Telephone Preference Service

The request was partially successful.

Dear Information Commissioner’s Office,

Your office recently took over the running of the Telephone Preference Service. At a data protection conference in March 2017, Elizabeth Denham was challenged about whether TPS is fit for purpose.
Accusations include:
– TPS does not – and has never – included any “seed” names, meaning there is no method in place to check if the file is being abused
– TPS licencees sell the file as a screening service, as part of a wider data-cleaning solution, meaning their clients can access the TPS remotely. While clients rarely see the whole file, there is nothing to stop unscrupulous firms from copying the data.
– A number of online services (including www.tpsservices.co.uk) are allowed to relicence the TPS, in breach of its terms and conditions, and charge over four times the amount of a one-time usage.
– It is alleged overseas firms are offering the file for sale to anyone with a credit card, without carrying out due diligence. The DMA can see who uploads it, but this is not a protection.
- Up to 40% of the numbers on the TPS are now dead or have been transferred to other consumers who did not sign up to the TPS, meaning that the DMA is actually licensing potentially illegal data
- It is alleged that many companies have signed up their entire databases to the TPS to prevent rival businesses from contacting them.
At the conference Elizabeth said: “I can commit to you that once we own the service, and the function, we will be looking at that."
On May 5th 2017 I wrote a personal letter to the Commissioner about these matters but as yet she has not even acknowledged my letter, let alone sent any correspondence about its contents.
So...
1) Now that the ICO owns the service and the function, has this review of the TPS started, as promised, and if not, why not?
2) How many people are working on it and when is it due to conclude?
3) Will the ICO be calling for contributions from the telemarketing and marketing data industry or simply be relying on input from the DMA (which has a vested interest because it runs the service)?
4) Has the ICO held talks with the DMA about improvements it needs to make?
5) Are there any plans to clean the database as in its current form it would appear to break data protection law?
I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully,

Charlie McKelvey

AccessICOinformation, Information Commissioner’s Office

Thank you for contacting the Information Commissioner’s Office. We confirm
that we have received your correspondence.

 

If you have made a request for information held by the ICO we will contact
you as soon as possible if we need any further information to enable us to
answer your request. If we don't need any further information we will
respond to you within our published, and statutory, service levels. For
more information please visit [1]http://ico.org.uk/about_us/how_we_comply

 

If you have raised a new information rights concern - we aim to send you
an initial response and case reference number within 30 days.

 

If you are concerned about the way an organisation is handling your
personal information, we will not usually look into it unless you have
raised it with the organisation first. For more information please see our
webpage ‘raising a concern with an organisation’ (go to our homepage and
follow the link ‘for the public’). You can also call the number below.

 

If you have requested advice - we aim to respond within 14 days.

 

If your correspondence relates to an existing case - we will add it to
your case and consider it on allocation to a case officer.

 

Copied correspondence - we do not respond to correspondence that has been
copied to us.

 

For more information about our services, please see our webpage ‘Service
standards and what to expect' (go to our homepage and follow the links for
‘Report a concern’ and ‘Service standards and what to expect'). You can
also call the number below.

 

If there is anything you would like to discuss with us, please call our
helpline on 0303 123 1113.

 

Yours sincerely

 

The Information Commissioner’s Office

 

Our newsletter

Details of how to sign up for our monthly e-newsletter can be found at
[2]http://www.ico.org.uk/tools_and_resource...

 

Twitter

Find us on Twitter at [3]http://www.twitter.com/ICOnews

 

The ICO's mission is to uphold information rights in the public interest.
To find out more about our work please visit our website, or subscribe to
our e-newsletter at ico.org.uk/newsletter.

If you are not the intended recipient of this email (and any attachment),
please inform the sender by return email and destroy all copies without
passing to any third parties.

If you'd like us to communicate with you in a particular way please do let
us know, or for more information about things to consider when
communicating with us by email, visit ico.org.uk/email

References

Visible links
1. http://ico.org.uk/about_us/how_we_comply
2. http://www.ico.org.uk/tools_and_resource...
3. http://www.twitter.com/ICOnews

Tim Turner left an annotation ()

Given that the ePrivacy Regulation may end up requiring consent for all marketing phone calls (something that I would be very keen to happen), the Telephone Preference Service would become redundant. This outcome is by no means certain, and member states may be able to choose, but until the uncertainty is lifted, I think it would be odd if the ICO spends much time worrying about the TPS list. The TPS may be operating on borrowed time, and the imminent arrival of the GDPR is surely a bigger priority.

