back to article Cold call bosses could be forced to cough up under new rules

The UK government is planning to make company directors personally liable for nuisance calls – two years after it first promised the powers to the data protection watchdog. At the moment, the Information Commissioner's Office can only hand out fines to companies that make spam marketing calls. Under the new plan, announced …

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Pirate

Fines??

These kinds of gits need a proper ironic justice to be served something like a decade's unpaid work on AOL tear 1 support.

I guarantee anyone that survives something like that will never want to look at a phone again!

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Re: Fines??

"a decade's unpaid work on AOL tear 1 support."

Or spell-checking comments on elReg ;)

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Re: Fines??

To be fair, that could just be a pun. Makes a nice change from calling it the helldesk.

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FAIL

Re: Fines??

Nope, my spelling is just that bad I still make these mistakes even when I am running Grammarly to try to clean up.

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Headmaster

Re: Fines??

"AOL tear 1 support"

I just assumed it was a Ffeudian slip

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Thumb Up

Good news everyone

I hope they get it and that one day they can chase directors for non-criminal breeches as well.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Good news everyone

"[...] and that one day they can chase directors for non-criminal breeches as well."

You mean like flares?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Good news everyone

Britches please.

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Facepalm

Re: Good news everyone

I'm really not doing well today with the old English and spelling.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Good news everyone

"Britches please."

Fig leaves?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Good news everyone

No No. Flares are criminal.

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Re: Good news everyone

"[...] and that one day they can chase directors for non-criminal breeches as well."

You mean like flares?

Yeah, but in America it's all pants....

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Re: Good news everyone

I'm really not doing well today with the old English and spelling.

Old English is hard(er). Aim for current English for less of a ribbing.

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Headmaster

Re: Good news everyone

I earned that ribbing dammit. I'll take it and enjoy it!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Good news everyone

"Old English is hard(er)"

The "Breeches Bible" is so called because that version of the Geneva bibles translated Adam & Eve's fig leaves as making "breeches". The King James Version opted for "apron".

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Re: Good news everyone

I'm really not doing well today with the old English and spelling

Going through a bad spell?

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Anonymous Coward

Why put it in the PECR? Surely any director that has committed fraud not covered by criminal law (pilfering pensions etc..) should also be made to be liable after closing a company to avoid returning money.

Also, the director (who we know are scumbags anyway) will transfer wealth to a family member and declare bankruptcy. They are happy to be disqualified as a director so it shouldn't really bother them.

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Having watched a bit of daytime TV recently, this seems like a case for application of the proceeds of crime act. Unless that applies only to criminal cases which as IANAL I don't really have a view on.

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Money owed to the ICO is just a debt and debtors are protected by bankruptcy law. Do you think the lawmakers knew this when they drafted the law? They surely wouldn't want a toothless regulator, would they?

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"They are happy to be disqualified as a director"

Citation required. Remember that simply putting up someone else as a front is an offence that can carry a gaol sentence.

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FAIL

"Remember that simply putting up someone else as a front is an offence that can carry a gaol sentence."

Snigger. First you have to prove it in court. "Just because the new company is owned by my wife and is renting the same office as my old outfit, doesn't mean I have any involvement in the running of the new company, Your Honour."

And of course the authorities have to have enough resources to investigate all these shonks. In Australia a royal commission is uncovering all kinds of horrors in the banking and superannuation industries, and the government have cut $20 million out of the regulator's funds in the latest budget.

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Mushroom

Split their noses open with a boat hook

and suck their brains out with a straw!

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DJV
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Re: Split their noses open with a boat hook

I hope you don't mean a plastic straw - let's keep it environmental!

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Re: Split their noses open with a boat hook

I hope you don't mean a plastic straw - let's keep it environmental!

Cheese straws don't suck.

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Re: Split their noses open with a boat hook

Cheese straws don't suck.

But they go very soggy when dipped in the pulp of a director's brain.

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Re: Split their noses open with a boat hook

Cheese straws don't suck.

But they go very soggy when dipped in the pulp of a director's brain.

Who dips cheese straws? You want celery, sticks of carrot, a nice spicy tortilla or those nasty biscuits that come with (plastic)cheese dip.

Snacking on a lot of Directors lately? It can be known to cause something like Mad Cows disease you know....

- Soylent Green Corp. Health Advisory.

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Unhappy

Re: Split their noses open with a boat hook

As any fule kno, brain sucking requires a silver straw.

"On August 25, 1953, with a cheap jury-rigged hand drill, Scoville carved two holes in Molaison’s skull, one just above each of his eyes. Molaison was given only a local anesthetic, so that he could be awake to report on his sensations when different cerebral areas were stimulated. Scoville lifted up Molaison’s frontal lobes with a spatula and reached far into the center of his brain. Then, using a silver straw, Scoville sucked out fist-size chunks of the medial temporal lobes on both sides of Molaison’s brain. The excised tissue included most of the sea-horse-shaped structure called the hippocampus, as well as the parahippocampal gyrus, the uncus, the anterior temporal cortex, and the almond-shaped amygdala."

https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/the-man-who-forgot-everything

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Split their noses open with a boat hook

@Teiwaz:

"Cheese straws don't suck".

