The government has announced an inquiry to investigate the plague of nuisance telephone calls and text messages on UK citizens.
Earlier this year V3 revealed that six million spam texts hit UK mobile users' phones every day and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has started to tackle the matter head on, issuing heavy fines for firms found to be bombarding people with unwanted messages.
In the latest crackdown, the Culture, Media and Sport Committee has called for evidence from those who wish to help with its inquiry into how more action can be taken.
“Unwanted marketing messages can be received by telephone or text message. Together with abandoned, including silent, telephone calls, these have led to many complaints by constituents to their Members of Parliament,” the committee said.
“The Culture, Media and Sport Committee has decided to hold an inquiry into nuisance telephone calls and text messages, focusing on the current regulatory system and its enforcement, the effectiveness of the Telephone Preference Service and practical measures by communications service providers to curtail such communications."
Those interested in responding should send short written submissions in an attached Word document, sent by email to the committee with "Nuisance Calls" in the subject line, no later than 15 August.
The move is likely to be welcomed by the ICO, which has complained in the past that taking action against companies involved in these practices is far too time consuming, as recently explained by Simon Entwisle, director of operations at the data and privacy watchdog.
“We would like to see the law changed to make it simpler for us to punish companies responsible for repeated and continuous breaches of the law,” he said.
Nevertheless, the ICO has been willing to take firms on, with fines issued with increasing regularity. Earlier this month an energy firm was hit with a £45,000 fine for nuisance calls, while two firms that starred on the BBC’s TV show The Call Centre were fined a total of £225,000 for nuisance calls relating to payment protection insurance (PPI).
V3 contacted the ICO for comment on the announcement of the inquiry but had received no reply at the time of publication.
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