ICO to fine two "text spammers" £250,000

Information Commissioner’s Office gets tough

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) says it is planning to fine two illegal marketers a total of "well over £250,000" for allegedly sending out millions of spam texts.

The ICO says it has written to two unamed individuals to confirm that the ICO intends to issue both of them with a monetary penalty for breaching the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR), which regulate electronic marketing.

The recipients have 28 days to respond and prove that they were complying with the law otherwise final penalty notices will be issued.

Simon Entwisle, director of operations, said, "The public have told us that they are increasingly concerned about illegal marketing texts and calls." He said these are often made by rogue companies claiming to offer pay outs for accidents a person has never had or Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) claims that the recipents are not necessarily entitled to.

"While companies can phone people to sell them the latest product or service, the law states that individuals should not receive unsolicited texts or automated marketing calls unless they have given their permission," said Entwisle.

"We know many companies are failing to get permission and two individuals responsible for sending millions of illegal marketing messages are now facing six figure penalties unless they can prove otherwise."

The ICO said it would be inappropriate to provide further comment or information on the individuals facing the fines until they had had the opportunity to reply to the allegations. Entwisle said the ICO was "already working to identify other individuals and companies involved in these unlawful practices".

Through an online survey for the public to report spam texts, the ICO has been looking into 30,000 complaints made by the public since March this year.

Companies that pass customers' personal data to cloud network providers remain responsible for how that data is treated, the ICO warned last week. The ICO has raised concern that many businesses do not realise they remain responsible for how data is looked after, after passing it to a cloud network provider.

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