Ofcom Act on Rogue Internet Diallers

Ofcom has published proposals to increase consumer protection against rogue diallers.

Rogue diallers use software to transfer dial-up internet connections from low-cost or freephone numbers to more expensive telephone numbers. The rogue dialler is installed on the computer without the customer’s knowledge, usually when they open a spam email or visit a website where the software is hidden.

Existing Premium Rate Services (‘PRS’) regulation applies to diallers using 09 premium rate or international numbers. Ofcom is proposing to extend these requirements to enable ICSTIS, the premium rate regulator, to take action against any rogue dialler irrespective of the telephone number used or the call charges involved. This change would include rogue diallers using 087 or 070 numbers for example.

Under Sections 120-121 of the Communications Act 2003 Ofcom is responsible for setting conditions for the regulation of premium rate services and for approving the ICSTIS Code of Practice. ICSTIS is responsible for administering the Code of Practice, and for enforcing compliance by all relevant service providers.

A consultation document was published 21 November and the closing date for responses is 22 December 2005.