Saturday 27 April 2013

Direct marketing by text: have you consented?

In the September 2014 independence referendum, voters in Scotland will answer the question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?". Between now and then, there's a long campaign of persuasion, for both sides. Each will of course try to get its message out to as many potential voters as it can and will use social media and other modern forms of communication as well as the more traditional door-knocking and leafleting. There is, however, disquiet at the moment from some who are unhappy at having received text messages from the anti-independence "Better Together" organisation. According to the office of the Information Commissioner, the issue of "[s]pam texts...continues to be the one of the biggest concerns to consumers" and things have reached the point where Better Together has felt compelled to post an explanation on its website, aimed presumably at the potentially disgruntled. As Better Together recognises:

"I’m sure that the most obvious question you will have if you have received this message is ‘where did they get my mobile number from?’"

Now you might have thought their hopes would have been higher than that. Perhaps "Thanks for the message; what can I do to help your campaign?" Leaving aside the wisdom of persisting with a marketing campaign that has to have at its heart a page to mollify those who have been upset by it, what about the law of all this?

Better Together explain: