Baroness Neville-Rolfe, the UK minister responsible for data protection, recently stated in parliament that beginnning May 16, 2016, UK-registered direct marketing companies will be required to display their phone numbers when making unsolicited phone calls. This change will come into force by amendment to the Privacy Electronic Communications Regulations 2003. The new provision will apply to UK companies (even if their call centers are based abroad), but will not apply to companies incorporated abroad. The legislative amendment follows a UK Government consultation on “requiring direct marketing callers to provide Calling Line Identification.”

Baroness Neville-Rolfe said in her press release that the purpose of the new provision is not only to protect consumers by making it easier for them to refuse and report calls, but also to bolster the ICO’s investigatory and enforcement powers. The legislative change is made in a climate of increased ICO fines, such as the record ICO fine for £350,000 imposed against Prodial Ltd in February (as we reported here).

TIP: UK companies should ensure that by May 16, their marketing callers provide valid Calling Line Identification when placing calls in order to avoid fines.