§ Mr. Chidgey
To ask the President of the Board of Trade what plans she has to implement the Telecom Data Protection Directive 97/66/EC; what assessment she has made of the likely effect on subscribers' privacy; what assessment she has made of the likely effect of the opt-out options for(a) political parties and (b) charities; and if she will list the types of organisations which she is considering under the opt-out scheme. 
§ Mrs. Beckett
[holding answer 22 July 1998]: The Telecoms Data Protection Directive 97/66/EC contains a number of useful measures which will serve to enhance subscribers' privacy. My Department has carried out a first-stage consultation seeking comments from over 900 telecoms operators and service providers, trade associations, small firms organisations, consumer bodies, direct marketing organisations, directory publishers, and individual subscribers on areas where the Directive allows some discretion on the detail of its implementation. The Directive requires Member States to introduce measures which would allow subscribers either to opt in to receive, or opt out from receiving, unsolicited direct marketing calls. Much of the activity undertaken by political parties and charities is likely to fall outside these provisions. As the next step in the consultation process, the Government will shortly seek comments on draft regulations to implement the Directive.