New website looks to freeze political cold calls

In the wake of the ICO’s enforcement order against The Labour Party for unsolicited telemarketing, a new website has been created offering registration of protests against the technique.

The site,www.thepoliticalcallregister.co.uk, has been set up by Steve Smith, a serial protestor against unsolicited calls and inventor of the trueCall interception device.

The idea is for voters to register with the site if they do not want to receive calls from political parties. Smith will then forward their name, email address and telephone number to parties and ask them to honour the preference not to be called. Any party ignoring the request will be publicly named. Details of how the data will be securely transferred in this process have not been revealed, although the company is registered with the ICO for trading of personal information.

“Political parties are desperate to get through to voters and are now trying any means possible, including hounding them with unsolicited automated calls,” says Smith. “Unless you have first-hand experience, it is hard to understand the anguish that some people feel when they receive unwanted telephone calls. The political parties must respect our privacy and the law.”

The initiative follows an ICO enforcement notice against Labour for automated calling it carried out in June 2009. Despite a warning during the 2007 election that cold calling of pre-recorded messages constituted marketing and was subject to PECR rules requiring an opt-in, Labour dialled 495,000 people using data from commercial sources.

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