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ICO to continue crackdown into companies trading data

November 26 2015
The Information Commissioner’s Office is set to continue writing to companies who are believed to be involved in the buying and selling of consumer data.

Over 1,000 companies will be contacted by the ICO this week as a part of its continuing crackdown on nuisance calls.

“We already know a lot about this sector. We know that it prompts 180,000 complaints a year from consumers, who take the time to report to us the calls they’re getting,” said Information Commissioner Christopher Graham.

“That information has helped us to make some big breakthroughs in the nuisance calls business, alongside the intelligence we build up from elsewhere, from whistleblowers for instance, or from the network providers.”

The companies in question will have to provide details of how they comply with the law, including what they share, and how they get consent to share data. They will also need to outline which companies they’ve worked with in the last six months.

The ICO will also request information on how contact lists are screened against the Telephone Preference Service and what suppression lists are operated. The contract terms used when information is sold will also be scrutinised.

If companies don’t respond to the request, the ICO will take action to legally oblige these companies to provide this information.

“We see clear patterns building up and can identify who would benefit from guidance, and who the truly bad actors are. This enables us to execute search warrants, to drag people before the courts, and to issue fines. 

We’ve got three fines lined up for this week, and that’ll bring us to a total of a million pounds worth of penalties in this area over the past four months alone,” said Mr Graham.

“By targeting the illegitimate aspects of the list broking business that fuels this industry, we have the chance to truly strike down this monster.”

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“The Ethical Marketing Charter is to be warmly congratulated. It has thrown down the gauntlet to achieve high ethical standards and hopefully other firms are up to the challenge.”

Philip Hollobone MP, Conservative MP for Kettering

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