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Thursday, 16 September 2010

Parliament approves £2M fine for Silent Calls

After attending, and then reviewing, the ‘Silent Calls‘ debate in parliament on Monday 13 September, veteran Stop Silent Calls Campaigner David Hickson commented,

"This is a complete disgrace. All of the Silent Calls we are suffering at present are approved by Ofcom. Since 2007, nobody has been found to have exceeded the allowance which Ofcom grants. Ofcom is currently proposing to further loosen its rules to formally allow one Silent Call per caller per victim per day.

"An increase to the maximum possible penalty is the most transparent of empty gestures. I am most disappointed that parliament has granted Ofcom's request and failed to take this opportunity to expose its failure. Ofcom has a duty to use its statutory powers to act against the 'persistent misuse' of the telephone system which is represented by anyone engaging in the habitual practice of hanging up in Silence when calls are answered.

"The first stage of Ofcom's powers is to issue a public Notification that an activity represents 'persistent misuse'; an enforceable requirement to cease and a penalty may follow. Ofcom has apparently recently identified 22 companies making Silent Calls, some of whom were exceeding Ofcom's absurd and improper allowance of 'acceptable Silent Calls'. Not one of these companies was even subjected to a Notification. I believe that Ofcom should tell us who they are, so that we can at least know not to waste time complaining about them!

"In the spirit of the 'Big Society', I have offered to help set up a 'Citizens body' to take over administration of the persistent misuse powers, which Ofcom seems to be unwilling to use properly. My offer has been formally rejected."


1. The Hansard record of the debate is published here - http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmgeneral/deleg2/100913/100913s01.htm.

2. The official video recording of the debate is published here - http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=6600.

3. My commentary on the debate (with sound clips) is published here - http://scvictim.blogspot.com/2010/09/parliament-debates-silent-calls-13.html.

4. My feed of information covering this topic is available for view and subscription here - http://homepage.ntlworld.com/davidhickson/DHMG/index_files/Feeds.htm?DH_Camp_SC.

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