Information Commissioner’s Office

29 November 2017

 

Case Reference Number IRQ0710983

 

Dear Mr McKelvey

Request for Information
 
Further to your request for information to the Information Commissioner’s
Office (ICO) of 14 November 2017, we can now respond.
 
We have dealt with your request in accordance with your ‘right to know’
under section 1(1) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), which
entitles you to be provided with any information ‘held’ by a public
authority, unless an appropriate exemption applies.
 
Request
 
In your email you made a number of points about the ICO taking over the
functions and database of the Telephone Preference Service (TPS).  In
connection with this you raised the following queries:
 
 

 1. Now that the ICO owns the service and the function, has this review of
the TPS started, as promised, and if not, why not?

 
 

 2. How many people are working on it and when is it due to conclude?

 
 

 3. Will the ICO be calling for contributions from the telemarketing and
marketing data industry or simply be relying on input from the DMA
(which has a vested interest because it runs the service)?

 
 

 4. Has the ICO held talks with the DMA about improvements it needs to
make?

 
 

 5. Are there any plans to clean the database as in its current form it
would appear to break data protection law?

 
Information Held
 
It is the ICO’s Enforcement Department which is overseeing the TPS
service, and they have assisted in answering the various queries you have
raised. 
 
The ICO assumed statutory responsibility for the TPS service on 30
December 2016. Since then we have undertaken work to improve the flow of
information from TPS to the ICO’s intelligence and enforcement teams.
Regular contract management meetings take place between the ICO and TPS.
 
The ICO undertook an internal audit of the TPS service, which identified a
number of recommendations for both ICO and TPS to improve the service.
These recommendations were accepted and have all been completed. TPS also
commenced work on removing clearly identified invalid numbers from the
Register. This work is ongoing.  
 
As part of preparations for the end of the current contract, the ICO
undertook a pre-procurement exercise with a view to commencing formal
procurement of a new service and contract in the early part of 2017.
However, because of delays to the e-Privacy Regulation and to take account
of any possible impact on the need for ‘do not call’ registers under the
new Regulation, the ICO paused that procurement exercise. The Prior
Information Notice was published by the Official Journal of the European
Union and remains active. Once the position under the e-Privacy Regulation
is clearer throughout 2018, the ICO will consider options for a new TPS
service and contract.  
 
Finally, the ICO has no evidence that the service itself is not fit for
purpose, and is not fulfilling the role for which it was designed under
the current contract.
 
You also mentioned that you had contacted the Information Commissioner,
Elizabeth Denham, direct on 5 May 2017, but had not received any
response.  We have searched our electronic case management system (which
is where most enquiries to the ICO are held), as well as the
Commissioner’s incoming correspondence, but unfortunately have not been
able to find any record of your email of 5 May.
 
Review Procedure
 
We hope this is helpful, but if you are dissatisfied with this response
and wish to request a review of our decision or make a complaint about how
your request has been handled you should reply directly to this email
(leaving the reference number in square brackets intact), write to the
Information Access Team at the address below or email
[1][ICO request email].
 
Your request for internal review should be submitted to us within 40
working days of receipt by you of this response.  Any such request
received after this time will only be considered at the discretion of the
Commissioner.
 
If having exhausted the review process you are not content that your
request or review has been dealt with correctly, you have a further right
of appeal to this office in our capacity as the statutory complaint
handler under the legislation.  To make such an application, please write
to our Customer Contact Team at the address given or visit our website if
you wish to make a complaint under either the Freedom of Information Act
or Environmental Information Regulations.
 
A copy of our review procedure can be accessed from our website [2]here.
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
 

Antonia Swann
Lead Information Access Officer
Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF
T. 01625 545894  F. 01625 524510  [3]ico.org.uk  [4]twitter.com/iconews
Please consider the environment before printing this email

 
 
 
 
 

The ICO's mission is to uphold information rights in the public interest.
To find out more about our work please visit our website, or subscribe to
our e-newsletter at ico.org.uk/newsletter.

If you are not the intended recipient of this email (and any attachment),
please inform the sender by return email and destroy all copies without
passing to any third parties.

If you'd like us to communicate with you in a particular way please do let
us know, or for more information about things to consider when
communicating with us by email, visit ico.org.uk/email

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[ICO request email]
2. https://ico.org.uk/media/about-the-ico/p...
3. http://ico.org.uk/
4. https://twitter.com/iconews

Looking for an EU Authority?

You can request documents directly from EU Institutions at our sister site AskTheEU.org . Find out more .

AskTheEU.org