01 August 1997

Data Protection Registrar Elizabeth France blamed new riders on the direct-sell range for an increase in complaints about direct mail, citing the broader range of organisations now using direct techniques to market products. A quarter of all complaints received last year related to direct mail; however complaints records now include enquiries as well as investigations, the latter holding steady at 9%. France also addressed the use of the Electoral Roll for marketing purposes, fingering software companies which combine the Roll with lifestyle data. Although the government's White Paper on data protection will not include use of the Electoral Roll, the DPR says it will be 'flagged as an issue, if there is sufficient concern.'

The DPR's new code of practice calls for stronger sanctions on telemarketing which it deems 'more intrusive' than other forms of direct marketing. Guidance provided by the Registrar suggests that marketers should, at the point of data collection, draw attention to planned telemarketing use. However, the DMA declines to accept this guidance, arguing that it is unfair to discriminate between different direct marketing media.