We depend on our cell phones to keep us connected to our friends, family, support systems, doctors, schools, and everything else in our increasingly connected world. Many of us first get our phones as part of a family plan, with at least one study putting the percentage of Americans in their 20s and 30s still on their parents’ family plan at more than half. But when you are on a family plan, the person in charge of that plan can access a lot of information about you. If that person is abusive, that information can become dangerous.
It seems like common sense, then, that survivors trying to escape abusive situations need a way to keep the number everyone has for them and a way to leave a family plan controlled by an abuser without paying additional fees. That ability does not exist. Yet. The Safe Connections Act would change that.
Earlier this year, Senators Brian Schatz, Deb Fischer, Richard Blumenthal, Rick Scott, and Jacky Rosen introduced The Safe Connections Act (S. 120), which would make it easier for survivors to separate their phone line from a family plan while keeping their own phone number. It would also require the FCC to create rules to protect the privacy of the people seeking this protection. There is little reason that telecommunications carriers—like AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, and the like—which are already required to make numbers portable when users want to change carriers, cannot replicate such a seamless process when a paying customer wants to move an account within the same carrier.
Giving survivors more tools to protect their privacy, leave abusive situations, and get on with their lives are worthy endeavors. The Safe Connections Act provides a framework to serve these ends. Tell your senators and your representative to support the Safe Connections Act.