The DM industry is pressing the Government to put new nuisance call laws on speed-dial following fears that getting the legislation passed before Christmas is about as likely as Mark Zuckerberg ending up in the poor house.
In the same week that the Information Commissioner’s Office revealed record complaints about nuisance calls and spam texts – although refused to say what action had been taken – the DMA has warned the issue will only get worse if the Government continues to dilly-dally.
A consultation suggested by the Department of Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) has yet to materialise and will face a further two-month delay unless it is issued before the start of Parliament’s summer recess at the end of this month. The consultation would look at making legislative changes needed to combat nuisance calls and spam texts by lowering the current legal threshold of proof required to fine lawbreakers.
At it stands, the ICO must demonstrate “significant damage or distress” caused to individuals by nuisance calls or spam texts in order to issue monetary penalties of up to £500,000.
And in June, the ICO lost an appeal against a decision to overturn a £300,000 monetary penalty given to Tetrus Telecoms in 2012 for sending spam texts, in breach of the Privacy & Electronic Communication Regulation.
The tribunal ruled that it was unlikely that individuals who received text spam from the company would be significantly “disturbed” or “distressed”.
The DMA has urged immediate action from the DCMS, the government department responsible for the legislation, to issue the consultation before the Houses of Parliament’s summer recess rather than delay it until the autumn.
Mike Lordan, the DMA’s director of external affairs, said DCMS’ continuing failure to issue the consultation is only welcome news for rogue operators.
“The ICO is keen to clampdown on companies breaking the law, but DCMS is stalling on the action it needs to take to make it easier to fine rogue operators.
“As the law currently stands, these wrongdoers are simply able to get away with breaking the rules with impunity. This means that, without deterrence, complaints from consumers will continue to rise, and the legitimate telemarketing and mobile marketing industries will continue to suffer.”
Speaking at the ICO’s annual report launch, deputy chief executive Simon Entwisle joined the DMA’s call, saying the ICO and the telemarketing and mobile marketing industries are “desperate” for DCMS to launch the consultation.
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