Government to crack down on spam texts and nuisance calls

The government is set to introduce new regulations that make it easier to fine firms that spam people with text messages and cold calls.

It is expected that changes to the law, which are aimed at stamping out rogue practices, will be announced later this month. The Conservative minister of state for culture and the digital economy, Ed Vaizey, is the MP which recommended the changes. He hoped that it will put a stop to the millions of text messages and cold calls Brits receive on a daily basis, such as those which offer to help people claim back money spent on mis-sold payment protection insurance, reports

The firms sending the spam messages are often attempting to scam people into paying for a fake service. Moreover, the phone numbers are sometimes collected through illegal means, without the owner’s permission.

A similar change in the law was meant to go ahead last year, but it was brought to a standstill when a legal ruling went against the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The government has drawn up a draft of a consultation which recommends that adjustments be made to the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations, reports

Deputy chief executive of the ICO, Simon Entwistle, said the changes would make it easier for the ICO to take action against these firms.

“At the moment, it takes a large amount of effort to prove substantial distress and this change will make it much more proportionate to the problems these calls and texts cause,” he stated. “We understand firms can have legitimate reasons to make marketing calls, but we reckon that for every one concern logged with us there are about 1,000 nuisance calls or texts.”