UK watchdog cuts off UK porn and rogue diallers

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ICSTIS, the UK's premium rate services regulator, will cut off any such services found to be operating without its permission. After the clampdown unlicensed dialler service ICSTIS finds, either through public complaints or its own in-house monitoring, will be shut down immediately under the regulator's emergency powers.

The move follows hot on the heels of the watchdog's recent decision to license all companies wanting to run premium rate dialler services, made in response to a recent surge in complaints from members of the public claiming that internet dial-up connections have been diverted to premium rate numbers without their knowledge or consent.

UK consumers have also been ripped off by internet dial-up connections to international direct dial numbers. ICSTIS has notified all phone networks that there are no legitimate dialler services using international numbers and has continued to advise them to cut off any such services that they find.

As well as introducing the licensing system, ICSTIS has imposed strict revenue retention requirements on companies operating dialler services to help ensure that those wanting to rip people off do not get paid.

In the last week, ICSTIS has barred 11 companies that were running dialler services without first having obtained its permission to operate. The organisation said it will decide on the status of a further 33 companies later this week.

George Kidd, ICSTIS director, said: "This is a further stage in our action to stamp out rogue diallers. We have only granted permission to those companies that satisfy our stringent requirements, covering key areas such as clear terms and conditions, user consent, information about how to delete diallers, and responsibility for customer refunds.

"Any company we find running a dialler without our permission will be cut off immediately."

Kidd added that the responsibility did not lie with ICSTIS alone, but also with also with the phone companies that give out premium rate numbers in the first place. It told these operators not give out any numbers for dialler services unless they see evidence of a licence to operate from the watchdog.

www.icstis.org.uk/icstis2002/default.asp?node=63.

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