Because you keep receiving unwanted calls. And here’s what to do

Because you keep receiving unwanted calls.  And here's what to do

In March 2024, the Guarantor for the protection of personal data announced the approval of the Code of Conduct intended for subjects who make use of telemarketing and teleselling. We have been talking about it for some time and with the communication of Privacy guarantor, the Code of Conduct is now fully applied. The goal is to mitigate the hateful phenomenon that leads so many users to receive unwanted callsoften for promotional or commercial purposes.

The companies that adhere to the Code undertake to adopt specific measures to guarantee the correctness and legitimacy of the data processing carried out along the entire telemarketing “chain”. They are required to collect specific consents for individual purposes (marketing, profiling,…), precisely inform the people contacted about the use of their data and ensure the possibility, for each user, to exercise the rights provided for by privacy legislation (opposition to processing, rectification or updating some data).

From the Guarantor’s office, it is explained that companies engaged in telemarketing and teleselling activities become obliged, on the basis of what is established in the Code, to carry out a impact assessment in the event that automated processing is carried out, including profiling, which involves a systematic and global analysis of personal information.

How useful is the Code of Conduct really and what is the Monitoring Body (OdM)

We knew that companies such as Fastweb, TIM, Vodafone, WindTre and Tiscali had already expressed their adherence to the Code of Conduct. To date, however, they also search the website ofCommunications Regulatory Authority (AGCOM) it does not appear that a complete list of companies that have expressed their participation is yet available.

The concept is simple: those who adhere to the Code and make use, for example, of other subjects to promote their products and services by telephone, are called upon to carry out continuous surveillance and monitoring. Indeed, a specific one Monitoring body (OdM), indicated as officially accredited by the Guarantor, will carry out checks on the effective application of the Code by the members.

The Authority deemed that the OdM – proposed by client associations, call centers, telesellers, list providers and consumer associations – is in possession of the requirements set out in the European Union Regulation and can therefore begin to carry out its activity .

It often happens that telemarketing and teleselling operations are subcontracted to call centers “unscrupulous”, who work in defiance of the rules by targeting users with continuous unwanted calls. In these cases, the Code of Conduct establishes the application of a CRIMINAL or failure to pay the commission for each contract stipulated following a promotional contact without the consent of the interested party.

The problem of call centers that do not respect regulations and user instructions

The Code of Conduct is considered by many to be a good step forward. However, it is unlikely to put an end to the phenomenon of unwanted calls. Il Public register of oppositionsHas , which has existed for years and which has more recently also been extended to mobile numbers, solved the problem of telephone spam? No.

The public register of oppositions is a system that allows you to object to receiving communications unwanted commercials. The registration in the Register of one or more numbers, fixed and mobile, revocation anyone consent for treatment of data provided to third parties by any means. We explained it in July 2022, presenting the innovations of the Opposition Register 2.0.

The fact is that if, after registration in the Register, some consent has been provided, it is still necessary to carry out a new authentication via SPID, CIE or personal credentials and then click on the button Renew registration.

Registration renewal opposition register

Only in this way is it possible revoke consents possibly provided on subsequent dates.

Call centers should always check the presence of the numbers in the Opposition Register and, if they appear on the list, refrain from contacting them.

We have carried out tests several times by refraining from providing any consent and entering the number in the Registry of objections: well, the unwanted calls arrived anyway.

Because users keep receiving unwanted calls

Periodically renewing your registration in the Opposition Register is certainly a good idea but, as many Europens who are constantly disturbed on landlines and mobiles know, to date it does not seem to be an effective medicine.

Clear evidence of this is the fact that many call centers operate from non-EU countries, trying to avoid current regulatory obligations. And tell me if it isn’t a real “declaration of war” that they use non-existent numbersoften cellular users that are in fact not active or reachable in any way.

The practice of CLI spoofing it’s the meanest thing you can get: the caller who makes unwanted calls uses a number that isn’t the real one. Furthermore, it is very simple for anyone to “invent” telephone numbers or pass themselves off as someone else.

Already in 2019, AGCOM asked operators to monitor the use of CLI spoofing: since then, however, little has been done and “the nuisances” continue to use – undaunted – ever-changing numbers, also useful for overcoming spam filters available on Android and iOS terminals, on routers and switchboards, by installing “ad hoc” applications such as Truecaller (which recently also embraced the use of artificial intelligence to block nuisance calls…). Yet, as we talk about in the article cited previously, the technical measures for counter the phenomenon there would also be, but an agreement between operators and an exchange of data between the various networks is necessary.

Try typing the caller’s numbers into the page Numbers used by call center services, kept continuously updated by AGCOM. You will hardly find a reference.

What to do to combat unwanted calls

Both Android and iOS integrate automated mechanisms to block data phone spammers already known. Incoming calls and SMS certainly coming from contacts known for their harassing actions on users are automatically blocked. Users who have the service active that informs you when you receive a call while your phone is busy may encounter messages like this I called on the day… at… while the phone was busy. All in all, a bearable nuisance. The problem is that, especially with the CLI spoofingit has become increasingly complex to block unwanted calls.

Applications like Truecaller, Tellows and other similar ones allow you to recognize spam calls thanks to user reports and mechanisms that rely on the cloud (therefore they work practically in real time).

Some services like Tellows make available blacklist which are continuously updated: these are lists that allow you to block spam calls on landlines with FRITZ!Box routers.

It’s a shame that the FRITZ!Box routers, which have truly complete and versatile call management as well as the possibility of being managed via API TR-064therefore even from the command line or through self-developed apps, still do not allow you to block in real time an incoming call. And this not through the official apps or through a list of blocked contacts already provided. The availability of a tool for reject incoming calls via API, as some independent developers also observe, would really change the scenario. For our part, we are trying some alternative solutions: follow us.

If you want to take an active part, report the spammers: sanctions

Fines for those who do not respect the privacy of users and registration in the Opposition Register are expected and would also be costly. The violation of citizens’ rights, based on the provisions of the GDPR, can lead to the application of administrative sanctions pecuniary amounts of up to 20 million euros or for businesses, up to 4% of the total annual worldwide turnover of the previous financial year (if higher).

To report a violation, the Guarantor has made available a form for reporting unwanted phone calls. Before you fill it out and submit it, however, you need to gather detailed information to submit a detailed reporting.

For example, the Authority asks you to note down, and then share throughout the world, the telephone number, the date and time of the unwanted call, the person who commissioned the telephone campaign, the name or code of the call center operator, the service or the product offered.

The Guarantor’s office takes action based on the reports received: periodically we hear of sanctions imposed on various entities for failure to comply with the Code and the GDPR.

Unfortunately, however, there are currently no protection mechanisms opt-in (but only opt-outsuch as registration in the Registry of Oppositions), call center operators are not obliged to use…

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