ICO Announces £250k Fines For Spam Texts
Watchdog announces first ever fines for spam texters
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said today it is planning to fine two individuals over £250,000 for sending millions of spam texts.
The data protection and privacy watchdog has been gathering intelligence in recent months, receiving information from concerned consumers, and is now set to issue its first fine for spam texting. The ICO has also been working with the Ministry of Justice, Ofcom, the OFT, the Direct Marketing Association and mobile phone networks to gather information on those sending spam texts.
It could not offer detail on who the individuals were, as they still have 28 days to prove they are not guilty, although an ICO spokesperson told TechWeekEurope it would take a significant amount of work for them to prove their innocence.
The investigation into the two individuals has been ongoing “for a number of months”, the spokesperson said, as the ICO looked into whether the suspects had breached the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR).
Another eight companies are also being investigated further and have been warned they may face further action unless they can prove that they are compliant with the law, the ICO said.
“This is an important step that shows those who blatantly break the law will be in line for a sizeable six figure penalty from the ICO,” said Simon Entwisle, director of operations at the ICO, in a blog post.
“We know that many of the companies making illegal marketing calls and sending spam texts try to operate below the radar, however we have been analysing information from relevant bodies, such as the TPS [Telephone Preference Service], as well as our own complaints figures in order to identify the most complained about companies.
“We then wrote to companies who featured at the top of these complaint lists to request details of how they were making sure they complied with the law.”
Since it started asking the public for reports of spam texting and calling in March, the ICO said it had received over 30,000 responses. The ICO can fine individuals or companies sending spam texts as much as £500,000 – the same amount it can fine those who breach the Data Protection Act.
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