David Hickson's Silent Calls Victim Blog

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Sunday, 1 November 2009

Comments on - Ofcom's Halloween trick, a treat for Silent Callers

I have shared the following thoughts with MPs invited to participate in the BIS consultation.

I refer to my media release - Ofcom's Halloween trick, a treat for Silent Callers

One week after the BIS Department launched a consultation on whether or not to grant Ofcom's request for an increased penalty to use against Silent Callers, ...

... Ofcom announces a weakening of its stated policy – permitting more Silent Calls.

The only relevant policy statement that Ofcom actually needs is a simple confirmation that:

hanging up in silence is a misuse of the telephone network, those who do it persistently will be subject to action proportionate to the extent of the nuisance caused.

Instead we get loads of nonsense about abandoned call rates, detailed specifications of permissible time delays and lists of mitigating and exacerbating factors – which nobody fully understands anyway. Ofcom's
duties and powers as a regulator are limited to providers of services in the markets that it covers, to further the interests of their consumers. Silent Calls are made by (mis-) users of those services.

Ofcom's supplementary function to deal with misuse in "furthering the interests of citizens in relation to communications matters" cannot be undertaken on a pseudo-regulatory basis. What it has done so far was wrong and misguided from the start and has been seen to fail. I cannot see how an increase to the maximum possible penalty will make any significant difference - especially when those making Silent Calls see the "rules" being loosened!

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