The Information Commissioner’s Office is continuing to purge inactive and invalid numbers from the Telephone Preference Service and the Corporate TPS, with over 5 million numbers being deleted from both services since the regulator started its clean-up operation last year.
According to the latest figures to the end of July, the total number of TPS registrations on both landlines and mobiles has been slashed from 23.6 million in 2018 to around 18.8 million. Meanwhile, Corporate TPS registrations have been reduced from 2.7 million to 2.1 million.
Back in 2017, Decision Marketing launched the “Call for Action on the TPS” campaign, which gathered a dossier of evidence of potential flaws in the system, following industry concerns that the files were not only in breach of data protection laws but wide open to abuse.
These included the fact that the TPS file had never included “seed” names, meaning there was no method in place to check if the file was being sold illegally and online services were allowed to re-licence the TPS, in breach of the terms and conditions, and charge over four times the amount of a one-time usage.
It was also alleged that overseas firms were offering the file for sale to anyone with a credit card, without carrying out due diligence. Meanwhile, it was claimed that the Corporate TPS was also flawed because companies had signed up their staff without telling them.
The ICO took over the running of both files in December 2016, and within three months Commissioner Elizabeth Denham had pledged to investigate concerns about both files, which had rumbled on for years but had never been tackled by either Ofcom or the DMA, which operates the service on licence.
It was believed to be the first time the schemes had ever been cleaned, although industry insiders claim there is still a long way to go, with estimates that up to 40% of numbers on the file could be inactive.
The contract to run the TPS – worth £5m over five years – was put out to tender in May, following an 18-month delay – but the winner has yet to be announced.
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