That's right… the Mailing Preference Service no longer automatically de-registers people after five years time. If you sign up to the opt-out scheme for unsolicited addressed junk mail you'll now be opted out until the end of time.
It's a change that makes sense. I don't think anyone ever contacts the Direct Marketing Association to ask if they can please receive more unsolicited mail. It's only fair, therefore, to assume registrants want to remain opted out for as long as possible. The burden of contacting the organisation should be with those who no longer want to be registered, not with the people who want to remain opted out.
What was particularly offending about the old policy was that the Direct Marketing Association used to de-register people in secret. After the five year registration period your details would be automatically deleted from the database. They would not let you know they had done so, let alone ask if you perhaps wanted to remain opted out.
In short, it was a policy designed to limit the take up of the Mailing Preference Service. The change (which, as per usual, has not been formally announced / explained) indicates the Direct Marketing Association slowly starts to recognise it at least has to pretend it
supports your right to receive the mail you want (the slogan of the Mailing Preference Service).
Showing too much bias only leads to organisations such as Consumer Focus setting up websites such as Stay Private (which, as you may know, not only allows people to register with various opt-out schemes in one go but also gives people the option to automatically renew registrations). [The Stay Private website was sadly killed off in January 2013 after Government pulled the plug on Consumer Focus, JB]
Anyway, it's an improvement, and another Manifesto item I can tick off the list!