as we converge telephone- and computer-based communication. Today I can only use Caller ID information to screen an incoming call. In a converged scenario, the call might carry a signed URL; the URL might encode the calling number and other query parameters (e.g., homepage, weblog address) in a Google search; my PC could be displaying the results of that query as I decide whether to pick up the phone.

Former URL: http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell/2003/02/25.html#a618