The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has launched a consultation on requiring direct marketing callers to provide Calling Line Identification (CLI). CLI is a telephone number identifying a caller. A valid CLI is one which can be used to make a return call, amongst other requirements.

A proposed change to the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 (PECR) would require callers not to withhold CLI when making or instigating direct marketing calls (live or automated), even if they result in silent or abandoned calls. This would make it easier for people to refuse and report unwanted marketing calls, increase the Information Commissioner’s Office’s (ICO) ability to enforce PECR breaches and increase Ofcom’s ability to enforce against silent and abandoned calls under the Communications Act 2003. The ICO could consider such failure to provide CLI to be a “serious contravention” of PECR (potential £500,000 penalty). Ofcom has indicated that breaching any future CLI requirement may be considered to be “persistent misuse” of electronic communications networks or services under the Communications Act 2003 (potential £2million penalty).

The consultation closes on 23 February 2016. DCMS seeks to bring any change into force in spring 2016.