There have been a number of stories recently about people who’ve found themselves bombarded by nuisance calls from charities after ending up on their fundraising lists. What should be done to curb these calls?
One of the stories featured a man who had filled in a ‘lifestyle’ survey and forgot to tick the ‘do not share my details’ box. His details were then passed on to other companies, including a gambling company. In other examples, people have donated to one charity and have then been contacted by other charities who have been passed their contact details.
Of course, charities certainly aren’t the only ones who might buy or sell your contact information. There are countless points in our daily lives where we’re asked for our permission to share our personal details with ‘selected third parties’. Often you’re asked to tick or untick a box about third parties, and occasionally some companies will simply say that by signing up to a service you’re effectively giving your consent to your data being shared. From that point on your details become part of a list that can be traded or passed on.
Giving and revoking your consent
Last year Which? chaired a task force to look at the issues of consent and lead generation. The task force reported back with 15 recommendations for the Government, regulators and businesses to take up.
These recommendations include making it easier for you to revoke your consent after it has been given, regardless of whether it was intentional or in error. And not just for one company – your statement that you don’t want to be contacted should be passed all the way along the data chain if your consent has been passed on.
The task force also recommended that where you’ve agreed for other third parties to contact you, that consent should be valid for a maximum of six months. This would mean that even if you did accidentally agree to hear from other companies, after six months any new companies shouldn’t be contacting you.
Trade in personal data
It really is shocking how easily you can lose control of your personal data as a result of it being shared or sold on. The trade in personal data is a massive business and it’s one of the biggest contributors to nuisance calls. That’s why fundraising charities must swiftly implement the recommendations from the nuisance calls task force and the regulators should come down hard on anyone caught breaking the rules.
Have you ever accidentally given your consent to be contacted by ‘selected third parties’? Do you think this is the origin of many of the nuisance calls you get?