Government wants to get tough on spammers

In what might politely be termed a somewhat delayed response, an official government report last week recommended clamping down on the sources of spam emails, junk mail, and cold callers.

The review - commissioned by Prime Minister Gordon Brown last year - recommends making it easier for the public to keep track of who holds personal information about them.

The Information Commissioner Richard Thomas and director of the Wellcome Trust Dr Mark Walport said ministers should launch an inquiry into firms which gather personal information and sell it on.

Dr Walport said: "When you check into a hotel they don't need to know your name and address, they just need to know that the bill will be paid."

The report said the public should have a right to know with whom a company shares, exchanges or sells information. It also said the Information Commissioner should have the power to impose massive fines against companies or government bodies which breach privacy rules.

And the report calls for the Government to consider regulating internet sites which gather publicly-available details about individuals from electoral rolls, company registers and telephone directories.

Mr Thomas said the amount of personal information on social networking sites such as Facebook and Bebo was still a problem.

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Reader’s comments

  1. Jon Davey

    17:29 19 Jul 2008

    Sounds like a great idea. People could then choose who they will allow to hold information on them. This could totally be funded by fines made on companies who break the rules ... well, those in the UK who are law abiding ... but they wouldn’t take the pea anyway?

    Did not a chunk of legislation come in a few years back and has anyone bothered to police it? Great idea but if it’s not applied, it is yet another waste of time and money...

    Tell you what, privatise the Post Office & BT and make them the enforcers of the communication law. They can then fine all those that abuse the one simple rule, you have to have the individual’s permission to send emails, make phone calls or post them anything. This way the individual just needs to go to the post office and fill in a single form, which they can change daily online and if something gets through it’s the fault of the Post Office or BT and we can sue them for wasting our time!

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