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Changes needed to use of personal data, says Government


A government taskforce has called for a change in the way companies trade customers personal data, as they believe it is currently “out of control”.
The taskforce has called for a £500,000 fine to be applied to companies if they break the rules, and to hold company directors entirely responsible for nuisance calls.

They have also called for a change in the way consumers can make complaints. At the moment, cold callers have to cause a customer “sever distress” for them to make a complaint. The taskforce believes the rules need to be adjusted, so customers only have to feel “annoyance” for them to have the right to complain.

Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) cold-callers could face fines of up to 20% of their annual turnover under the proposals. Ofcom and the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) will be able to share information on rogue companies to further help combat the trade in personal data.

Up to one billion unwanted phone calls are received by members of the public in the UK each year, the taskforce said.

Ed Vaizey, the minister for culture and the digital economy, said: "For too long, nuisance calls have plagued consumers, often at very inconvenient times of the day and in some cases, leaving vulnerable people like the elderly too scared to answer the phone.

"That's why we're determined to tackle this scourge through the first-ever nuisance calls action plan.

"We've already made progress, including making it easier for Ofcom to share information with the ICO about companies breaking the rules, and we're currently looking at lowering or removing the legal threshold before firms could be hit with fines of up to £500,000."

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