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In full electronic numbering, this is a technology that few people know much about at the moment, though it is being developed in several countries, including Britain. The idea is that your contact details — fixed and mobile telephone and fax numbers and e-mail addresses — could all be registered in one place so that you need only give a single number to contacts. The system making a call would then translate this universal number into the right code for the service. The technique would require a central registration body to be set up to record and authenticate these numbers and the British Department of Trade and Industry is reported to be working on such a scheme at the moment. This is causing concern among some technology experts, one of whom is on record as calling E-num a “major privacy threat”.

The department’s move follows a UK e-num trial earlier this year when 5,000 numbers from about 30 companies were used to test applications.

Computer Weekly, 9 Sept. 2004

Will telecom and Internet addressing converge one day into a single number for mobile, fixed, email and DNS? It is possible, but it is also a lot of work, as a recent EC report into E-NUM (E-Number) points out.

Telecom Asia, 1 Nov. 2003

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Copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
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Last modified: 2 October 2004.