Technique for providing personalized information and communications services

  • US 7,499,537 B2
  • Filed: 07/21/2004
  • Issued: 03/03/2009
  • Est. Priority Date: 11/12/1999
  • Status: Expired due to Fees
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First Claim
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1. A directory system for use by a user to protect the privacy of selected telephone numbers in a directory, the system comprising:

  • a memory configured to;

    store, in a directory associated with a first party, information comprising at least a selected telephone number to be used to contact a second party different from the first party;

    a first interface configured to;

    receive from the first party a request to designate the selected telephone number as a number that is to be disclosed only to a first predetermined group of persons;

    a processor configured to;

    store in the directory, in association with the selected telephone number, an indicator that indicates that the selected telephone number is only to be disclosed to members of the first predetermined group of persons; and

    a second interface configured to;

    receive from a third party associated with a calling telephone number a request for the selected telephone number;

    wherein the processor is further configured to;

    locate the selected telephone number, in response to the request;

    determine whether the indicator is stored in the directory in association with the selected telephone number; and

    if the indicator is stored in the directory in association with the selected telephone number;

    determine an identity of the third party;

    determine whether the third party is a member of a second predetermined group of persons that includes the first predetermined group of persons;

    allow the third party to access the directory only if the third party is a member of the second predetermined group of persons anddetermine whether the third party is a member of the first predetermined group of persons, based at least in part on the identity;

    the system further comprising;

    a device configured to;

    initiate communications between the second party and the third party; and

    a switching subsystem configured to;

    establish a first communication connection to the selected telephone number, anda second communication connection to the calling telephone number, and for bridging the first communication connection to the second communication connection to realize the communications between the second party and the third party without providing the selected telephone number to the third party, if the third party is not a member of the first predetermined group of persons.

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