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back to article Labour Party told to stop spam-calls

The Information Commissioner's Office has told the Labour Party to stop using automated telephone diallers to contact people without their permission. In 2007 the party used a recorded message from Corrie's Vera Duckworth - or rather Liz Dawn, the actress who played her - to rally voters for the elections. The ICO received …

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Silver badge

Emails?

Chances are GCHQ has copies of the emails somewhere. Failing that, ask the Americans.

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Joke

The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

Or Google!

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WTF?

You what?

Ask the americans?

You mean the country whose administration "lost" 5 million emails? see http://www.emailsgone.com for more details

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Black Helicopters

Now now, be quiet.

Labour knows what's best for you.

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Grenade

What's so unusual?

<quote>However, she then noticed strange gaps in the correspondence and email conversations that apparently ended without resolution.</quote>

Sounds pretty similar to normal operation at DfT.

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Flame

Depends how she got the emails

If the emails were shipped as text only she could have seen "strange gaps".

If the emails were shipped in electronic form (as I suspect they were) she should have noticed the actual omissions by message-ID and the ICO should have been talking to the crown prosecution service already.

Every mail which has gone out and into MSFT exchange (and other mail systems) carries some or all of headers like this:

In-Reply-To: <C3C33B94.27E1%XYZ@YYY.com>

Thread-Index: AchhoKyyB6t+QKecR0SrzX8At4NWCQADScOhAAAG0vAAATKwoA==

References: <C3C3201B.27C5%XYZ@YYY.com>, <8E661DF980F59D448847385C839A7A0604961BE5@YYY.com>

So if anything was deleted or omitted there will be unreferenced "References" or "In-Reply-To:" entries. In fact, it should take a moderately competent software engineer or sysadmin to concoct a script using Mail::Header to check all mails and deref them showing any "missing links".

Though competence... politicos... HMG... in one sentence... That is a definitive oxymoron.

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Anonymous Coward

re: depends how she got the mails

FWIW I've given evidence in court cases where message IDs referenced in replies were ruled to be evidence of withholding of evidence. The judge was "Not Amused" and the company in question ended up being slapped with contempt warnings.

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it should tread carefully...

"it should tread carefully - failure to obey an enforcement notice is a criminal offence."

No M'lud, it's a parlimentary privilege....

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Thumb Up

Now will ICO please stop UNautomated calls too?

Party political calls are in no way different to other types of marketing calls, so party callers should not under any circumstances be able to improperly consider themselves exempt from TPS.

Any legislation which implies otherwise is incompetent legislation and needs to be changed.

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Megaphone

A title, a title, my kingdom for a title.

I agree. I've had really pushy sales people call up and argue with me when I say I've signed up to the TPS and that I really don't want them to call, that this isn't a sales call - it's a product survey (about products they happen to sell) and therefore is excluded from the TPS and telling me I don't know what I'm talking about, they have every right to call me.

As though that's going to make me suddenly think 'of course, I must buy from you'... I'd have thought that any decent telemarketer (they're only doing a job after all, unpleasant though it may be for both them and us - it's the marketing departments that hire them who are to blame) isn't going to waste time arguing that could be spent calling the next on the list but some clearly haven't figured that out.

But surely the point of the TPS should be so that I can say I do not wish to receive *any* unsolicited calls for whatever reason from anyone that I have not expressly given my details to.

And while I'm ranting, that includes companies that despite every care to tick/untick any boxes allowing them to give my details to 'relevant' 3rd parties have clearly still sold them to marketing groups who sell them on time and time again. Even if 3rd parties have been allowed access, that permission should not be recursive!

Hmm, a bit of a sore point there I think :)

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Silver badge

product survey

Waste their time.

If I'm killing time I'll play with them... had one about dryer fabric softener sheets the other day, said I didn't use them because they contain dioxin, PCBs, and formaldehyde (the last one is even true for some of them). But most of the time...

Hello

Can I speak to Mr. Smith?

Can I tell him who is calling?

Bla Bla Bla

Just a monent... It's for you (yelling into the phone) then set the phone down and see how long they wait before they give up.

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Unhappy

Title not required

The Australian 'Do Not Call' register specifically exempts charities and political parties. Another reason we have gone ex-directory as well.

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Anonymous Coward

Gaps?

Not an issue. Just restore from the off-site back-ups.

Failure to keep just "company records" is a criminal offence I believe. Choose your poison.

(And if it isn't, it bloody well should be)

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Stop cooking your dinner and vote for me!

I don't understand why any party would even want to do this. Surely annoying your electorate is a really *bad* way to get more votes! Maybe it was actually the opposition making the calls...

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Bronze badge
FAIL

It was done in the belief...

...that an automated phone call from your favourite soap star ("oop north" and all that) would be slightly better than being photographed next to a waxworks dummy of your favourite pop star, innit?

Almost feeling sorry for the mindset of the idiot that came up with that one.

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Bronze badge

In the U.S., last I heard,

political (and religious?) organisations were still allowed to phone you without permission.

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Flame

Soap Actress Robocall

So it's a message to the Britards from someone who plays a Britard on television? With all the "alright, we'll stop doing it" followed by "didn't mean to press the robocall button again, honest!" horseplay, probably mixed in with a bit of New Labour Fear, how about a big fine and some charges against the robomaster?

Labour: the party of Britards who think voter harassment is a good thing. (Although I'm sure the Tories would do the same if put in the same position.)

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Flame

To late now (deleted emails)

If it was more than six months ago then according to the ICO it is to late to bring a prosecution.

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FAIL

You guys are lucky

In the US, political spam is specifically excluded from the do-not-call list. Bastards.

On the other hand, they don't deal well with my answering machine message of "Hello...?"

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Anonymous Coward

I hate automated sales calls

Its much more fun if it's a person. Then when they ask if you are Mr so and so, you can explain that you aren't, but he'll be right here and can I put you on hold? Then you can bet on how long they hold the line for.

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Anonymous Coward

Why not impose the fine...

I think the penalty for making unsolicited calls to TPS registered numbers is £5000 per call made (and possible jail sentence). I believe Labour had 2 prior warnings over similar events so "3 strikes and you're out" should apply. So that's £2.5bn fine and Gordon in jail - sounds like a good plan to me.

By the way the TPS has NEVER fined anyone. If they did just the unsolicited calls I get would earn them quarter of a million quid a year in fines. My FoI enquiry to the ICO on the subject basically said ...

"policing" of the TPS is subcontacted to representatives of the telemarketing industry. If they get a lot of reports about one offender they will draw it to their attention, if they continue to get complaints they'll send a stronger letter, if that doesn't work they send an enforcement notice.

Of course the telemarketers will have stopped by then - and started up again under a different business name - so look out for Labour rebranding themselves...

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Pint

Technique works on the chavs

Want to consolidate your debts?

Go one better.

The taxpaying classes will pay your debts off, give you an alcohol seeker's allowance and throw in a free laptop with broadband pr0n. Just vote Gordo!

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Paris Hilton

Spokesperson

If just for one second of sheer insanity I actually *thought* about voting (Nu)Labour, having Vera Duckworth screech down the phone would hardly be the best way to get my vote.

Paris as if *she* phoned up...

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Bronze badge

Curiously

I get phone calls where not only does my answering machine receive nothing (I assume it is operating correctly), but if I answer myself and say my number then they hang up. Even if it sounds like a human being in a noisy call centre. I must have a very robotic voice. I wonder if Stephen Hawking wants to sound Scottish, could be a new opportunity for me to go around with him... I'll have no idea what I'm talking about, of course.

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