The Information Commissioner’s Office has finally confirmed that it will remove the millions of inactive and invalid telephone numbers from the Telephone Preference Service in an effort to make the file as accurate and up-to-date as possible.
The move was first revealed by Decision Marketing in December, following a Freedom of Information request as part of our “Call for Action on the TPS” campaign, which gathered a dossier of evidence of potential flaws in the system.
The DMA, which runs the scheme on licence, had originally claimed that removing inactive numbers would be “counter-productive”, even though people who take over the numbers would find themselves inadvertently registered on the TPS.
At the time, DMA managing director Rachel Aldighieri said: “Any suggestion that the amount of numbers registered on TPS should be reduced by removing inactive numbers is not putting the protection of consumers first and foremost. This action could suddenly make available millions of telephone numbers to both legitimate and illegitimate marketers alike, which would undoubtedly drive an increase in cold and nuisance calls.”
However, it would appear that the ICO has forced a change of heart.
Commenting on the overhaul, DMA director of compliance and legal John Mitchison said: “The telephonic world the TPS was originally created for has changed dramatically and we’ve long wanted to implement some changes to the way TPS is run.
“We’re excited to be undertaking these with the support of the ICO. Accurately identifying numbers that are not in use and removing these from the TPS will ensure that the data it holds is as accurate and up-to-date as possible.”
Decision Marketing publishing editor Charlie McKelvey welcomed the overhaul and said: “Marketers’ complaints about the TPS have been falling on deaf ears for years. We decided to do something about it and view this is a victory for campaigning journalism.”
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