Obviously you have never tasted one....

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Re: Split their noses open with a boat hook

But they go very soggy when dipped in the pulp of a director's brain.

Wait a minute... they have brains? I'm astounded at this.

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Devil

Re: Split their noses open with a boat hook

pick anything good from the lyrics of "what do you do with a drunken sailor"

my favorite: "shave his bollocks with a rusty razor"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Split their noses open with a boat hook

"Cheese straws don't suck."

A Bristol restaurant is replacing one-use plastic straws with pasta ones.

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FAIL

Follow the money...

I can’t help feeling that tougher sanctions on cold calling companies (and the people behind them), while always welcome is kind of missing the point.

What we need are sanctions against companies who seek to *benefit* from the cold-calling, which is to say the ones who commission, pay for, and who’s products and services are promoted by cold-calling. Quite apart from anything else it gives a much easier, more effective recourse against cold-calling originated from overseas. The call centre may be in India but, if it’s promoting/selling something in the UK then there has to be a traceable entity taking the money and supplying the goods and services...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Follow the money...

"What we need are sanctions against companies who seek to *benefit* from the cold-calling, which is to say the ones who commission, pay for, and who’s products and services are promoted by cold-calling"

Someone did that to some PPI lawyers. They got fed up of cold callers, and so they played along until they found out the name of the solicitors they were acting on behalf of, and filed a small claims summons against them for the maximum claimable amount. The solicitors settled just before the case was called, if I remember correctly (and their letter of complaint is freely available somewhere online).

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Re: Follow the money...

Indeed. And you can include the telephone networks in there and make them potentially liable for providing access to the network for known offenders. This is done in Germany and is surprisingly effective at blocking even international dialers.

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Re: Follow the money...

Why can't we do both? Both the calling company and the client company. There's a symbiotic relationship there that needs to be addressed.

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Re: Follow the money...

Isn't that technically there anyway?

There is a bit of law, dating from the 1870s, that is still relevant today. It's called "Agency Law" - it essentially means that a company is responsible for the action of its agents.

The ICO has previously found in my favour when a UK based financial services company has used an opaque marketing company based outside the UK to try and sell me sub-prime credit card.

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What's the point? The calls come from abroad from different (random?) phone numbers:

One I get regularly is: [5 seconds of silence] "Hello?"

But there is literally no solution to that short of an international police investigation, which is clearly infeasible for what it is.

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Messing with CLI numbers

The calls come from abroad from different (random?) phone numbers

A good start would be severe restrictions on who can set the number displayed by CLI and what numbers they can set it to.

Just about the only non-people (ie organisations) who should be able to withhold it should be: child line, samaritans & the clap clinic.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Messing with CLI numbers

"A good start would be severe restrictions on who can set the number displayed by CLI and what numbers they can set it to.

All the cold calls I get have a CLI of "international". It appears that the call centre - obviously staffed in the UK - is relaying through another country. Annoying as I have international friends who occasionally ring me.

Another commentard has made the apparently sensible suggestion - fine the companies who act on the leads. All the calls I get would entail a UK company providing the touted service - usually oven cleaning or double-glazing.

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But there is literally no solution

Au contraire there are well-established ways of dealing with this kind of abuse, see previous post for an example.

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Only for outright crooks

Sure the fake "I'm calling from Microsoft" calls. But the ones selling services you can make the customer of the calling service pay. Joe's carpet cleaning and it's owner can pay if they hire an Indian call center to make calls

.

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Anonymous Coward

Whilst there is a way of dealing with it, the sheer number of such calls show that it is a woefully inadequate way.

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"But there is literally no solution"

An optional solution :-

I have made a note of the local C.I.D number, same STD area code.

I ask the caller if they would kindly ring me back on my business line and give them that number.

After all, i pay my taxes.

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Big Brother

Re: Messing with CLI numbers

All the cold calls I get have a CLI of "international". It appears that the call centre - obviously staffed in the UK - is relaying through another country.

I am sure you are aware that there are call centers in India that are staffed with people trained to speak with a given accent. It is usually done for debt collection as it was seen that talking as the neighbour next door helps in that regard, but may be done for other kind of business too.

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How long does it take to implement something you announced two years ago? OK don't answer that.

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Trollface

Government..... Piss-up.... Brewery....

Fill in the blanks to obtain your answer.

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Anonymous Coward

"Government..... Piss-up.... Brewery....

IIRC a Westminster MP was accused of the figurative incompetence. In retaliation the MP then announced a tour round a brewery for MPs - and got the date wrong.

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And isn't Lord Ashcroft against this kind of regulation? Not that he has any kind of influence…

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thats nothing, the Thameslink 2000 project (started in 1989) is finally going to be delivered in 2019

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Stop

But when ?

Won't be this parliament.

Won't be the next.

So that'll be at least 5 years. And that's if a change of government doesn't scupper the whole thing before then.

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