Information Commissioner's Office set to issue first fines under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations

This post was written by Cynthia O'Donoghue.

Since March of this year, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has been asking members of the public to report any calls or texts they have received from unknown senders by using an online survey. The survey information has allowed the ICO to focus its investigations on organisations responsible for making unsolicited communications. The ICO received nearly 30,000 responses and has been working to link these numbers to companies with a view to enforcement action.

The ICO announced its intention to issue two monetary penalties in excess of £250,000 to illegal marketers for the first time under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations ('PECR'), which regulates electronic marketing. Each of the marketers have distributed millions of spam texts to individuals without obtaining their permission. The two marketers have 28 days to respond to a letter sent by the ICO providing proof that they were complying with the law; otherwise, final penalty notices will be issued.

The ICO has indicated that they will continue to monitor compliance with the Regulations. Simon Entwisle, Director of Operations at the ICO, stated that they “are already working to identify other individuals and companies involved in these unlawful practices.” He went on to say that 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.”

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