DMA says electoral roll case is avoidable

LONDON - The Direct Marketing Association says that a court case over the issue of privacy and the electoral roll could have been avoided by the introduction of new legislation.

Brian Robertson is taking Wakefield City Council to the High Court after he took his name off the electoral register to avoid receiving junk mail. Robertson says the council acted unlawfully in refusing to promise that his name and address would not be sold on to third parties, contrary to the Human Rights Convention.

He is claiming £1,000 in damages for the loss of voting rights in the last general election.

Jodie Sangster, legal affairs manager of the DMA, said whatever the outcome of the case, it would not bring about new legislation. She defended the right of direct marketers to have access to the register, as it allowed lists of names and addresses to be updated. "If they take it away, it will mean people receive more badly targeted mail," she said.

She claimed that the electoral role was rarely used for mailouts, and said that Robertson could always sign up to the Mailing Preference Service, which would stop around 90% of junk mail from being sent.

The DMA was in favour of legislation that would introduce a second electoral register with less information, which direct marketers could use to clean their lists.

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