The Commissioner has this week issued an enforcement notice to the Labour Party in response to its act of making unsolicited automated marketing calls without consent to almost half a million people. The calls were made in June 2009 and were designed to encourage people to vote in the European elections. The ICO held that, notwithstanding their inherently political nature, the actions taken by the Labour Party amounted to unlawful ‘direct marketing’ for the purposes of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003. The enforcement notice requires the Labour Party to desist from making further automated calls without the recipients’ consent. Breach of the notice will amount to a criminal offence and could lead to prosecution. This is not the first time that a political party has received an enforcement notice in response to making automated calls. Similar notices have previously been served on the Conservatives, the Scottish National Party and the Liberal Democrats. See further the Commissioner’s press release on this issue.