I know, this weekly roundup thing ought to be renamed 'sporadic roundup'. I'm working full time again in my 'real' job and have been busy moving office. Things should quiet down a bit after next week. I hope.
Anyway, here's an update on the campaign!
New website: stopjunkcalls.org.uk
That's right, we're branching out! Stop Junk Calls UK has been set up by someone who has been involved in the campaign for some time and who knows everything there's to know about stopping unsolicited phone calls. At the moment the website is mainly a forum where you can report unsolicited phone calls. Over time, though, it will become an invaluable source of information about how to stop the pest. Please do report any junk calls you get.
In the news: solutions for calling calling
My own involvement in setting up the Stop Junk Calls UK website was limited to techie things such as setting up the hosting and writing a couple of short news stories about junk calls. The main story in recent weeks was a 'Robocalls Challenge' organised by the American Federal Trade Commission. It seems that the most feasible technical solution for preventing junk calls involves setting up a central database and getting phones to check if a number is white, grey or blacklisted. It doesn't sound too promising, in particular because it's so damn easy for junk callers to spoof phone numbers.
Also interesting, and probably a much more effective solution, is a proposal put forward by Adrian Kennard. He has set up a petition calling for a change in the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations that would allow people to fine cold callers £50 for every breach of the Regulations. I'm pretty sure this would make telemarketeers very reluctant to phone numbers that are registered with the Telephone Preference Service. The Direct Marketing Association is opposed to the idea, which is always an indication that it's an effective solution indeed.
What part of 'no spam' don't you understand?
Also interesting is this article by an IT guy who once worked for a company that refused to recognise that its unsolicited e-mails were unsolicited e-mails. It's something senders of any type of unsolicited marketing seem to suffer from; they rarely see their own "communications" as unsolicited junk. Companies that specialise in sending spam often feel that its e-mails are okay because they're better targeted than e-mails advertising Viagra. Cold callers often reckon they're fine because they don't use silent calls and/or because they allow people to opt out. Leaflet deliverers often ignore 'No Junk Mail' signs because they assume the leaflets they deliver aren't junk mail (estate agents spring to mind). If you've ever complained about unsolicited marketing I'm sure you've come across excuses like these, and it wouldn't surprise me if the offender got angry with you for complaining. If so, the article gives an interesting insight into the mindset of such marketeers.
Now, back to unpacking boxes!