The Information Commissioner's Office has concluded that BT demands an excessive amount of information from people who want to cancel the delivery of the phone book.
In June this year BT told householders who had asked the company to cease the delivery of the phone book via Junk Buster that their request would not be actioned unless they would give BT their phone number. The demand was challenged by Robert Rijkhoff of the Stop Junk Mail Campaign. In his complaint to the Information Commissioner's Office, dated 2 June 2011, Mr Rijkhoff stated that there was no need for BT to collect people's phone numbers, and that the company was therefore "collecting personal data that is irrelevant and excessive for the purpose for which it is collected."
BT told the Information Commissioner's Office it demanded the phone number of people wanting to cancel its directory so that they could create a record against that number and because it would allow them to verify the requester's identity.
The ICO today rubbished both claims, stating that "it is difficult to see what further information, other than your name and address, BT might reasonably require to comply [with an opt-out request]. Furthermore, the likelihood and potential consequences of someone pretending to be you for the purpose of cancelling the receipt of the directory do not appear to justify BT collecting personal data to this extent."
The Information Commissioner's Office has recommended to BT that the company reviews their response to opt-out requests. BT has not yet confirmed it will do so.