Who: The Information Commissioner’s Office and David Lammy
When: March 2016
Law stated as at: 9 April 2016
The ICO has warned political campaigners to comply with telephone marketing laws following the imposition of a £5000 fine on David Lammy MP.
Using automated calling technology Mr Lammy’s office had instigated 35,629 calls over two days urging recipients to back his campaign to be named the Labour party candidate for London Mayor.
The calls were made in August 2015 using contact details provided by the Labour Party. Call recipients heard a recorded message.
Mr Lammy’s tesam did not seem to have appreciated that calls of this kind, using automated calling systems and transmitting pre-recorded messages,require the prior consent of the recipient.
Therefore the calls should not have been made without first of all establishing that each recipient…
“had previously notified the caller that for the time being he consents to such communications being sent by or at the instigation of the caller on that line.”
(Regulation 19 of the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003.)
Why this matters:
The case is just the latest in a series of political campaigning privacy gaffes.
Previous miscreants have included the Scottish Nationalist Party, the Lib Dems, the 2012 “Better Together” movement supporting a “No” vote in the first Scottish independence referendum and most recently the Daily Telegraph, which was fined £30,000 for sending hundreds of thousands of emails on the day of the general election urging its readers to vote Conservative.
As Information Commissioner Christopher Graham commented:
“The rules apply to political groups canvassing for votes in the same way as they apply to salespeople offering a discount on doubleglazing……It is not good enough to assume the people you’re contacting probably won’t mind. The law requires you to have permission before making calls with recorded messages. And if the law isn’t followed, the regulator will act.”
See ICO’s Guidance on political campaigning here: