Nick Clegg's calls to 250 000 people may have been illegal.
The "Privacy and Electronic Communication Regulations" forbid the use of automated unsolicited direct marketing calls to any individual who has not previously given their consent to receive such calls.
The Information Commissioner's Office acted against the SNP in 2005 after a Lib Dem complaint over an automated message recorded by some guy named Sean Connery. The Lib Dems, at the time, were urging voters to complain if they received an unsolicited party call, and also tabled a Commons motion describing unsolicited calls as offensive.
Yesterday, the Lib Dems failed to provide the ICO with a script of the Clegg-call. They also did not give give details of the target audience. Such information would help the Commissioner decide whether the exercise was for market research purposes or for the purpose of promoting the Liberal Democrats.
Michael Crick, last night on Newsnight, put the view that normal market research would be 1000 or 2000 people surveyed for a poll, not 250 000 calls by a political party just after their leader's convention speech.
See also: Rufus' Blog